BioCycle December 2009, Vol. 50, No. 12, p. 6
Tribal And Rural Communities Track At West Coast BioCycle Conference
Working in partnership with the Region 9 office of U.S. EPA, BioCycle’s 25th Annual West Coast Conference – April 12-15, 2010 – in San Diego, California will feature a special track on sustainable waste management for tribal and rural communities. Topics to be covered include community-scale composting, best practices for organics collection, greening casinos, small-scale biodiesel projects, regional collaborations to tap markets for recyclables and compost, funding and beneficial public policies. A Tribal Showcase, highlighting projects from around the U.S., is being planned.
Also on tap for BioCycle West Coast 2010 are two all-day preconference workshops on April 12th. One is an introduction to composting, targeted at tribal and rural communities. The other will be an overview of anaerobic digestion for MSW organics. A third, half-day workshop is planned on urban food production systems and the links to composting, compost use and neighborhood-scale food waste collection. A program overview is on pages 8 and 9 of this issue. And visit www.biocyclewestcoast.com for complete agenda (available in early January) and to register.
Remembering Carl E. Kipp, Jr.
Carl E. Kipp, Jr., a widely known specialist in the field of composting, passed away on November 26, 2009. Dr. Harry Hoitink, Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University (OSU), remembers Kipp fondly, and wrote the following Memoriam: Carl graduated from OSU in Columbus in 1953 with a BS in Agricultural Engineering. After serving two years in the U.S. Army, he began his business career at the Sucher Packaging Company in Dayton, Ohio. During the early 1970s, Carl used his background in engineering, animal nutrition and marketing to conduct pilot scale studies required for sizing a covered facility for composting manure from about 8,000 beef cattle at Ohio Feedlot Inc. in South Charleston. He next oversaw construction of the facility at that site, which later became known as the “Paygro Composting System.” The operation addressed several problems associated with outdoor composting in high precipitation, cold weather regions. Carl also developed processes for composting hard wood and pine bark and later for food processing plant wastes, all pioneering developments that made an impact east of the Mississippi River. He held three patents on composting processes and equipment.
In 1978, Carl purchased Paygro from Mead Paper, a company that produced and marketed mulches and potting mixes prepared with composted hardwood or pine bark. In 1984, he bought out the remaining shareholders and became President of Paygro Company, Inc. He pioneered marketing of bark products, professional potting mixes and other horticultural products for the consumer and professional markets. When Garick Corporation acquired Paygro in 1998, Carl served as General Manager; in 2005, he became Technical Director, helping to position Garick to enter and expand into the lawn and garden retail market.
Carl also was a great friend and supporter of the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE) at OSU, serving for many years on the Industry and Professionals Advisory Group Committee. In 2002 he established the Carl Kipp Jr., Paygro/Garick Endowed Scholarship Fund, which is awarded annually to a junior or senior level student in the areas of bioenvironmental, ecological, soil and water, or biological engineering. He advised many FABE student teams and provided support and facilities for their projects aimed at improving composting process performance and water quality at composting facilities. He was recognized for these outstanding mentoring activities with an OSU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007.
Carl served on the board of numerous associations, including the National Bark and Soil Producers Association, the Ohio Compost Association and the US Composting Council (USCC). In 2005, he was elected President of the USCC. Throughout his career he was a strong advocate for the development of guidelines to promote more widespread use of compost. Carl Kipp, Jr. was always generous with his time and served as a mentor to many.
Biodegradable Agricultural Fabrics
For many years, there have been initiatives to recycle the black plastic mulches used in vegetable crop production. In Italy, vast quantities of traditional single-use plastics are used in crop production. In some cases, recycling is difficult because of the high percent of impurities in the material. One practice used by farmers is to burn the plastic, releasing particulate PM10. A recent meeting in Bologna, Italy focused on ecosustainable innovations in handling plastic waste in agriculture. One approach discussed was use of mulching fabrics made from biodegradable plastics. Mater-Bi® fabric, using the bioplastic developed by Novamont, was presented as an example. The compostable fabric is classified as a “specific product” for the soil for the purposes of Italy’s Legislative Decree #217/06, and therefore carries a reduced value-added tax (VAT) rate of four percent, according to Novamont. It also qualifies for the “OK Biodegradable Soil” certification issued by the international body, Vincotte. The agricultural sector in Italy uses about 43,000 tons/year of traditional plastic mulching fabrics.
