RENewsletter | June, 13, 2010


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“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

6/06/2010 –64/13/2010]


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Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. -- Carl Sagan


Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |



[Hyperlinks work by CTRL + click to follow a link]




Opening Salvo:  “Are we wasting food waste in the Rochester, NY region?”


Composting food waste instead of tossing it into a landfill is gaining momentum around the country as it offers a more sustainable treatment of this inevitable by-product.  Note the New York Times devotes a full section on Compost News and a local entrepreneur thrives on making a business of it: “Vermi-Green capitalizes on happy worms” (6/06/2010 Democrat and Chronicle).  Instead of letting food waste rot inside a plastic-lined landfill creating a modicum of energy by capturing some of the methane gas, a healthy compost program creates a nutrient-rich and toxin-free fertilizer—and business opportunities.   


Other counties around Monroe County have food composting programs. Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA) uses a system called aerated static pile composting that is very efficient, doesn’t require continual turning over, and provides a rich, clean fertilizer.  In Tompkins County’s Solid Waste program they use a windrow system that does need turning over but tolerates more impurities because the turning-over process facilitates a sifting process that eventually removes most of the non-compostable materials. And Erie County has just started a Commercial Food Waste Composting Program with an energy grant from the United States Department of Energy, because “composting prevents food scraps from decomposing in a landfill and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.” 


Although Monroe County has much to be proud of in its recycling and solid waste programs, the county does not currently have a food composting program.  It can be commended for its Household Hazardous Waste Program and its Pharmaceutical Waste Disposal program that provides “our residents with a safe and proper way to dispose of their unused or unwanted medications.”  And I personally have experienced wonderful cooperation with Monroe County Recycling this year when they took our volunteers’ suggestion and collected recyclables during the new Monroe County Park’s “Pick Up The Parks” program.  Nevertheless, the county is lagging behind other nearby communities with regard to food recycling.


Admittedly, there are a lot of hurdles to overcome. If the process, whatever method you choose, isn’t done correctly, you lose money and the place smells.  If the place smells, that’s a showstopper.  Neighbors won’t tolerate a stinky composting site. Another showstopper of a dysfunctional food waste program are pests—rodents and flies.  And if you don’t have educated and dedicated people—consumers, collectors, and composters—all along the food waste stream, the process won’t work either.  The programs I have witnessed in Onondaga County and Tompkins County are great examples of how well food waste collection programs can work in our area.


Despite the economic risks in establishing a waste-stream process that is more complicated than simply tossing 10% to 14% of our present waste stream into a landfill, it’s well worth the effort.  Communities get excited about changing a dead-end waste system into a healthy business incubator that mimics what occurs naturally—organic materials returning to the earth where little creatures break it up and more things grow as a result.  (Click on my email for feedback)




NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]





UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]





EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: with (EV event) in the subject line.



July 2010



September 2010




ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 





AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]


Frank J. Regan ( or ( ) - Please visit: Where you can get all the environmental news, events, documents, and services on the Internet for Rochester, New York. is the most complete, non-profit environmental site for any one city in the world. You can also subscribe to RochesterEnvironment.Com. Once a month, get's "RENewsletter in your mail" - Or, join in discussion on Rochester environmental matters at Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY -