Rhode Island’s New Organic Waste Law

Last year, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed legislation banning the disposal of organic waste materials (i.e., food waste) beginning January 1, 2016. After that date, all “covered entities” (which includes hospitals) that produce at least 104 tons of organic waste materials per year – the equivalent of two tons per week – must recycle all such materials at a Department of Environmental Management-authorized composting facility, or anaerobic digestion facility located within 15 miles of the entity that has available capacity to accept such materials. Its intent is to establish a safe and environmentally sound method to dispose of food residuals in order to minimize the production of greenhouse gases, recover the nutrient value of food and extend the capacity of landfills.

The law can be viewed at http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/PublicLaws/law14/law14210.htm

H2ERI and HARI are partnering to assist hospitals in understanding and complying with the new law. On February 19, hospital representatives from Providence to Westerly convened at the monthly H2ERI meeting to learn and discuss the new legislation. Chris Shafer and Beverly Migliore from DEM attended the meeting to answer questions from the group.

On March 12, the group met again as Jason King, Director of Food and Nutrition Services from The Miriam Hospital presented his experiences piloting a food dehydrator. Jason described in detail how the EcoVim machine was operationalized for a trial period of 3 weeks.

A second presentation from Bill Kratzer from featured and in-depth review of Bio High Tech equipment which reduces organic waste into a grey water. The EcoSafe machine runs on continuous feeding batches. The process is a non-grinding, pre-processing using a natural bacteria. The machine requires warm water and a drain. Chris Shafer of DEM, expressed concerns that the use of this machine would not be in compliance of the organic waste bill.

The next meeting of H2ERI is on April 16 at 9:00 a.m. at the HARI offices in Cranston, RI. The agenda of the meeting will include a review of the law by an attorney recently hired by HARI.

For more information about upcoming meetings or the Organic Waste Law, please contact either Monica Anderson or Amanda Barney. Contact information is below.

Monica Anderson                                               Amanda Barney
Manderson5@lifespan.org                            AmandaB@hari.org
(401)-793-2120                                                   (401)-946-7887, ext 111

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