Since this is National Energy Awareness Month, sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Federal Energy Management Program, it is fitting to take this year’s theme, “Turn Words Into Action; Turn Actions Into Results” at face value.
We start by listing some easy action steps anyone can take to support energy saving practices for organic waste – something all of us produce. These five steps come from Massachusetts-based, Harvest Power, which specializes in transforming organic waste into renewable soil and energy.
Harvest Power was asked to provide a short list of recommendations for what people can do at the local level to capitalize on the energy potential of typical throw-away items like pizza crust and banana peels. Here is what I received, thanks to Jena Coletti:
Top 5 Local Opportunities for Utilizing Organics
- Compost, compost, compost! It doesn’t take much equipment or expertise to set up a backyard (or back stoop) compost bin, and everyone has the ingredients!
- Use a community compost heap. Most local dumps offer areas to dispose of compostable materials. If you can’t get to the compost heap, some cities offer special services to collect your organic waste for a small fee.
- Get involved with your local government. Many city councils are proposing organic waste pickups. The folks at Cool 2012 — Compostable Organics Out of Landfills by 2012 — can help your efforts get off the ground. (Note: Even though composting is a great practice, it also creates methane.)
- Support stores and restaurants that source separate organics. Many businesses that generate organic waste compost, and they’ll be glad to tell you about it if you ask. Support these businesses since they are part of the solution.
- Shop smart! Food waste prevention is the best way to save energy (and money!). Shop wisely and protect your produce using tips from Love Food Hate Waste.
What is very interesting is how Harvest Power uses organic materials not only to enrich the soil and produce fertilizer, but also to produce energy, capturing the methane that is naturally produced from anaerobic digestion, or decomposition without air.
On its website, the company writes that it “enables communities to produce renewable energy and high-value soil, mulch and organic fertilizer products from organic materials.” It is worth a visit to watch how organic waste can be managed to harvest sustainable energy and improved soil.
Photo: Steve Bowbrick