Why don’t supermarket chains produce and sell compost?

Why don’t compost producers buy produce from supermarkets?

Apparently $15 bn. worth of food per year is discarded by supermarkets in the US. That has to add up to some non-trivial amount of compost. My only guesses are that 1) it’s prohibitively expensive for compost producers to pick the stuff up themselves, and 2) an intermediary compost transport business wouldn’t be viable. I’d like to know which (if not both) is the case, and why.

On the other hand, it seems there are already some big problems with commercial compost. What that article seems to dance around is the fact that these “contaminants” that somehow end up in commercial compost are in fact the same pesticides that are sprayed on the plants being used to make the compost. I suspect, without proof of course, that these instances of contamination are caused by using pesticide-laden food waste. Then if you grow food with that compost, either it dies or it has an even higher pesticide content than the last crop, and so on until the national compost stock is unusably toxic or we all get cancer or both.

As far as organics go, I remember talking to a (non-organic) New Jersey tomato farmer last summer about pesticides and spraying. He said he had basically two options to get a viable crop that summer: spray x amount of the conventional stuff, or spray 5x that amount of some kind of copper solution. He made it sound like the copper stuff was just as scary as the good old pesticide, that it was a lose-lose situation, and it was better than losing his crop. I have no idea if he was omitting important details, or if he’s an incompetent farmer who slept through his Intermediate Aphid Management class, or if he’s right that the copper solution is as nasty and dangerous as, say, endosulfan.


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