Greenwaste is another term which has become standard in the mainstream. Because it characterizes organic and woody excesses (including prunings, grass clippings and food scraps) as “waste”, its effect is to put the garbage industry squarely into the agricultural nutritive cycle, normally known as composting.

It is a principle of Zero Waste that at no time shall any excess become irresponsibly managed. At all times there must be an owner or a responsible manager. As soon as any excess is deemed to be waste or garbage, there is no longer anyone watching and it is fair game to be degraded, mixed with other kinds of garbage and, in the case of organic matter, allowed to rot until it acquires distasteful odors and appearance leading to disgust in the minds of the public. This further empowers the garbage collectors to derogate the product and treat it as fit for little more than destruction or burial. Zero Waste redesigns all processes to be cyclical for reuse and organic matter is no exception. A competent composting industry is the proper manager for all excesses destined for composting. (Except for small amounts in your personal kitchen. See Personal Efforts under Principles). They must also be able to control the ways in which suppliers manage their own organic excesses prior to turning them over to the composter. Since odor is a constant concern of compost operations, it is essential that supplies not be managed in such a way that the creation of odor is encouraged. Instead, like any other input to an industrial process, organic matter must be managed and maintained free of decomposition until it is delivered to the compost operation. The attitude of “this garbage” or “that crap” will never allow this to happen. So it is essential that the garbage industry have nothing whatsoever to do with composting at any point. Only in this case, can composting establish itself as a respectable, independent industry and thrive.

THE LESSON: we must abandon the term “greenwaste” and speak only of “organic excesses” or “compost inputs” or “grown products”.

For more discussion, see Composting under Projects