From Beth Bond via the Civic Association Network: Dear Neighbors: I am writing you tonight about yet another threat to being more sustainable in DeKalb County, but even more importantly DeKalb County making a colossal financial mistake. If you live in Decatur this affects you too because your waste goes to DeKalb County’s Seminole landfill! Many of you probably have not heard about GreenCo. GreenCo is the first of only five permitted food waste composters in the entire state. They have been trying to relocate to DeKalb. The most logical locations are in South DeKalb. It has caused an uproar in South DeKalb. All the usual malicious lies and drama that accompanies so many issues in South DeKalb have accompanied this issue. The irony is GreenCo is possibly the best thing that could happen to waste management in DeKalb. I have spent a significant amount of time laying out the case below. What I am simply asking for you to do at a minimum is to sign this petition to support GreenCo.
Thanks for your consideration on this. If you feel more inclined then please read further to find out how else you can help and all the issues behind this move.
Your Central DeKalb Don Quixotess!
Want to know more? Below is my outline of where we are and what else you can do to support this effort and after that is a background piece that GreenCo prepared so people could be informed on the exact nature of their work.
“Over 62 percent of what gets buried in municipal landfills is readily recyclable or compostable organics, including paper, wood, yard trimmings and food scraps. Organic material is needed to replenish our depleted, eroding and artificially-fertilized soils. Yet when paper, wood, yard trimmings and food scraps are mixed with the myriad toxic products in household and industrial waste, they become too contaminated to apply to soils. The rational solution is to separate clean organics at the source and compost them into soil amendments. When done properly, both centralized and backyard composting generally result in no net greenhouse emissions, according to U.S. EPA.”– Grassroots Recycling Network
“Thanks to the Leskos, Atlanta has composted over 15,116 tons of food residuals, previously destined for landfills, into valuable compost. These impressive numbers translate into 514 metric tons of methane not released as a greenhouse gas, with a carbon equivalent of 10.803 tons (1,964 cars off the road for one year).” – The IMPACT
Who is Greenco?
Greenco Environmental (”Greenco”) is the leading organic recycling company servicing the Southeast United States. Greenco offers its customers an environmental option for disposing of their organic waste products, with zero landfill contribution.By combining large quantities of food waste, yard waste and wood waste, Greenco creates high quality organic compost, a nutrient-rich soil amendment for use in planting and farming soil. Greenco is proud to be the first commercial food waste composting operation to garner a permit and endorsement from the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of Georgia.
What is Composting?
Composting is the controlled biological process of decomposition of organic materials into a product that can be used beneficially as a soil amendment, for water conservation, or erosion control.
Compost happens, on its own, all around us in the natural world. Beneficial microbes and other organisms are constantly at work decomposing organic matter, transforming “waste” into useable resources.
Why is composting important?
Compost enriches soils, helps cleanup contaminated soil, helps prevent pollution by diverting organic materials from landfills, and reduces the need for water, fertilizers and pesticides.
Where does the finished Compost go?
Greenco’s compost is sold in bulk to the agricultural market, such as organic farms, landscape supply companies, and individuals. Greenco also donates to community gardens and local schools to support environmental education and awareness projects. Greenco recently donated a truckload of compost to Camp Twin Lakes (a network of camps that provides programs to kids with serious illness, disabilities and other challenges) for their farm initiative, which provides educational, therapeutic, and nutritional opportunities for campers.
How does Greenco manufacture compost?
Food, yard and wood waste are delivered to Greenco's facility. After the food residuals, yard trimmings, and wood chips are mixed together, the blended material is assembled into composting windrows. Windrows are managed and maintained at specific temperatures for 90 days - exceeding industry quality standards.After 90 days, the waste has been transformed into organic compost, which is sold in bulk to farmers and manufacturers of bagged garden products.
What kinds of products will be composted at Greenco’s proposed facility?
“Source separated” (materials that have already been separated from other ‘trash’) food residuals, food soiled paper and other compostable products (ie cardboard) and wood chips and yard waste.
What kinds of products will NOT be composted at Greenco’s proposed facility?
Styrofoam, plastic, glass, garbage, hazardous waste, and metal. Greenco has also added a special list of conditions of materials it will not take at the composting facility:
“No dead animal carcasses, bio-medical waste, sewage sludge, bio-solids, DAF skimmings (the fats/greases/oils collected during meat and poultry processing), dewatered septage, asbestos containing materials or non-organic municipal solid waste shall be used as feedstock”
If you are not dealing with “trash”, why are you asking DeKalb County for a Special Land Use Permit?
Even though the waste Greenco collects is limited to organic materials, we are required by the State of Georgia to obtain a solid waste handling permit. The solid waste handling permit has specific requirements surrounding it – land must be zoned appropriately (M2/heavy industrial) and have a special land use permit is a DeKalb requirement needed for anyone seeking a solid waste handling permit. The solid waste handling permit assures that all materials are handled in accordance with the guidelines established by the State of Georgia and will be monitored by the EPD.
Greenco is not developing a “landfill”. We are developing a site where we can collect already separated, reusable food waste and organic materials and, through our 90 day process, transform it into nutrient-rich compost.
Will there be a lot of trucks coming through the area at all hours of the night?
Currently, Greenco maintains it’s own fleet of 6 trucks. We estimate they will deliver collected food scraps and/or leave to deliver finished compost 12-15 times each day. We plan to blend in with the current schedule of trucks hauling building materials to and from the quarry, utilizing established truck routes.
Will the site smell and attract animals?
