Someone tipped me off to the new Barr-Tech composting facility southwest of Spokane in Lincoln County. I spoke with Ted Condon yesterday, one of the project leaders, and he filled in some of the details. The facility is just starting to come on line after getting all the infrastructure in place. Initially it will create compost from organic waste, but plans are in the works to also process food wastes via an Andgar high solids anaerobic digester to create energy. There is also the potential in the future for single stream recycling at the location.
I asked him about the potential of residential food waste composting and he described what could be the future of recycling in the Spokane Region. This new facility opens up the possibility of residences having three cans in front of their home; a large single stream recycling container ( a huge improvement over our current system), a large organic and green waste container full of garden waste and compostable bags filled with food waste, and the what would be a much smaller garbage can.
We're pulling together plans for the Millwood Community Garden on Inland Empire Paper land (more on this tomorrow) and I asked him if they might have some compost for us this summer. He explained that they won't have compost available for farmers, gardeners and landscapers until next Spring, but that they'd love to help in the future. He commented that they actually take spent wood chips from the Paper Mill and compost them. He also met with Second Harvest food bank yesterday to sort through the potential of composting their sizable amount of food waste. I don't usually have epiphanies while talking about waste management but I had one at this point in my conversation with Ted.
Imagine this; the Paper Mill and Second Harvest both provide inputs to Barr-Tech for composting, saving them money and keeping organic waste out of the garbage. Barr-Tech provides rich compost to the Millwood Community Garden on land owned by and directly across the river from the Paper Mill, to help grow food for Second Harvest Food Bank. It makes me want to sing Disney's "The Circle of Life," or Jack Johnsons, "Reduce, reuse and party on."
So party on Spokane. Your composting future looks bright, or should I say dark, as in rich dark soil.
If you'd like to advocate for Spokane moving towards this kind of future in recycling call Spokane Regional Waste at 625-6580.