Iowa has some good regulations to encourage on-farm, small-scale food scrap composting. The rules allow composters to accept up to two tons of food scraps from off-site per week without obtaining a solid waste permit. The composters must comply with specific site and operating requirements or their exempt status may be revoked. Facilities composting over two tons of food residuals and yard waste per week in any combination from off premises must obtain a permit and adhere to the solid waste composting requirements stipulated in state rules. Continue reading
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Maine adopted new state composting rules on February 18, 2009. The state legislature mandated that the Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection collaborate to ease the regulatory burden on agricultural composting operations and revise the volume and types of materials that may be composted without a permit from the state. The state must differentiate between composters processing “municipal sludge, septage, industrial sludge or other materials with a higher risk of contamination” and agricultural composting operations, which are defined as “composting that takes place on a farm and uses only animal manure, animal carcasses and offal, fish waste, leaves, wood chips, animal bedding and other vegetative waste, produce and other vegetable and food waste.” Continue reading
Minnesota has been a leader in promoting composting for many years. In 2009, the state passed a law that mandates all yard trimmings generated in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area cannot be collected in plastic bags as of January 2010. The intent of the law is to prevent non-biodegradable plastic from entering composting facilities. The compostable bag law was an amendment to the existing yard trimmings diversion law (stipulating that yard trimmings may not be sent to landfills and instead must be composted) that went into effect statewide in 1994. Continue reading
California has thorough regulations that are specifically tailored to composting. Most composting operations are required to apply for a permit; however there are exemptions for some types of operations. For example, facilities that have less than 500 cubic yards of compost on-site, of which less than 10 percent is food scraps, are exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit. In addition, in-vessel composting of up to 50 cubic yards is allowed without a permit. Composting operations that are deemed a greater risk of causing environmental harm are required to either notify the enforcement agency or apply for a full permit.
Washington has comprehensive composting regulations that facilitate composting by conditionally exempting several types of composting facilities – including those that process limited amounts of food scraps – from the requirement to obtain a permit. Washington also aims to protect the environment and human health by requiring composters to test for pathogens and adhere to specific performance-based standards. Continue reading
Oregon has complete and pragmatic composting regulations, which aim to both facilitate composting and prevent nuisance to the public or any adverse environmental consequences. Oregon revised its composting regulations in 2009. Oregon’s conditional exemptions for small-scale and agricultural compost facilities, specific site requirements that must be fulfilled to receive a permit, and ongoing performance standards that must be maintained are described.
Pennsylvania, like many other states, has regulations that prohibit yard trimmings in landfills. Pennsylvania’s ban is less encompassing than many states, including Massachusetts and Minnesota, which ban yard trimmings in landfills regardless of their source of generation. Pennsylvania has made a general permit available that will allow farmers to compost “yard waste, source-separated food scraps from food markets, grocery stores, food banks, food distribution centers, school cafeterias, and institutions, source-separated newspaper, and source-separated corrugated paper (cardboard).” After composting, the material is no longer considered waste and the farmer can sell or distribute the material. Continue reading
The report finds that while the economics of solar continue to improve, a number of unexpected barriers have arisen. Homes often need electrical upgrades and local governments struggle to keep up with permit requests. Utilities are also reluctant to give up their market dominance, enforcing antiquated rules about grid interconnection that can add significant expense, delay, or even kill projects entirely. Continue reading
New York requires agricultural composters who accept any amount of food scraps from off-site to apply for a permit. In addition to the permit requirement, composters must adhere to specific performance standards including methods of vector and pathogen reduction. Some non-food materials, including animal manure and no more than 3,000 cubic yards of yard trimmings per year, may be conditionally exempt from the permit requirement. Continue reading
Update August 7, 2012: I’d like to this this qualifies as Friedman’s response to this column. In Thomas Friedman’s latest column, he praises Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts because he “took one for the country.” Friedman sees that “America today is poised for a great renewal” if only it can get some “big, centrist,… Continue reading