Guest blog: Cedar Grove’s solution story is composting and energy
Putting compost out into the environment sequesters carbon in the soil, creates more robust plants that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and significantly decrease our regional carbon footprint by diverting the material from landfill.
Guest blog by
Steve Banchero, CEO/President, Cedar Grove Companies
The roots of Cedar Grove’s business go back to the
1930’s when we helped pioneer and develop many of the solid waste and recycling
programs we enjoy in the Puget Sound region. Our heritage has provided
meaningful work and green jobs to our valued employees
that span generations. Cedar Grove Composting started up its commercial
operations in 1989 after winning a contract for green waste composting for the
city of Seattle.
Residents rapidly responded with their yard waste at the curb, and within a short time, several suburban cities joined in. Believe it or not, there was a time when that valuable organic material was actually shipped to a landfill, and the carbon footprint costs were enormous.
Over the years, we have learned a great deal about what it takes to compost significant volumes of material, and we have never stopped investing in the best processing technology and expertise in the world to keep growing our program along with local companies and municipal partners. Starting in 2004, we added technology to process green waste with food scraps with food making up as much as 50% of the current garbage being shipped to landfills in the United States.
With two facilities in the greater Puget Sound region, Cedar
Grove receives over 400,000 tons of usable feed stocks from homes, landscape
projects, sports stadiums, schools and universities- to name a few. With those
feed stocks, we create soil amendments, mulches and products that go back out
into parks, planters at the baseball park, gardens and landscapes.
Those recycled and all natural mulches, soil enhancements and carefully designed soils support thriving and productive crops and plant life while protecting our treasured northwest salmon and natural habitat. Putting compost out into the environment sequesters carbon in the soil, creates more robust plants that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and significantly decrease our regional carbon footprint by diverting the material from landfill often hundreds of miles away with anaerobic systems that do not completely capture highly potent greenhouse gases emitted.
With innovation as part of our history and culture, we look to the future with plans to augment our current composting systems with energy production through anaerobic digestion. We are also always exploring what the highest value use is in any ton of material we receive, and are obsessively looking for new ways to raise the value of what was once considered garbage.
Without the partners and residents that choose recycling in our community, we would not be able to create a business and know we do not do what we do alone. That means our carbon reduction story is our community’s story, and we are proud to be a business that does something that people value while we remain locally owned, provide local jobs and feed the local economy while we nourish the earth and the climate.