MARCH 2010

St. Louis composting facility privatizes operations

St. Louis Composting is making improvements to the center throughout the winter months to increase the facility’s processing capacity from 50,000 cubic yards in 2009 to more than 100,000 cubic yards.

The City of St. Louis signed a three-year contract with St. Louis Composting, Inc. to manage and operate the city’s 10-acre composting center.

The facility was previously operated by the City’s Forestry Division and annually processed an estimated 50,000 cubic yards of green material. The eight full-time city employees who previously worked at the composting site have been re-assigned to other jobs within the division according to Forestry Commissioner Greg Hayes.

“Privatization just made sense,” Hayes said. “Antiquated equipment made our operation inefficient. It saved the city from having to invest a significant sum in new specialized machinery. St. Louis Composting is a well-capitalized, accomplished specialist that knows the business inside and out,” Hayes added. “Come next spring, residents will have access to a far greater selection of top-quality compost and mulch products at the Company’s new retail operation than our division would not have been able to provide.”

Under the agreement, the City’s Forestry Division will continue to deliver all of its green waste to the site. Additionally, any resident of St. Louis City will be allowed to dispose of five cubic yards of green material free of charge the first Saturday of every month.

“We believe it is feasible to increase processing output in the first year to at least 100,000 cubic yards, effectively doubling the output of previous years” said Patrick Geraty, president of St. Louis Composting.

Currently, Geraty’s workers are focused on processing an estimated 50,000 – 60,000 cubic yards of green material stored on the site. They are also making improvements to a 3,750 square-foot equipment maintenance/warehouse building and to a covered, 200 foot-long loading dock that will be central to the retail operation the company will open next spring.

Geraty said the facility also hopes to begin accepting food waste and other source-separated organics – a first for metro St. Louis – in early 2010. He said several well-known restaurants and food service operations appear poised to participate in a food waste recycling program.

“Many area restaurateurs have embraced the local food movement, using food produced in the community to feed the community,” Geraty said. “By partnering with St. Louis Composting to recycle food waste, the process comes full circle – from garden to table and back again.”