The Urban Composter

The Urban ComposterCalling the option of hauling waste to landfills “a big no-no,” the proprietor of a service that offers large-scale composting urged attendees at a UM Go Green sponsored sustainability workshop to learn more about their biodegradable garbage.

Keith Losoya of Waste Neutral, Inc., spoke to nearly 30 people on Feb. 27 in the Green Room at the SMC Campus Center. His subject: “The Urban Composter.” His point: Landfills are the least-acceptable destinations for waste, and composting options are the best.

“Anything that lived can have a new life,” he said.

Losoya’s talk focused not so much on an individual’s compost bin or bucket but on bulk composting. His company accepts biodegradable waste from restaurants and schools (not the University) in the Baltimore area. “We take tons and tons,” he said.

Waste Neutral and similar haulers take the loads to the only regional facility in operation. At a large site in Delaware, the food scraps and plant matter are combined in piles that are sheltered by so-called “cocoons.” The batches, which require about two months of seasoning, form a rich material that can be spread in gardens or shipped abroad.

“It’s a global market,” said Losoya, noting that biomass has become a welcome cargo at the Port of Baltimore.

Losoya said the practice of turning organic waste into soil is “as old as dirt,” and was common before World War II and the subsequent fast food era that changed consumption and disposal practices. 

“We’re getting back to that,” he said.

— Patricia Fanning

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