Greenco’s proposed site in Lithonia is located within a 1,400 acre quarry site. It is 1,000-1,500 feet away to up to 1 ¾ miles from residential areas and between 100 and 150 feet below ground. We have purposely scouted and chosen this site to deter animals and to limit any smell from the immediate compost site.
Who are Greenco’s owners?
Greenco is owned by Tim and Melia Lesko, who have been recognized as true pioneers in sustainability. Inspired by their two daughters, these hardworking parents started Greenco with one goal: to leave the planet in a better place than it was when we arrived. In October 2010, Tim and Melia were honored by IMPACT for their dedication and commitment to making the Earth a better place for our children to inherent.
Who are Greenco’s customers?
Greenco helps many of greater Atlanta’s premier environmentally-conscious companies achieve their sustainability goals including: Ages Scott College, Emory University, Morehouse College, Georgia State University, Georgia Tech, Paideia School, Whole Foods, Georgia Power, Coca-Cola Corporation, Moe’s, Radial Café, The Fifth Group restuarants, Six Feet Under, Woodfire Grill, Miller Union, Carole Parks Catering, Intercontinental Hotel, Arborguard Tree Specialists, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Google and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Greenco has also worked with GreenHouse Productions on a Disney movie filmed in Atlanta.
Greenco also partners with leading community organizations including: Georgia Organics, Georgia Recycling Coalition, The Piedmont Park Conservancy, and Keep DeKalb Beautiful.
“In the past year, Agnes Scott has reduced waste being sent to landfills by about 25 percent and believes these composting measures will shrink its landfill waste even further. ‘We realized that composting combined with recycling could help us to reduce our waste going to the landfill significantly. We are acting early on the waste reduction issue right now, but over time all institutions will be looking at waste reduction in order to save landfill costs and because facilities will be limited in their capacity. It’s better for Agnes Scott’s bottom line, and for the region’s health and environment, to start now,’ said Susan Kidd, director of sustainability at Agnes Scott.” – Agnes Scott College
I’ve heard rumors about your previous site. Why are you moving to DeKalb County?
Greenco, as a company, strives to be good stewards of Mother Earth and has the utmost respect for our neighbors in the community. Greenco is a young company in an emerging industry, and being the first at anything is always a challenge. We acknowledge that there were challenges at our Barnesville facility that led to odors leaving our site. We have made many changes to our business over the past 2 years to reduce any impact to nearby residents – for example we have changed and refined our recipe and we have added a larger windrow turner to better manage the windrows. However, the one thing we can’t change is our proximity to local residents…some of whom are 500-1000 feet away from the edge of our property. The Lafarge property will have a couple of residents to the West who are 1,500 feet away, but the majority of residents are more than a mile away from the edge of our proposed facility. The proposed location is also 100-150 feet below ground level to further limit any impact to Lafarge employees or residents.
We have a vibrant business and are excited to relocate to a better location, closer to our customers in and around metro Atlanta.
How will Greenco benefit DeKalb County and its community?
We look forward to bringing more job opportunities to DeKalb County and shining a spotlight on “the greenest urban county in America” as well as reduce the amount of waste going into the local landfills. Greenco will create jobs (drivers, yard workers, and administrative), will increase services within DeKalb County, and will utilize local businesses for other goods and services needed.
Greenco is excited about the prospect of being a part of a community that understands, supports, and advocates green issues and businesses. Greenco will continue to contribute to the DeKalb community through educational programs and service projects, such as donating fertile compost for school gardens and teaching students to be environmental stewards by creating their own compost bins. Last year, Greenco Environmental helped Atlanta soup kitchen, Open Door, serve up a Zero Waste Thanksgiving.
“’Having Greenco’s composting facility has made zero waste possible,’ said Tania Herbert, whose son attends the Paideia School and who helped organize both trash-free turkey dinners. ‘They are putting us on the map, and we’re catching up with the rest of the country. It was a great partnership, because the Open Door Community doesn’t think there is any waste in thisworld. They see value in everything, whether it is food residuals or people.’”– BioCycle World
Has Greenco already been working in DeKalb County?
Yes, Greenco has been collecting food scraps from Emory University, Agnes Scott College and Hormel foods since 2009. We have also been collecting food scraps from restaurants and other locations in DeKalb. We have diverted millions of pounds of food scraps from DeKalb County landfills over that time…in 2011 alone, we diverted nearly 5 million lbs!
How can Greenco further help DeKalb County?
DeKalb has a very generous sanitation system to collect yard trimmings. However, this has caused a bit of a management challenge of the yard trimmings, as there are many thousands of cubic yards (estimated at more than 75,000 cu yds) of ‘old’ yard trimmings piled up which creates a very real risk of fire spreading through the highly combustible material.
Even though a portion of that material is composted at the facility for DeKalb residents to pick up, not enough is being recycled back creating an ever increasing problem. Greenco can help manage the yard trimmings collected by including them into the composting recipe with the food scraps. The more yard trimmings diverted from the landfill the more benefit there is to DeKalb in regards to alleviating handling it and therefore saving all DeKalb Tax payers money.
Where else is there Commercial Food Waste Composting?
California, Seattle, State of New York, Frederick County MD, Raleigh NC and many others across the country. In California - 3,000 businesses and ~2 million residents participate in municipal foodscrap composting programs.
If I have questions about Greenco, where do I go and who should I contact?
For more information about Greenco, please visit our website at: http://www.greencoenvironmental.com/
We are happy to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have. Please feel free to contact Greenco’s owner, Melia Lesko, at email@example.com.