According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate around 14 million tons of food waste each year, or 106 pounds of food waste per person. Of this, 570,000 tons is composted for a 4.1 percent recovery rate; the rest, or 13.4 million tons, is incinerated or sent to a landfill, occupying 6.3 million cubic yards of landfilled municipal solid waste.
In response to soaring waste management costs, diminishing landfill space and the escalating need for more environmentally-responsible practices, Maryland Environmental Service engineers are studying effective ways to recycle food residuals.
MES is working with Prince George's County on a food waste composting demonstration project using the Gore™ cover system technology. MES will evaluate different compost “recipes” during this period to identify the best mixture to produce a high quality compost.
The demonstration project is equipped with an oxygen controlled, positively aerated system and an oxygen and temperature monitoring device. This creates ideal composting conditions within the heap while efficiently trapping odors and other emissions such as dust and VOCs. This results in a higher throughput on a smaller footprint of composting area with little energy consumption.