June 26, 2006 | General

BioCycle World

BioCycle June 2006, Vol. 47, No. 6, p. 6

“GreenScaping: The Easy Way To A Greener, Healthier Yard,” is the title of a new brochure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenScapes Program. Step One in the “Five Easy Steps” to putting nature to work in your yard is: “Build and maintain a healthy soil with compost and mulch.” Instructs the brochure: Know what your soil needs with a soil test, dig or rototill one to three inches of compost into six to 12 inches of topsoil when making new beds or planting lawns (and topdress existing lawns with one-quarter to a half-inch of compost every spring or fall), and make compost at home, or buy it in bags or bulk.
Hard copies of the brochure should be available in July, notes Jean Schwab, GreenScapes Program Manager at EPA. In addition, the GreenScapes website ( will have details on the homeowner initiative, as well as a commercial initiative coming this July as well. State and local governments, nonprofit organizations and GreenScapes Partners & Allies will be encouraged to use the brochure for composting and natural landscaping outreach programs, she adds.
With a market development grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Paygro Division of the Garick Corporation is ready to increase its output of compost and mulch. Located near South Charleston in Clark County, Ohio, Paygro will use the 2006 grant to install a food waste processing system ahead of its existing composting operations.
The Clark County Waste Management District, along with support from the Division of Environmental Services in neighboring Greene County, sponsored Paygro for the $250,000 grant. Megan DeWine, Program Coordinator for Clark County, stated that the grant is a “shot in the arm” for local recycling. “The District is excited about the opportunity this grant gives Paygro to expand their ability to take food waste for composting. It is estimated that up to 35 percent of our waste stream is made up of food waste. Capturing even a portion of that food waste and composting it would save landfill space while creating a rich compost that can produce revenue for this Clark County business,” said DeWine.
Currently, Paygro receives 260 tons of food residuals weekly, including soiled cardboard and other paper products from such sources as a Dole Food Company plant in Springfield that makes bagged salad products, and a Whole Foods Market in Columbus. According to Doug Alderman, Paygro’s Business Development Director, the amount of food residuals processed in South Charleston will double as Paygro starts recycling programs at area colleges, schools, nursing homes and hospitals. Food residuals are combined with yard trimmings and manure and other organics to produce a range of soil and mulch products. “This project will create approximately six new jobs at our facility,” adds Alderman, “as our grant will expand our concept of sustainability to include many new players and products.”
The parent company of Paygro is the Cleveland-based Garick Corporation which is a mulch, compost and soil amendment production and sales firm. Paygro was originally developed in the early 1970s to compost manure from feedlots. The Paygro division processes 40,000 yards of biowaste annually consisting of livestock manure, food residuals, yard waste and sawdust – operated by a staff of 25. Paygro expects to install the new grinding equipment in July, with a start-up date by October 31, 2006.
The availability of soil products from Garick has led to a partnership with Skyland USA to make available in the U.S. a “certified” green roof media called Rooflite™. “The green roof industry will meet the needs of our customer base that require the availability of rooftop growing media when and where they need it,” explains Rick Mahoney, managing partner of Garick.
At a May California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) meeting of its Permitting & Enforcement Committee, Deputy Director Howard Levenson alerted members that San Joaquin Valley air district officials were planning to issue a rule that would focus on reducing VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions from green waste composting. As reported in the Vol. 17, No. 19 newsletter, Inside Cal/EPA, the rule would potentially be patterned after the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Rule 1133. That rule targeted biosolids composting after officials there conducted studies “indicating that outdoor composting of such feedstocks represents a significant source of uncontrolled emissions of ammonia and VOCs. According to the newsletter, the rule is significant because emission controls on composting practices are part of the district’s overall strategy to clean up the region’s unhealthful air, yet diversion rated a top priority by state officials could be hampered.”
The proposal in question is Rule 4565, not yet formally released to the public. Rule 4565 focuses mainly on VOCs from green waste composting, with initial studies finding that green waste composters generate up to twice the VOCs per ton of feedstock compared with “cocomposters.” Cocompost combines sewage sludge or manure and green waste. The South Coast rule is designed to move facilities toward enclosed systems with filters, which if applied to green waste composting will be a problem economically, Levenson added. CIWMB has a research contract with San Diego State University to do field emissions testing on green waste and food waste composting to determine actual emissions, he said. “So far, the district is agreeable to having our results be considered in the rule making process and wants to work with us.”
The Northwest Product Stewardship Council in mid-May issued a report that provides a conceptual business plan for how an industry-managed Third Party Organization can be established to oversee electronics recycling systems in multiple states. The business plan explores how to establish manufacturer-managed Third Party Organizations to operate programs for difficult-to-manage products such as electronics. Similar organizations exist for batteries, carpet and mercury thermostats.
The report, titled “Conceptual Business Plan for an Electronic Product Stewardship Third Party Organization (TPO),” is the result of a collaborative project of the Northwest Product Stewardship Council and Washington State Department of Ecology. Funding was provided by the U.S. EPA, participating manufacturers, local governments and others. The details of the business plan and its approach were under the direction and guidance of a Steering Committee comprised of eight electronics manufacturers. Government staff, consultants and legal advisors provided technical support on the report.
