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Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Washington University, Frito-Lay, the National Guard, and the Missouri Botanical Garden are teaming up with St Louis Composting, Inc. to compost out-of-date food and food processing by-products.
“Just as environmentally conscious St. Louis restaurants have embraced menu selections that emphasize locally grown produce and meats, we are committed to extending the process full circle,” said Patrick Geraty, president of St. Louis Composting. “By composting spent waste from restaurants, grocery stores, and businesses, and then supplying the compost to local farmers to incorporate into their fields to improve their soil, we help increase produce yields. The locally grown produce finds its way back to the restaurants and onto diners’ plates – helping us to take the process even farther than from garden to table and back again. We hope to process even more organic and food waste in the future as we recruit more businesses that generate volumes of food waste.”
The food and organic composting program was developed to divert food and organic waste from landfills and convert it into all-natural, environmentally-friendly lawn and garden compost. Jonathan Harley, facilities operation manager at Frito-Lay, says that the partnership is helping to significantly reduce the company’s landfill waste. “Since partnering with St. Louis Composting, we have diverted more than 10,000 pounds of food waste from area landfills,” he said. “Composting, along with other recycling programs, has helped reduce Frito-Lay’s landfill waste from 60 percent in 2009 to about two percent landfill waste by year end 2010.”
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, VP, sustainability at the Missouri Botanical Garden. “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.
St. Louis Composting (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 stationin 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.