"Roy Derrick maneuvered his forklift with a pallet of neatly boxed expired produce and flowers and dropped it into an industrial compactor at Safeway's cavernous return center in Upper Marlboro. As the compactor hummed, compressed food and floral scraps spilled through a chute into a 40-foot trailer, one of five that would make the weekly trip to composting centers in Delaware or Virginia."
Employees at 125 Safeway stores along the East Coast ship everything from flowers to coffee grinds and spoiled vegetables to the Maryland return center, which then must transport the waste at least another 100 miles to be recycled into compost.
It illustrates composting's complicated trajectory in the United States. The movement is inching forward in fits and starts, by entrepreneurs as well as by community activists and civic leaders, but the nation's trash disposal system lacks the ability to process food waste on a large scale. Food scraps are also heavier than aluminum cans, making them more expensive to transport."