Monday, May 2, 2011

International Compost Awareness Week: A Toxic Love Affair

Happy International Composting Awareness Week, everyone!

Some of our compost piles.
Well, actually, it should really be called International Toxic Sludge Awareness Week. According to our friends over at SourceWatch, International Composting Awareness Week, or ICAW, is actually a PR front for companies that are trying to push sewage sludge as a viable composting method.

There's no telling what is in the sewage. Organic material? Yes. But also heavy metals, pharmaceutical drugs, steroids, hormones, and many other dangerous chemicals.

It sounds incredible, but it's true. Sewage sludge is sold - often at a discount - to farmers to compost their fields. In fact, Susan recently had to change her straw supplier, when she found out that the same guy she's been going to for years entered into a contract to use sewage sludge on his fields. This practice, by the way, is specifically prohibited by USDA organic standards.

It's not just large farming operations that can get burned by this. The companies pushing this are also packaging compost that does not disclose its undesireable origins, and in fact implies that it is organic, and selling it to individuals too. Here's a sad story about a community gardener in San Diego who found this out the hard way.

I'm going to leave you now with a clip from my favorite environmental documentary... Fern Gully.

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