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Increased options for compost


In a column on compostable packaging in the produce industry last week, I suggested that in urban settings, even compostable packaging is likely to end up in landfill.

John E. Papp of Jac. Vanderberg Inc. in Tarrytown, NY BB #:103960 sent me an email to follow up on my story. His company has just introduced a line of home-compostable bags for its Sunray line of products.

John pointed out that there are more composting options for urbanites than we might expect. He writes:

“Along with the increased awareness by the consumer of the impact of their purchases and the packaging that accompanies it, new solutions have been entering the market. One interesting solution is the Lomi Kitchen Composter. There are other similar technologies that exist through Vitamix and other companies.

“I guess the message here is that more technologies are coming out to assist the consumer with composting, it’s just not widely known or publicized yet. A lot of the responsibility rests on us in the industry to educate the consumer about how to compost based on your current living setup. It can be done, but the consumer just needs to be told how to do it. The way I see it (or hope to see it!) there will be a composter machine in every household down the road—just like there’s a refrigerator, microwave, and stove top. The question is just how long that will take.”

I wrote back asking him what urbanites would do with their composted material. His reply:

“The obvious answer would be to use it in your apartment for your plants/garden if you have them.

“If you’re composting but don’t want to use the organic material at the end or have extra, one can search for organic collection sites. Some cities have their own compost collection programs and provide bins specifically to collect organic materials. You could also gift the rich nutrient soil to neighbors. It sounds silly but organic, rich nutrient soil is quite expensive if you go and buy it at your local home improvement/gardening center so if you have friends/neighbors that garden this is a great gift!”

I’m not entirely sure that any but the greenest urbanites will go to great lengths to bring their composted material to organic collection sites.

But I certainly agree with John that composting is an excellent goal to strive for, and one that the produce industry should promote among the public.

My wife loves gardening. Maybe this spring I will suggest that she start a compost pile in our suburban backyard.


Richard Smoley, contributing editor for Blue Book Services, Inc., has more than 40 years of experience in magazine writing and editing, and is the former managing editor of California Farmer magazine. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford universities, he has published 12 books.