Misuse, high costs doom compost program

A seven-year pilot program designed to collect organic materials and deliver them to the area’s only biodigester is ending due to high costs.

According to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal, Madison Recycling Coordinator Bryan Johnson announced the program will end next week because too many noncompostables are being mixed with compostables and the extra water and labor required to separate the material is costing the city $200 per ton in fees. In contrast, the county landfill charges a dumping fee of only $50 per ton.

The city of Madison has been sending its compostables to Middleton, which has the only digester in the area. When the pilot program started, the plan was for Madison to build its own digester, but that never happened. As a result, Johnson says the fiscally responsible move is to end the program.