Waste Not: Closing the Loop on Organic Wastes

Global Food Ventures

The overall objective of this project is to learn how urban organic wastes (sewage biosolids, pre-consumer and post-consumer food waste, and urban vegetation waste) are generated, how they flow through coupled city-farm systems, and how these flows can be re-engineered to improve sustainability. Until very recently, most organic wastes in the Twin Cities were landfilled directly or incinerated and then landfilled – a “flow-through” system. As landfills reach capacity, wastewater treatment processes improve (increasing the volume of biosolids), and wastes are assigned new values, we have started to re-engineer the flows of organic wastes, moving toward a circular economy. We envision an economy in which organic “wastes” are used for energy extraction, conversion to animal feeds, and fertilizers – but never buried in landfills.

How can we re-engineer the flows of organic wastes to create a “circular economy”?

Diagram of waste cycle.

For more information go to our project page,  www.wastenot.umn.edu