By Jen Baer, GMC Sales and Production Coordinator
Here’s where we’ve been: In June of 2012 we discovered that our compost contained trace amounts of persistent herbicides that affected a number of gardens. In response, Green Mountain Compost (GMC) immediately halted sales and launched a customer-directed response, documenting damages and compensating affected gardeners. We spent hundreds of hours investigating the source of the culpable herbicides, poring over studies and documents, and deep in discussion with chemical industry representatives, compost industry experts, and regulators fromVermont and the US EPA.
All the while, we kept thousands of tons of yard debris and food scraps out of the landfill while we continued making compost, testing every batch and refining processes until we were satisfied with the results.
Where we are now: As a result, we are now at the forefront of the national movement to pressure regulators to require better labeling and more available lab testing to prevent future contamination. We’re proud to be leaders in making safer compost and to have gotten through our experience with transparency and accountability.
Where we’re going: To ensure continued quality of our compost products and safeguard against future problems with persistent herbicides, we have made some important changes to our process:
We built a new greenhouse, where we now perform growth trials on every batch of compost to assure that GMC compost will help your plants produce lush growth and provide a robust harvest.
We eliminated horse manure and stall bedding from our mix until better herbicide testing methods are in place. These feed stocks were the largest source of persistent herbicides in our compost.
We have extended the “curing” phase of our composting process which we believe will make for an altogether better product.
With passage of Act 148,Vermont’s statewide universal recycling and composting law, there will be a huge increase in the amount of organic material being diverted from landfills and into compost in the coming years. Green Mountain Compost will play an increasingly crucial role in our community’s food system.
Rest assured that we’re up for the job and we’re churning out fully tested, premium bulk compost that will be ready for sale in the spring of 2014. Bagged product will hit stores by 2015.
There is a lot more:
Chittenden Solid Waste District
1021 Redmond Road
Williston, VT 05495