Business leaders in Clark County are changing the way they think about waste. Many businesses are already separating food scraps from their landfill waste so the scraps can be transformed into compost. Waste Connections partners with Dirt Hugger to transport Clark County’s business food scraps to Dirt Hugger’s composting facility in Dallesport, Washington. At Dirt Hugger, food scraps are turned into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.
All businesses have the ability to participate in this program. These Clark County businesses are already diverting food waste from the landfill.
Separating food scraps from the rest of your waste helps to identify opportunities to better track and prevent food waste.
Diverting food scraps from the garbage helps decrease greenhouse gases from landfill waste while creating a marketable, organic soil remedy that improves the biological, chemical and physical properties of soil. Compost can be used in gardening, landscaping, and agriculture in lieu of using chemical fertilizers.
How do I start?
Step One: Set up the collection service
Contact Waste Connections at (360) 892-5370 or to set up the collection service at your site. A waste reduction specialist will work with you and provide all the information and resources you’ll need to ensure the new program is successful. Their flexible pricing and pick up schedules allow you to get the service that your business needs.
Step two: Designate your containers
Make the process of separating food scraps from garbage and recycling simple and efficient by setting up disposal areas with clearly labeled containers. Waste Connections will pick up the food waste from a cart that you place alongside your recycling and garbage containers on the exterior of your building.
Step three: Educate staff
Contaminating food scraps with non-food materials can be a big problem, so it is important that all employees know what is acceptable to throw in the container for food scraps. In Clark County, only food trimmings are accepted, and Waste Connections will provide trainings and signage to help with the learning process. In general, “if it grows, it goes,” and “when in doubt, leave it out!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Will collecting materials for composting attract pests?
Keeping your collection bins and food waste cart clean are key to preventing problems. All of the materials that you’ll be collecting for the food waste program are already present in your garbage. If you don’t normally have problems with pests getting into your garbage, then you are much less likely to have any problems when you collect the food waste separately. If pest problems do occur, more frequent bin washing with hot water and a small amount of baking soda or a green cleaner should resolve the problem. Make sure that all wash water is disposed of in the sanitary sewer, not down a storm drain. Keeping garbage and recycling enclosures clean and free of debris helps deter pests as well.
What about odor problems?
To minimize odors, regularly empty collection containers and periodically rinse them with soap and hot water as mentioned above. Another remedy for odors is a product called “Dumpster Fair” available from Zep. This is an industrial odor control product in granular form that can be applied directly to food waste containers.
How much “contamination” (non-compostable material) is acceptable in the food waste bin?
No contamination is acceptable in the food waste program due to its negative impact on the safety, appearance and marketability of the finished compost product. The best rule of thumb is this: if you’re not sure an item is food waste, dispose of it as garbage until you can determine that it is, in fact, acceptable. Please make every effort to keep plastics, paper, foil, metals and glass out of the bins.
Can I use plastic bags in my indoor collection containers?
This is not recommended but it can be done IF the contents are emptied into your outdoor food waste cart and the plastic bag is then put in the garbage. Compostable bags are also not acceptable. Our compost facility, Dirt Hugger, does not accept compostable bags or other products labeled as compostable.