composting organics at correctional facilities

Green Mountain Technologies, Inc. (GMT) has a successfully composted food waste for correctional facilities across North America and as far away as Ireland. With an average of 2.5 pounds of food waste daily per inmate, removal of food waste from the waste stream creates a significant savings on total disposal cost for the prison.

It is estimated that food waste makes up 40-60% of total waste in a typical prison system and costs on average $150-$160 per ton in disposal fees. The addition of landscape waste as a feedstock for the composting process eliminates another component of the waste stream, further reducing the cost of overall waste disposal.

Savings from expenses associated with onsite use of soil amendment and mulch adds to the positive financial analysis for the purchase of an in-vessel composting system.

Composting food waste has other important advantages as well. States such as Massachusetts, Vermont and California have passed regulation concerning the removal of food waste from the general waste stream. On site, in-vessel systems allow for an economical alternative for disposal of food waste that addresses environmental concerns.

The in-vessel systems offer a small footprint, odor control, low energy consumption, low labor input and high volume reduction. The composting process creates a homogenous, stable soil amendment that can immediately be used on landscape, gardens and fields. Laboratory testing confirms the production of quality compost. On site composting eliminates hauling fees and tipping fees as well as the cost and hassle of storing the waste in preparation for off site disposal.

The system provides hands on opportunity for prisoners to learn a craft that integrates farming and landscaping skills with modern waste practices. There is daily input and output of material with simple computer controls of the automated auger system. Monitoring of daily temperatures, volume reduction and other system analysis creates a learning environment and job training in the management of food and landscape waste.

Correctional Institutions are adopting on site composting because it creates a cost effective way to lower disposal fees, comply with forthcoming regulation and leverage that investment for inmate education and job training.

Case Study: Virginia Dept. of Corrections Earth Flow Composters