2008 EPA Facts And Figures Report
In November, the U.S. EPA released its annual report, “Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2008.” The agency uses the information to measure the success of waste reduction and recycling programs. In 2008, Americans generated about 250 million tons of trash and recycled and composted 83 million tons of this material, which translates to a 33.2 percent recycling rate. On a per capita basis, that equates to 1.5 lbs of the 4.5 lbs/day of individual waste generation. Total tons discarded were 54.2 percent of the 250 million; 12.6 percent was combusted.
Of the almost 33 million tons of yard trimmings generated, about 65 percent are recovered (21.3 million tons). EPA estimates that 31.79 million tons of food waste are generated, with only 800,000 tons (2.5%) recovered. Paper and paperboard continues to be the largest category of materials generated in the waste stream – 77.42 million tons – of which 43 million tons (55.5%) are recovered. The 83 million tons of MSW recycled and composted in 2008 provides an annual benefit of 182 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions reduced, comparable to removing the emissions from 33 million passenger cars. EPA’s 2008 MSW Facts and Figures report can be downloaded at: www.epa.gov/osw/nonhaz/municipal/msw99.htm.
South African Compost Project Rejuvenates Soils
A composting trial on the Eastern Cape of South Africa was started as a partnership between the Mayibuye Ndlovu Development Trust, the Sundays River Citrus Company (SRCC) and SANParks (South Africa National Park) to restore local agricultural soils. Citrus farmers in the region were suffering from poor yields. SRCC tested the soils, which showed a very low organic matter content. It was decided to compost alien invasive Spanish reed cleared from the Sundays River, and felled citrus trees to rejuvenate the soil. Once the vegetation is chipped, chicken litter and clay are added and the mixture is windrowed. Over a 3-week period, the piles are aerated and watered with a tea made by leaching water through vermicompost. The finished compost has been so effective that local demand is outstripping supply. “It’s flying out,” said Greg Jones, manager of the Mayibuye composting project in a news report. “We’ve sold about 6,500 cubic meters so far and produce about 1,000 m3 a month. We want to push production up to 2,000 m3.”
South Africa’s Rural Development Minister, Gugile Nkwinti, noted that the project had great possibilities for environmental protection, including preserving scarce water supplies due to the invasive vegetation. “This should be a sustainable business venture and not a project with a fixed end date,” he said. A $4.7 million (Rand) grant from the European Union and $2 million from the SRCC funded the project. The company is using its skills and experience to manage the project while the community, represented by the Trust, harvests the reed and collects the felled citrus trees. About 70 local jobs have been created.
Nourishing The Kids In New Orleans
A new documentary film, “Nourishing The Kids of Katrina: The Edible Schoolyard,” produced and narrated by Robert Lee Grant, does a terrific job of telling the inspiring story of two public charter schools in New Orleans – Samuel J. Green and Arthur Ashe – that created an Edible Schoolyard program based on the Edible Schoolyard concept first implemented in Berkeley, California by chef and food education activist Alice Waters. Planning for the Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESY NOLA) began in the aftermath of Katrina (floodwater severely damaged the Green Charter School) through a participatory process that involved community members, school faculty and the students. “Students in grades K-8 participate in lessons that reinforce classroom coursework and core subjects – science, social studies, language, and math,” notes the ESY NOLA website (www.esynola.org). “At the Edible Schoolyard, the garden and kitchen are interactive venues where textbook lessons come to life.”
The one-third acre organic teaching garden on the Green Charter School campus includes a composting and worm composting (vermiculture) station, an outdoor classroom with green living roof and native plants, a wetlands area, citrus grove, row crops and butterfly garden. The new Edible Teaching Kitchen (completed September 2009) is home to seasonal cooking classes. All grade levels have cooking integrated into their Edible Schoolyard experience. ESY NOLA also has transformed the schools’ cafeteria and food programs. Changes include the addition of a daily salad bar with homemade salad dressings, fresh fruit and vegetables at every meal, more whole grains, and the reduction of canned and processed food items. Last year, the 2,900 lbs. harvested from the garden were used in cooking classes and by students’ families. Middle school students participate in an after-school course “Budding Entrepreneurs” where they sell seasonal vegetables and transplants from the garden and greenhouse, as well as value-added garden and kitchen products at the monthly neighborhood Freret Market. A trailer of the documentary can be viewed at www.nourishingthekids.com.
December 15, 2009 | General
BioCycle December 2009, Vol. 50, No. 12, p. 6