St. Louis Composting Teams with Washington University, Frito-Lay and Missouri Botanical Garden

St. Louis Composting Teams with Washington University, Frito-Lay and Missouri Botanical Garden for Region’s First Commercial Food & Organics Composting Program

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans discard more than 96 billion pounds of prepared food each year. Now, in St. Louis, some of that food waste is being put to purposeful, environmentally friendly use by St Louis Composting, Inc. via its new commercial food and organic composting program. Initially teaming in the effort with the region’s largest composter is Washington University, Frito-Lay, The National Guard, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. and the Missouri Botanical Garden. The firm receives food and organic waste from each every week for transformation into compost at their facilities.

“Just as numerous environmentally conscious St. Louis restaurants have embraced the movement with menu selections that emphasize locally grown produce and meats, we are committed to extending the process full circle. By composting spent waste from restaurants, grocery stores and businesses and then supplying the finished compost to local farmers to incorporate into their fields and help to improve their soil; this in turn increases the yields of their produce. This locally grown produce is then supplied back to the restaurants and then onto your plate –helping us to take the process full circle and even farther than from garden to table and back again,” says Patrick Geraty, president of St. Louis Composting. “Currently, we are composting more than 100 tons of out-of-date food and food processing by-products per week. We hope to be processing even more organic and food waste in the future as we recruit businesses that generate volumes of food waste and other organics to participate.”

The food and organic composting program diverts food and organic waste from landfills and converts the organic material into all-natural, environmentally-friendly lawn and garden compost. Jonathan Harley, Facilities Operation Manager, says that the partnership is helping to significantly reduce their landfill waste “Since partnering with St. Louis Composting, Frito-Lay has diverted over 10,000 pounds of food waste from area landfills. Composting, along with other recycling programs, has helped reduce Frito-Lay’s landfill waste from 60% in 2009 to below 20% currently. This continued partnership will help Frito-Lay in St. Louis achieve about 2% landfill waste.”

Recyclables include fruits and vegetables; breads and cereal; dairy; coffee grounds, filters and tea bags; compostable service ware and even some soiled paper goods. “Composting our food scraps along with compostable service ware allows us to enlist nature’s process of decomposition to transform what was previously a landfill bound waste product into usable nutrient rich soils”, said Deborah Frank, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s VP, Sustainability. “We are very hopeful that this will result in a long-term solution for further reducing the Garden’s waste stream.”

Alternatively, in approximately six months, St. Louis Composting can turn food and organic waste into all-natural Seal of Testing Assurance (STA)-certified compost. Added to lawns and gardens, compost promotes healthy root and soil structure by infusing soil with beneficial microbes and essential minerals and nutrients. Compost also increases soil aeration, improves drought resistance and mitigates compaction issues.

Founded in 1992, St. Louis Composting, Inc. (www.stlcompost.com) operates the largest composting facility in Missouri and is the largest composter in the St. Louis region. It is headquartered at a 26-acre facility in Valley Park, Mo. and maintains a four-acre transfer station in Maryland Heights, Mo and an additional composting and retail facility in the City of St. Louis. It also operates a 52-acre composting and retail facility in Belleville, Ill.

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