Michelle Riggs

Michelle Riggs

Michelle Riggs

Speaker | Natural Connections

Bonney Lake, WA | 206-4375-682 | mriggs@naturalconnections.biz

Michele has utilized her academic background in Natural Resources and Chemical Engineering with her focus on environmental science initiatives for the last 11 years. These activities include overseeing stormwater compliance at industrial sites, including compost manufacturing, soils yards, and hazardous waste storage and transfer sites. Michele has also served as a technical lead and facilitator for ASTM International and the USCC with regards to compostable products. Michele also proudly serves on the Board of Directors as the President of the Washington Organics Recycling Council (WORC).

Presentation Title: Beyond the Food: Evaluating Compostable Foodservice Packaging as a Feedstock

Session: Evolving Perspectives on Compostable Food Serviceware

Time: Wednesday, January 30, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Presentation Summary: It is a widely held belief that compostable products and packaging are only beneficial to composters as tools for diverting food waste, but that they don’t have any value alone. While it’s true that compostable products assist with diverting more food waste, the compostable products industry questioned whether there might be some inherent value to the products themselves. The Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) and Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) commissioned an in-depth study of compostable packaging as a feedstock itself, compared to traditional inputs like yard trimmings. A field study at two commercial facilities was conducted where piles were super-loaded with compostable products at 15% and 30% of incoming materials, and evaluated for impact on the composting process (e.g., C:N ratio, bulk density, etc.) and quality of the finished compost (e.g., nutrient value, heavy metals, etc.). This presentation outlines the results of that study, and the implications for composting facility operators wondering about the impact of accepting routes with large volumes of compostable products.