Odor complaints abound for Seattle's composter

By PHUONG LE | September 24, 2011 | 11:05 AM EDT

SEATTLE (AP) — A year after the city of Seattle required residents to recycle food scraps, the results have been impressive: in 2010, the city's contractor diverted 90,000 tons of banana peels, chicken bones and weeds out of landfills and converted it into rich compost.

But the process that helped the city set an all-time high recycling rate of 53.7 percent hasn't been without controversy.

The company turning that waste into compost has come under fire by citizens and others who complain of a pungent stench emanating from its two facilities located outside of Seattle. Cedar Grove Composting has also been hit with numerous clean air complaints.

The battle over odors got messier this summer when a tribal official and a mayor from a town neighboring one plant appealed directly to Seattle's mayor.