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Feature: Sorting and separating urban organic waste-streams

Harvest’s energy garden in Florida anaerobically digests organic feedstocks from a well-known theme park and area hotels, restaurants and businesses.
Harvest’s energy garden in Florida anaerobically digests organic feedstocks from a well-known theme park and area hotels, restaurants and businesses.

Harvest Power is a US-based company specialising in converting organic materials into compost, mulch, clean energy and natural fertilisers. Here, director of Communications Meredith Sorensen looks at best practices for collecting and sorting urban organic feedstocks prior to anaerobic digestion.

Public-private partnerships help unlock organic diversion, bioenergy markets and soil fertility demands. Without this collaboration, development can get stuck in a chicken-and-egg situation: the public sector can’t begin to collect organic waste without a local processor; private industry doesn’t want to build (nor can it finance) a processing facility without a feedstock guarantee. A number of variables shape these partnerships, particularly around policies and permits. In regards to feedstock, the following practices support successful sorting:

  1. Get aligned. Be clear about what materials the processor(s) can handle. Define these acceptance specifications early.
  2. Support upstream. Give the upstream generators the tools they need to supply the desired feedstock. Best practices for sorting stations include:
    1. Use pictures. Images or even actual objects are more effective than text alone.
    2. Point positive. Use arrows to show where items should go.
    3. Place your signs close. Place your signs as close to the point of disposal as possible.
    4. Color coordinate. Match sorting categories with recognisable colors.
    5. Pair bins. Create organics, recycling, and landfill bins together to maximise convenience.
    6. Start small. It’s easier to draw lines narrowly at first, then expand.

 

At its marquis anaerobic digester in Central Florida, Harvest Power took a hybrid approach to sourcing feedstock. A well-known theme park served as its first customer by guaranteeing fixed volumes of food scraps, biosolids and FOG. Harvest then built a facility with additional capacity and sourced the remaining feedstock from area hotels, restaurants and businesses that cater to the 50+ million visitors to Central Florida each year. 

 

For more information about Harvest Power, and the methods they use to sort and separate their urban organic waste, read their feature in the upcoming issue of Bioenergy Insight or visit Harvest Power.

Harvest’s energy garden in Florida anaerobically digests organic feedstocks from a well-known theme park and area hotels, restaurants and businesses.