In May, after almost a year of testing and Covid-related delays, the state Department of Health gave Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and its partners approval to launch its Earth Flow composting system, the first of its kind in Hawaii. Since its arrival in December 2020, its been housed at Full Circle Farm in Waimanalo, and operated by Full Circle Solutions Hawaii. The Earth Flow composting system is a retrofitted 20-foot shipping container, designed by Green Mountain Technologies. The innovative system eliminates odors, pests and any liquid from decomposing material — and does it all quietly.

Inside the shipping container, a rotating spiral blade churns compostable waste, introduces oxygen and produces soil in two to three weeks. Though the soil needs up to 90 days to mature after initial processing, it’s still half of the six to eight months that composting typically requires. Soon, a drop-off at Full Circle Farm will allow anyone to bring in unlimited household waste through a subscription and purchase the soil they produce.

Though the natural process of turning organic matter into soil has long been associated with funky smells and hard work — a deterrent to attempting it on a large scale — Sustainable Coastlines first implemented its waste diversion program in 2010, most prominently with Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, by setting up and collecting waste from receptacles that separated trash, recycling and compost.The new composting operation is largely funded by grants from 11th Hour Racing and the Frost Family Foundation. The system itself was transported free of charge by Matson and Triple B from the mainland to Waimanalo.

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Author: Alicia Lou, Honolulu Civil Beat
Image: Honolulu Civil Beat