BioCycle November 2017
Boulder, Colorado: State Establishes Guidelines For Composting Marijuana
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPH&E) released a Compliance Bulletin on waste disposal for the marijuana industry in the state. According to the CDPH&E, Article XVIII, Section 16 of the Colorado Constitution defines a “Marijuana Establishment” as a cultivation facility, testing facility, product manufacturing facility or a retail store. ‘These wastes may be regulated as solid or hazardous wastes and may include marijuana plant material, marijuana-infused products, pesticides, fertilizers, solvents, wastewater, mercury-containing lighting and other wastes,” explains the bulletin, which provides guidance on how to handle and dispose of these wastes in accordance with the relevant state regulations.
The plants and products must be rendered “unusable and unrecognizable” by grinding and incorporating the marijuana waste with any of the following nonconsumable solid wastes: paper, plastic, cardboard, food waste, grease or other compostable oil waste, bokashi or other compost activators and soil. The resulting mixture must be at least 50 percent non marijuana waste.
After the waste is made unusable and unrecognizable, management options for the rendered waste are: Disposal at a solid waste site and disposal facility that has a certificate of designation from the local governing body; Deposit at a composting facility that has a certificate of designation from the Department of Public Health and Environment; or Compost on-site at a facility owned by the generator of the waste and operated in compliance with the Regulations Pertaining to Solid Waste Sites and Facilities. Link to the Compliance Bulletin is in the online edition of Composting Roundup.
Madison, Wisconsin: County, Farmers To Study Manure Composting Initiative
As part of the 2018 budget, Dane County (WI) Executive Joe Parisi is allocating $200,000 to study the potential of creating a large-scale community facility where farmers could bring manure and have it composted. The finished product will be less prone to runoff and could be trucked to areas more in need of the nutrients found in manure. “Our farmers are our best partners in our community’s lake clean-up efforts,” noted Parisi. “Working with them to set up [composting] on a bigger scale in the Mendota watershed is another innovative, effective approach at substantially decreasing algae growth in our lakes.”
Yahara Pride Farms has been working with University of Wisconsin agronomists to explore the benefits of composting manure. Yahara Pride Farms is a farmer-led, nonprofit organization and was the first to bring composting technology for manure to area farmers. The composting operation could potentially be set up at the location of the county’s former yard trimmings composting site outside of Waunakee.
The proposed study in the county’s budget would explore how many farmers could participate in a regional composting facility, who would operate and maintain it, and potential markets for the compost produced. It is believed such a facility would help farms of all sizes by reducing the amount of liquid manure spread on fields and by having access to composted manure that stays on the land better and has fewer pathogens. “As one of the top 25 agricultural producing counties in the entire country, our multigenerational family farms and the thousands of jobs they create and support are here to stay,” said Parisi. “Working with them to promote composting is our next opportunity to facilitate the kind of collaboration that has brought the progress and successes we’ve seen to date in our ongoing work to clean our lakes.”
Northampton, Massachusetts: CET Awarded Top Honor In Rathmann Challenge
The Center for EcoTechnology (CET), a nonprofit organization based in Northampton, has been awarded Top Honor in the North American 2017 Rathmann Challenge — Mitigating Climate Change: Expanding the Use of Compost — for CET’s pioneering work over the past 20 years to expand the use of composting to reduce wasted food, which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The Rathmann Challenge, an initiative of the Rathmann Family Foundation, was launched in 2014, and seeks to advance organizations possessing the creativity, entrepreneurial ethos, and innovative spirit to make a positive difference in the world. CET receives $100,000 for its past work and the exclusive invitation from the Rathmann Family Foundation to apply for an Even Bigger Idea® grant of $200,000.
“As the recipient of the Top Honor, the Rathmann Family Foundation recognizes the Center for EcoTechnology both for its remarkable past accomplishments as well as the ability to make an even bigger impact beyond Massachusetts to the entire Northeast and the rest of the United States,” said Rick Rathmann, Executive Director of the Foundation. “The Rathmann Challenge engages organizations with a proven track record, forward thinking ideas and a willingness to challenge themselves and their professional colleagues to come up with a better solution.”
Noted John Majercak, President of CET: “We are honored to be recognized by the Rathmann Family Foundation. This funding will help us focus on how to scale this work to make a greater impact throughout the Northeast and nationally, working alongside our many industry and government partners.” In 2011, CET worked with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to establish the award-winning RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts program. RecyclingWorks provides businesses and institutions in Massachusetts with free consultation and expert technical assistance to establish cost-effective waste management programs, including composting. To date, CET has helped spur an expansion of compost production in Massachusetts by approximately 25,000 tons annually, said Majercak.
CET has been expanding beyond Massachusetts to increase its impact by sharing its expertise in wasted food reduction. With funding from the Fink Family Foundation, CET has been working in Connecticut to jump start the food waste diversion marketplace, focusing intially on technical assistance to maximize wasted food diversion activities in regions subject to the state’s food waste disposal ban. In Rhode Island (RI), CET is collaborating with the Governor’s Director of Food Strategy, RI Food Policy Council, and the RI Department of Environmental Management along with many other partners. It recently completed engaging more than 50 members of the RI food system that work with wasted food, including food establishments, composting sites, haulers, and community and government organizations, and developed a list of needs and recommendations to accelerate the diversion of wasted food in support of the Rhode Island Food Strategy.