Composting efforts gain traction across the United States
Roy Derrick maneuvered his forklift with a pallet of neatly boxed expired produce and flowers and dropped it into an industrial compactor at Safeway’s cavernous return center in Upper Marlboro. As the compactor hummed, compressed food and floral scraps spilled through a chute into a 40-foot trailer, one of five that would make the weekly trip to composting centers in Delaware or Virginia.
Employees at 125 Safeway stores along the East Coast ship everything from flowers to coffee grinds and spoiled vegetables to the Maryland return center, which then must transport the waste at least another 100 miles to be recycled into compost.
But increasingly, local governments, entrepreneurs and community activists are experimenting with composting.
Last month, District Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced that the city’s Office of Planning was awarded $600,000 in grants to build three to four compost sites for urban farms or community gardens in the city to test composting methods.