Pot of Black Gold

Q: What’s greener than Irish composting?? 

A: Irish worm composting.

The latter is slightly greener, as worms break down organics quicker than regular composting. Even more heartening, though, is the mandatory separation of food waste for large-scale food producers. The legislation took effect on January 1 and impacts restaurants, supermarkets and anyone producing more than 50 kg (110 lbs) of waste per week.

Black Gold Compost. Photo by Arnold Inuyaki via creative commonsOf course, in accordance with the “reduce, reuse, recycle” trinity–reducing food waste would out-green all of the above–but I didn’t find anything on that online.

I did find that Tir na nOg, an Irish pub in Raleigh, touts its composting on its site. I wish more restaurants would do so–both compost and publicize it.

Back to Irish Worms, they’re the first vermiculture operation I’ve seen that also sells live bait. I suppose this makes sense in a ‘Cycle of Life’ way. But probably not to people opposed to eating fish.

Regardless, I can’t imagine anyone being against green beer. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, folks.

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  1. Posted March 17, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m wondering why a quicker breakdown makes this greener rather than just more efficient? Does the organic matter offgas during composting?

  2. Posted March 17, 2010 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    I see your point, Talia. There is an argument to be made that if you break down food quicker, you can compost more food over time, making it slightly greener. It’s not a strong argument. I think the green beer might have clouded my brain.

    I rate composting and vermiculture as approximately equal (just below anaerobic digestion). They’re both about the same in terms of gas byproduct–no methane should come from either, provided they’re done right.

  3. Jackie
    Posted April 2, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I share your excitement about this particular pub’s actions, both in composting and publicizing it. I think that many of us, when we think about being green, think mostly about what we can do in our own households and on an individual, while business often stays more in the back of our minds. It would be great if more restaurants and the like would follow in this pub’s footsteps!

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