The Organics Contamination Reduction Workgroup

At the 2015 WSRA conference many attendees signed up to participate in an organics contamination reduction session.  In the process, many of these people also signed up to participate in a series of meetings to brainstorm ways to reduce contamination in collected organics.  This group is called The Organics Contamination Reduction Workgroup and it has four sub-committees:  Education and Outreach; Operational/Contractual/Policy; Processing; and Upstream Strategies.

On a frosty November morning, members of the Workgroup toured two large composting facilities in Western Washington.  Tour participants representing state and local governments, packaging manufacturers, retailers, and the composting industry got a first-hand look at the types and amount of contamination composting facilities receive.  Participants also saw how much extra effort is required by these facilities to get from contaminated delivered feedstocks like this:

 

to finished compost like this:

 

The goal of the Workgroup is to identify best management practices for everyone from package manufacturers to curbside collection participants. Subgroups will provide suggestions for ways to reduce or eliminate contamination problems and all suggestions will be compiled into a report and tool box of options that may be used by all sectors.  An update will be presented at the May 2016 WSRA conference in Wenatchee and the final report will be delivered at the November 2016 WORC conference in Vancouver, WA.  Anyone interested in participating in one or more of the subgroups should e-mail John MacGillivray at JMacGillivray@kirklandwa.gov