Cedar Grove's Michele Riggs Talks Compostability

A Focal Point 2014 interview
Sep 16, 2014 2:45 PM ET

Composting is a potential end-of-product-life solution for packaging, one that is gaining more attention with development of new materials to meet consumer and regulatory demand. Cedar Grove in Washington state has been a pioneer in diverting materials from landfills through composting. Michele Riggs, Biodegradable Technical Specialist with Cedar Grove, will describe the company's program Focal Point 2014 on October 14 in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

You can hear from Riggs and 10 more expert speakers on the latest challenges and solutions in food and beverage packaging and converting. Early registration deadline is Friday. Register now for  $180 and save $70 off full registration.

Registration for the conference is online at http://conta.cc/1sYCWQU
More information about the conference is online at http://www.uwsp.edu/wist/Pages/focal-point/default.aspx

Riggs will present "Compostable Packaging: Food for Thought". Ahead of the conference, we asked Michele a few questions about Cedar Grove and composting issues.

WIST: Please briefly describe the origins of Cedar Grove Composting and when it first began to accept food packaging materials?

Michele Riggs:  Cedar Grove Composting, Inc., is a family-owned organics recycling firm that has served the Puget Sound area of Washington and Oregon since 1938. In 1989, Cedar Grove began large-scale composting operations, and started including compostable products in 2003.

WIST:  We understand you process several hundred thousand tons of green and food waste annually. What customer base do you have for your finished product and do you sell direct?

Michele Riggs:  We have many different types of customers that use Cedar Grove Compost, from gardeners, to landscapers, contractors, erosion control specialists, municipalities and to the Department of Transportation. We sell our compost in bulk, out through distribution networks and to large retail chains that carry our family of bagged products. Bagged products are sold throughout stores in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.

WIST:  What has been the single biggest challenge in composting food packaging waste alongside green waste?

Michele Riggs: Plastic contamination! Due to the confusing marketplace, it is hard for consumers to understand proper sorting techniques, so good compostable items (that work just fine for us) are often interspersed with non-compostable items.        


About The Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology
The Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (WIST) provides research, laboratory services and education to help businesses and organizations accomplish their goals in ways that make more sustainable use of natural resources. Technology and ideas developed by WIST and its partners will spur economic growth and help preserve a healthy environment for future generations. WIST is a multidisciplinary institute at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with support from the UWSP College of Natural Resources and the College of Letters and Science.