By Lisa Graves on May 03, 2011

"Biosolids" from sewage sludgeTell Hollywood it's not green to "greenwash" sewage sludge with "organic" school gardens!

Some of Hollywood's "green" celebrities -- Rosario Dawson and a bevy of starlets -- thought they were promoting organic school gardens for inner-city kids. But the Environmental Media Association (EMA) teamed them up with a secretive corporation, Kellogg Garden Products, whose main business is selling Los Angeles sewage sludge products!

That company calls its Kellogg brand "quality organics" and deceptively labels bags sold at the garden store as "garden soil" made from "compost" -- with no mention which are made from industrial and human waste that contains tens of thousands of contaminants. That's why federal law bars the use of sewage sludge-based products in organic gardens.

So when news broke that Kellogg Garden Products provided sewage sludge products to EMA's "organic" school gardens -- and its spokesperson even posed with sewage sludge-derived products at the gardens -- you'd think EMA and its stars would cut all ties to the sludge industry.

But you'd be wrong. Instead of denouncing the contamination of the kids' gardens and the corporation's effort to "greenwash" its brand through associating with stars devoted to organic produce, EMA is sticking with its corporate donor. So far.

Tell Hollywood it's not green to partner with a company that put sewage sludge on school gardens and that sells this stuff without labeling it to say "This product is derived from sewage sludge."

Use this link to Tell Hollywood to Stop Greenwashing Sewage Sludge!

We're also Outing the Sewage Sludge Industry's Latest PR Scam, "International Compost Awareness Week"

The U.S. Composting Council (USCC) is pitching its annual PR campaign this week, which it calls "International Compost Awareness Week." The USCC describes itself as a national trade organization. USCC's members include Synagro, the largest processor of sewage sludge in the United States with revenues of over $300 million annually.

The "International Compost Awareness Week" is coordinated by Jeff Ziegenbein of the giant Inland Empire Utility Agency (IEAU) in Southern California. IEUA supplies the sewage sludge "compost" that is resold by companies like Kellogg Garden Products, which supplies the sewage sludge-based products to local Home Depot and Lowe's garden centers.

But you won't find the word "sewage sludge" on the bags of "soil," "soil amendment," "compost" or "fertilizer" that are made from the sludge. Instead, you may find the word "compost" in the ingredients and even the word "organic" or "organics" on the label. Unless the material has the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) certification, however, it is not a certified organic product. Organic produce cannot be grown in sewage sludge under federal law.

So this week, in honor of what really should be called "International Sewage Sludge Awareness Week," let your friends know that they should beware of any garden product that uses the word "compost" or that has a "seal" from the U.S. Compost Council, because it might be from sludge. We need you to help spread the word on sludge.

You Can Help Fight the Sewage Sludge Scam!

Especially as spring unfurls its glorious green leaves in the northern hemisphere, we think you have a right to know if the "compost," "soil" or "fertilizer" marketed by your garden store is actually made from sewage sludge containing industrial and human waste.

We also think you have a right to know if the fruits and vegetables you buy to eat more healthily are actually being grown in sewage sludge. But, we think you have more than a "right to know." You have a right to demand a stop to this deceptive practice that exposes you and your family to contaminants.

Sewage sludge is not just being used on so-called "conventional" produce without telling you. Sewage sludge products are increasingly being marketed as "compost" and greenwashed as "organic" by the industry and its allies.

Through our newly-launched project, "The Food Rights Network," we are fighting this outrageous deceit!

And we need your help to blow the whistle on what may be the biggest toxic scam in the United States and beyond.

Comments

I do not want to use humanure in my garden, but the industial waste is the greater problem. Heavy Metals my friend.

Heavy metals are elevated in sewage sludge as well!

We have more metal in our backyard soil than compost.

I will be sure to pass this on to my many gardening friends. Good Lord, and to think many of us grow tomatoes, carrots etc in this stuff. Yak!!
Great job with this piece and don't hesitate to go viral with it on line - say Twitter, etc.

Why is it okay to fertilize plants with the "compost" of other animals but not humans? I think we should reserve comment until extensive testing is done on this product that proves it's unsafe. If it's actually safe and productive to use as fertilizer/compost, then I'm all for it. We've got to find something useful to do with the biowaste we produce, if at all possible.

If only the human waste was being used & composted thoroughly & properly, that would be ok. The issue here is that sewage sludge is full of the toxic chemicals used in the sewage treatment plants to process the waste. This waste is also from many many people who are taking many different prescription drugs the residues of which remain in the waste, even after processing. Not to forget the myriad of diseases humans have. We don't use the manure of sick animals, so why use the manure of sick humans? If the manure isn't composted properly but is only processed with chemicals, that is not organic.

I work at a sewage treatment plant and I can tell you that no chemicals what so ever are used in our plant. And almost all the bad stuff is broken down in a series of digesters kept at different temps, denitrophication, and ultraviolet light for sterilization. We currently land apply all of our sludge. It is a great soil conditioner (not fertilizer). And we are working on getting a pelitizer and have had many offers from fertilizer companies that want to use it and add their stuff to it. Many fertilizer companies are buying pelitized sludge (must be grade A sludge, there are different ratings and only class A can be put directly on the ground anywhere) and it is completely safe and EPA approved.

I also work at a treatment facility as well and have for over a decade. What this article isn't telling everyone is that there are federal guidelines, and in many cases state guidelines as well which are even MORE stringent, that regulate heavy metal content of sewage sludge by having ceiling limits on the concentration allowable in the sludge before it can be used as a "fertilizer." Any facility which MIGHT have put out a product containing levels of heavy metals over this limit have bigger issues facing them, such as federal prosecution. This is NOT the norm for 99% of treatment plants. Guess what??? The operators who run these facilities also live in the same communities as YOU do. We have a vested interest in keeping our environment clean just as you. My kids play in the lake we discharge to...I don't want them swimming in unsafe waters anymore than you want your kids swimming in unsafe waters. Treatment plants are just a convenient target for the fear mongers peddling THEIR crap.

Sewage sludge in Wisconsin is contaminated by a veritable alphabet of toxins including but not limited to: PCBs, Polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs), dioxins, furans, lead, cadmium, mercury, as well as antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals.

These poisons come from a host of sources including direct industrial discharges/transfers to treatment plants, household products, atmospheric sources and other fugitive emissions into the sewer system.

It is not healthy to use these materials in gardens for food production or in areas where direct human contact is likely or where materials can be washed into waterways.

I suggest that these sludges be put into the yards of the Republicans who fight tooth and nail to stop any regulations of the poisons their industry friends spew into our environment.

Internalize externalities!

Yes, let's experiment on ourselves until we find our kids being born with some physical defect or something! But then, we still shouldn't rush to judgement, we must wait until it is proven unsafe! Riiiiight....

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