Sloppy (Joe) Compost

The Gonzales, Calif., school system just announced that it will convert its food waste to fertilizer, thanks to a company called Converted Organics.

This effort comes on the heels of Converted Organics’ July 1 start to process food waste at its Woodbridge, N.J. facility. Here, the company’s enclosed aerobic composting technology has a more specific target–school food waste.

photo by john.murden (via Creative Commons)Anyone who’s made it through first grade won’t have a tough time imagining the barrels full of wasted food. Especially those who suffered the curiosities of school lunch in their day or at least have heard the Adam Sandler song.

Schools certainly produce a lot of food waste (studies have found that between 10 to 37 percent of school lunches are wasted, according to this USDA Report). That’s why I applaud this effort on all levels except one: There’s no mention of separating the edible from inedible excess. I’d like to see a food recovery group rescue this usable food.

I can hear you now: ‘Is that food really worth saving?’ Given that Gonzales is less than 20 miles from Salinas, the produce capital of California and possibly the nation, I’m hoping that its school lunch is of a higher quality than what I was served (although I did love turkey stew day).

Maybe they can make food recovery part of the routine, as the in-vessel composting won’t start until mid-August. A guy can dream, right?

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