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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Incinerating Food Residuals: Acceptable or Tragic?

U.S. Capitol Complex
Inherent within the U.S. Capitol Complex recent decision to incinerate their non-recyclable "trash" is the choice to burn valuable food residuals previously collected for composting.  Our nation's capitol is making a bold statement that burning food residuals is an acceptable use of a valuable material.  The Waste & Recycling article, Congress Says No to Composting, Will Burn Waste, gives details on the announcement.

The lack of focus on the health of our nation's soil and water is amazing and tragic.

Incineration Plant
Soil and water are the foundation of human existence - without a clean water supply and ample food grown from the soil, the human species is destined for disaster.  

Compost, nature's ingenious recycling system of plant, protein and carbon sources into food for the soil's microbial community, is a key component to cleaning the earth's water supply and rebuilding healthy soil.

The microbial community are the workers who create soil structure necessary to retain and filter water.  In addition, the interactive microbial activity provides the soil nutrients through their excretions and at times cannibalism.  Plants require the soil structure and nutrients to thrive while they produce food for the animal kingdom.

Well-structured soil retains water and requires approximately 30% less water than soil supplemented with fertilizers.  In addition, the soil structure filters contaminants from the storm water as it travels to underground streams, rivers and aquifers.  Healthy soil supporting plants with strong root systems is key to erosion control and preventing storm run-off.

Note sediment is the #1 water pollutant - the U.S. spends $40 billion per year to clean top soil out of the rivers and other waterways!

The time is NOW for the corporate and personal consumer to demand food residuals are used as nature intended - a necessary ingredient to complete the growing cycle by rejuvenating soil  via supplying the microbial community with necessary nutrients.

With the hiring of Michael Vigra as the new executive director, the U.S. Composting Council is heading into a new era of education, influence and prominence.  See the September blog post, USCC Prepares for New Era, for details on the new regime.  The 2012 Annual USCC Conference in Austin, TX has a strong soil and water component in their educational sessions.

What can you do?  Educate yourself, get involved and use your powerful voice.  The ZWZ Blog is an excellent resource and an active voice on the importance of soil and water respect and focus.

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