The report provides a conceptual plan to deliver recycling services for waste electronics products, which include computers, televisions and monitors, in Oregon and Washington. The information is relevant and applicable to other regions and other products including paint, mercury-containing devices and pharmaceuticals.
The Northwest Product Stewardship Council (NWPSC) is a group of government organizations that work with businesses and nonprofit groups to integrate sustainable principles into the policy and economic structures of the Pacific Northwest. To view the complete report, visit or contact Sego Jackson at (425) 388-6490.
The list of companies in the ethanol industry continues to grow, along with the commitment of investment funds. For example, even though ethanol generates five percent of revenues, Archer-Daniels-Midland has increased its investment by more than 50 percent this year. ADM produced about one billion gallons of fuel ethanol last year, about 25 percent of the industry’s production. It has plans to construct a corn-to-ethanol mill in Nebraska, able to make 275 million gallons annually.
VeraSun Energy of Brookings, South Dakota and Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings of Pekin, Illinois – the second and third-largest ethanol makers – filed a month ago to launch initial public offerings. The fourth largest producer is Cargill in Minneapolis which also has expansion plans. Andersons of Maumee, Ohio is reported to have special interests – about $36.1 million – in three ethanol plants. Meanwhile, the stock of Pacific Ethanol of Fresno, California nearly tripled since it announced in November that Bill Gates of Microsoft intends to invest $84 million to build five ethanol plants on the West Coast. And in Shelby, New York, the state has announced that it will provide nearly $6 million to assist Western New York Energy to develop the first dry mill ethanol plant expected to be an $87.4 million facility. Says Gov. Pataki: “The new facility is expected to produce 50 million gallons of ethanol/year and create 58 new jobs.” This year’s budget includes a Renewable Fuel Production Tax Credit that makes New York companies eligible to receive a tax credit for each gallon of renewable fuel they produce. In addition to ethanol, the facility will generate two by-products to be marketed: Carbon dioxide for beverage carbonation and freeze drying, and distiller’s dried grains, a high-protein livestock feed.
New York state has also announced that it will allocate $20 million for development of a cellulosic ethanol facility. According to a state assemblyman, “investment in cellulosic ethanol illustrates our strong commitment to a long-term energy plan that will expand use of alternative fuels.” Since cellulose materials are the most common organic sources on earth and can be derived from willow, switchgrass, ag and forestry residues, pulp and paper mill wastes, and corn stalks, their use will significantly increase the volume of ethanol production.
The Oppenheimer Group and Earthcycle Packaging along with Wal-Mart Supercenters have announced the availability of a new line of compostable kiwifruit packaging. About a year ago, Oppenheimer – an international produce marketer with a long relationship with Wal-Mart – introduced the retailer to Earthcycle and its compostable packaging design. The Earthcycle tray is a moulded pulp package made from palm fiber, a waste product left over after palm fruit is harvested and pressed for oil. Earthcycle sources all its palm fiber from long established plantations in West Malaysia. Instead of being incinerated or landfilled, this fiber is now made into FDA food grade packaging which is certified compostable. (In less than 90 days, it will biodegrade in the compost process. To protect kiwifruit, the pack is covered in NatureFlex film, another certified compostable material.)
Planned to produce 60,000 tons of biodiesel annually in a facility located near Paris, France, the first biodiesel production project is being established by the French government to promote development of biofuels. The Veolia Environmental Services company has been engaged to construct the plant scheduled for start-up in 2008. The manufacturing project will make biodiesel from used food oils blended with virgin vegetable oils. Estimated investment is $22 million euros, with the plant operated by 20 employees.
The facility’s location will allow for: Water transportation of incoming materials; Development of energy exchange synergies within Veolia since the site will be located close to existing VES industries; and Direct collection of used food oils. Veolia will be able to feed its fleet of waste collection and passenger transport vehicles.
Biodiesel is rated as a clean biofuel since it is derived from fermentation of sugars contained in certain plants or from transformation of vegetable oils. The French government decided to accelerate its development of biofuels by authorizing construction of 16 new production facilities by 2008 to reach a usage level of 5.75 percent.
It’s estimated that in 2005 ethanol producers were left with more than nine million metric tons of by-product known as dry distillers grain or DDG. Scientists at Florida-based Dyadic International calculate that by unlocking sugars from the current volume of DDG, producers could generate an additional 90 gallons of ethanol per ton of DDG. That means that without buying any extra corn, more than 800 million gallons of ethanol could be produced.
Dyadic is involved in developing cheaper enzymes for the next generation of ethanol, cellulosic ethanol, made from cellulose-rich plants like switchgrass and agricultural wastes and biomass like stalks, citrus peel, etc. The company has patented its C1 Host Technology and enzyme development process to help farmers from California to New York move from the food business into the energy business, converting their harvests and agricultural by-products into cost-effective biofuels. More information about Dyadics’s process is outlined at
The company recently announced a partnership with Scripps Florida that will allow scientists to further utilize its fungal expression systems to develop and manufacture even larger amount of ethanol from a larger variety of biomass sources.

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