Thursday, December 11, 2014

America Recycles Day at PHL

Stephanie Rukowicz
On November 13th, in anticipation of America Recycles Day, Philadelphia International Airport organized and hosted many different local groups to present different methods of recycling to travelers and airport employees at the food court in Terminal B/C.

Benjamin Cromie, Master Gardener and consultant to the PHL recycling program, invited the Master Gardeners to set up a table at the event to talk about composting as a way to recycle food and yard waste. Ilana Grubin and I attended the event on behalf of the Master Gardeners and were pleasantly surprised by the number of employees and travelers who stopped by our table and took the time to talk with us about how to get started or to troubleshoot any issues they might be having.

Ilana showed off the compost sample from her at home bin.

The attendees had wide range of composting experience, from those who weren't sure what composting was, to others that already had a successful system in place. We talked to residents and assured them that yes, it is possible to compost in the city. The at home composting methods we talked about included:
  • Prefabricated compost bins - Earth machines, tumblers
  • Pile system - no equipment needed
  • DIY bin system - create out of garbage cans or free pallets
  • Vermicomposting - can be done indoors
  • Trench composting - bury your food waste to improve your soil
 We promoted the city's yard waste recycling sites and also talked with a few people about the city's hearing on food waste recycling that took place the day before (Nov. 12th). The Philadelphia Prison System had a table next to us, and they were also talking about food waste recycling through composting, and the work they do at their facilities to divert tons of food waste from the garbage stream. Note that they offer free finished compost for pick up. The compost they make consists of food waste from prepared foods and wood chips from a neighborhood tree removal service.

Curby, the Streets Department Recycling
mascot, made an appearance at PHL.
The Streets Department had the most
popular table, as they were giving away

free blue curbside bins.
Here are some links with info about the city's hearing:
 Although curbside food waste pick up (like that found in San Francisco) might be a long way off for Philadelphia, there are options for city residents who want to recycle their food waste, but aren't interested in maintaining an at home system:
  • Bennett Compost offers $15/month weekly curbside pick up
  • The Dirt Factory is open to University City residents twice weekly for drop off
  • The Compost Coop is open to Fishtown and Kensington residents for an annual membership fee of $25-$50 for drop off, included in the fee is finished compost

For more information on composting:

For more on the extent of food waste in our garbage:

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