Sustainability | Ecotrope

Coming up: Where Portland's food scraps are going

Ecotrope | Nov. 4, 2011 9:24 a.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:34 p.m.

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At Recology's Nature's Needs commercial composting facility in North Plains, machines pull oxygen through piles of yard waste as microbes it down into compost. Curbside food waste is mixed with yard waste at a Metro transfer station in Portland before being trucked here for composting.

At Recology's Nature's Needs commercial composting facility in North Plains, machines pull oxygen through piles of yard waste as microbes it down into compost. Curbside food waste is mixed with yard waste at a Metro transfer station in Portland before being trucked here for composting.

Today I went on a tour of trash with the Dill Pickle Club. I took scrupulous notes on what happens to Portland’s food scraps once they’re picked up from the curbside. It’s a stinky and steamy road to the final compost heap. And totally fascinating. Here’s a sneak preview with more to follow.

Temperature monitoring is key to the food composting process at Nature's Needs. The food scraps need to reach a 145 degrees for 15 consecutive days to kill any harmful bacteria, but if they get too hot as microbes go to work, the piles could catch fire!

Temperature monitoring is key to the food composting process at Nature's Needs. The food scraps need to reach a 145 degrees for 15 consecutive days to kill any harmful bacteria, but if they get too hot as microbes go to work, the piles could catch fire!

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