Environmental Protection

food waste recycling

Waste Management Is Adding Organics Composting near Florida Landfill

The facility will process clean demolition wood, food and yard waste from South Florida residents and businesses to create organic compost products.

Waste Management, Inc., is developing a new organics facility in Okeechobee, Fla., that will process yard, food, and clean wood waste to create value-added soil amendments as well as bagged lawn and garden products.

The facility, located adjacent to the existing Okeechobee Landfill operation, is the company’s first dedicated organics composting site in the state. Operations on the eight-acre site are expected to begin in the spring. In October 2010, the company opened a Food and Organic Recycling Facility (pdf) in Orange, Calif.

“We want to extract the highest value possible from the materials we manage. Recycling organics through composting and other technologies that may produce energy, transportation fuels, or specialty chemicals enables us to generate more value from this specific material stream,” said Tim Hawkins, market area vice president for Waste Management. “With this facility, we will be able to offer southern Florida customers dedicated organics processing capability as well as generate beneficially useful products such as nutrient-rich organic compost that can close the loop with local homes and businesses in South Florida.”

Organic compost is considered a part of the green retail market, which has been growing at 20 percent annually.

The company recently acquired a majority equity interest in Garick LLC, a manufacturer, marketer, and distributor of organic lawn and garden products, which has served to expand Waste Management’s organics recycling capabilities to more than 1 million tons. The company also has invested in new and emerging technologies to convert organic energy into transportation fuels and, ultimately, petrochemicals and chemicals.

North America generates over 80 million tons of organic waste each year. In the United States, approximately one-third of municipal solid waste is organic, including food, yard, and wood waste. Approximately 65 percent of yard waste and 2.5 percent of food waste collected in the United States is currently diverted from disposal.

Waste Management, Inc., based in Houston, Texas, provides, through its subsidiaries, collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services.

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