- By Michael Cooper Staff Writer
A Springfield man wants to improve food-scrap recycling throughout Clark County by building a more than $500,000 odor-free composting center east of downtown.
The business wants to turn food waste from medium-sized businesses, such as restaurants, hospitals and schools, into compost at a proposed site at 256 Linden Ave., Springfield resident David Andre said. He hopes to have the business, currently called the Central Springfield Compostery of Clark County, Ohio, operational by July 1.
Andre recently received a $250,000 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to build a new manufacturing facility made up of 40-foot tubes that can compost food waste with no smell, he said. The material is put through a bio-filter and will placed under ventilation to capture and filter any odors, Andre said. It will also be completely under roof, he said.
“We’ve got systems in place to make sure we’re not allowing any unpleasant mess to drift or float or enter into the neighborhood,” Andre said.
The equipment will allow the business to accept waste others cannot except, such as meat, dairy, bones and compostable plastics, he said.
“We’ll be able to handle more types of food waste than anyone in the region,” Andre said. “It’s table back to farm, so to speak.”
Andre’s business, GoZERO — Food Waste Compost Courier, currently provides services to businesses in Columbus, Cincinnati and Dayton. Andre’s other business, Econopia, sells compost back to farmers and community gardens.
About 22 percent of what goes into a landfill is food waste and about 71 percent of that food could be composted, according to recent studies by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture. By composting food scraps, he said it keeps the waste out of landfills.
Andre also hopes to establish community drop-off points for food scraps to promote composting to households, he said.
“20 years ago, curbside recycling was kind of a myth,” Andre said. “Everyone was taking their recyclables to recycling centers. We’re trying to on a grassroots-basis to find individuals who want to participate in helping to do more composting and establish locations like that.”
Andre’s family runs a large-scale composting business in northwest Ohio, he said. He’s currently finalizing details with the Ohio EPA for the Springfield project, he said.
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The use fits the property’s zoning, meaning it won’t have to apply for a rezoning or a conditional use permit, Deputy City Manager Bryan Heck said. The site has been a challenge to develop because it’s located between two railroad tracks, he said.
“It’s an opportunity to develop a property that probably would not be developed,” Heck said. “(Andre) has a strong business plan and will be a great addition to the community.”
Go Zero and the Clark County Solid Waste District will host a presentation of the movie “Wasted” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at the City Hall Forum, 76 E. High St.
“It’s meant to articulate the problem and describe a host of opportunities to fix them,” Andre said.
A question-and-answer session will be held after the film to allow residents to ask questions about the proposed compostery, he said.
“I’m excited about being able to have conversation about all the things we’re doing to make sure that we’re not adversely affecting the neighborhood,” Andre said.
Most composting facilities are outside of city limits, said Steve Schlather, program coordinator for the Clark County Solid Waste District. A composting facility near a city will make it easier to recycle food scraps, he said.
“There’s people who really don’t want to throw away their food waste and yard waste,” Schlather said. “It’s a place they can take things … It might create more of an opportunity to divert residential food waste than what we have now.”
For more information about the film showing or to reserve seating, log on to gozero.org/events.