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Pr. George's Co. begins composting pilot program

Wednesday - 10/23/2013, 1:47pm  ET

Prince George's County begins composting pilot program. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)

WASHINGTON -- Ever wonder if there isn't a better way to use those leftovers in your fridge?

Prince George's County has an idea. It's operating a pilot program that takes your table scraps, mixes them with yard waste, marinates the mix under a fabric sleeve made by GoreŽ -- the same folks who make Gore-Tex -- and lets it sit to create a nutrient rich compost.

"About 25 percent of what we throw away is food waste," says Adam Ortiz, director of Prince George's County's Department of Environmental Resources. Ortiz says the county's found a way to make use of that food waste "by composting it into a product that we can bag, sell at nurseries and bring some resources back into the county." Ortiz explains by using the food in the compost, the product that results is richer in nutrients, and can accelerate plant growth faster than composting products currently on the market.

So, don't look at those leftovers and think it's over: Today's turkey tetrazzini could help grow tomorrow's prize winning rosebush. The county's working with the University of Maryland and Whole Foods, two entities that have to manage lots of food waste, and Gore, the company that developed the fabric sleeve that helps break down the compost quickly.

Ortiz says the county hasn't yet branded their product, but is working on it. But he's got his marketing pitch down: "You can put it in your flower beds, you can put it in your potted plants and they'll grow even better, faster and healthier than ever before!"

Ortiz says Howard County has a similar system, but Prince George's County is operating its pilot program on a larger scale. The program started in May and the first composting product was ready to test this month.

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