Waste composting growing in county

Food-waste composting is becoming increasingly common in Thurston County, including on the Capitol Campus.

By the end of December, all the buildings on the Capitol Campus will offer food-composting services to employees and campus visitors as part of a program that began early this year, said Ron Major, a resource-conservation manager for the state Department of General Administration.

The recycling program should keep about 200 tons of waste out of the landfill each year and save the state money, he said.

Currently, the state pays about $80 a ton for garbage service, more than twice the cost of food-waste collection by LeMay Enterprises.

The compost material is shipped to Silver Springs Organics near Tenino, where it is turned into material for fertilizing lawns, gardens and other landscapes.

The state Capitol Campus generates about 3.5 tons of garbage per day, 60 percent of which falls in the food-waste category, including food scraps, food-soiled paper products and restroom paper towels.

“We started with a few buildings and expanded as everybody became convinced it was working,” Major said.

The Old Capitol Building in downtown Olympia and the Archives Building on Washington Street will start participating Dec. 28, rounding out the full campus, Major said.

Elsewhere, there has been a 26 percent increase in collection of residential yard and food waste in Thurston County this year, Thurston County Solid Waste official Terri Thomas said.

LeMay began offering the curbside program to its residential customers in Thurston County in May 2008.

A Certified Green recycling program that includes food waste generated by commercial customers of LeMay has grown to 103 participants since its inception in early 2008, Thomas said.

In 2010, Silver Springs expects to process some 60,000 tons of yard and food waste, with food products 12 percent to 15 percent of the total, company general manager Greg Schoenbachler said.

In its first year in 2007, Silver Springs handled 20,000 tons of organic recyclables, he said.

John Dodge: 360-754-5444