December 15, 2009 | General

Regional Roundup

BioCycle December 2009, Vol. 50, No. 12, p. 16

Wilmington, Delaware
The 27-acre Wilmington Organic Recycling Center, owned and operated by Peninsula Compost Company, LLC, opened for business in early December. When operating at full-scale, the 500 tons/day plant will be one of the largest source separated organics composting facilities in the U.S. “We started taking materials right after Thanksgiving weekend,” says Nelson Widell of Peninsula Compost. “We will be taking about 150 tons/day until everyone is trained and all systems are working. We have four windrows formed now and temperatures are ranging in the 150°F to 160°F level which is very good.” The facility is using the GORE covered composting technology. The receiving and preprocessing areas are fully enclosed.
Tallahassee, Florida
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) proposed 62-640 Biosolids Management Rule could present a significant regulatory and financial barrier to the production, distribution and marketing of biosolids compost in the state of Florida, according to Kessler Consulting, Inc. (KCI) in Tampa. Proposed language in Chapter 62-640.850 requires that all Class AA biosolids and biosolids products must be licensed and registered as a fertilizer in accordance with Chapter 576 FD and Chapter 5E-1 FAC (Florida’s Commercial Fertilizer Law). Biosolids compost will be subjected to an inspection fee of $1.50/ton. FDEP has proposed the fertilizer requirements as a way to limit nitrogen and phosphorus from biosolids contaminating surface or ground water.
“The fertilizer inspection fee also places an unfair economic burden on biosolids compost versus other biosolids,” says Mitch Kessler. “Compost is made with a bulking agent that contributes significantly to the final weight of compost. Compost has comparatively high moisture content and low nutrient content. These factors mean that biosolids compost is subject to a much higher fee per dry ton of nutrient than other biosolids – without considering the fact that those nutrients are in a form and product that actually reduces surface and ground water contamination. Consequently, KCI has concluded that Class AA biosolids compost should be exempt from the fertilizer registration requirement.”
Status on the biosolids rule adoption can be found online at: The rule adoption is expected to take place in January 2010. Questions or comments can be sent to Maurice Barker of the FDEP,
Madison, Wisconsin
Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, announced grant awards totaling more than $2.6 million to help businesses statewide finance the installation of large renewable energy systems. Funds were awarded on a competitive basis to help eligible businesses become more energy independent. Grants were given to the following dairy manure digester projects: Dairy Dreams LLC in Casco, a 3,000 head dairy operation, was awarded $434,477 to install an 800 kW anaerobic digester energy system. Clear Horizons LLC in Sun Prairie received $500,000 to complete a 1,137 kW anaerobic digester energy system. Clear Horizons will own the system; however, it will be located at Maunesha River Dairy, a 1,000 head dairy operation. PPC Partners Inc. in Plymouth was awarded $500,000 to complete a 1,137 kW anaerobic digester energy system. PPC Partners will own the system that will be located at Goeser Dairy LLC, a 1,000 head dairy operation.
In the municipal sector, the City of Sheboygan Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) was awarded $205,920 to install a biogas maximization system. It has been successfully operating 300 kW microturbines for nearly four years (see “High-Strength Wastes Boost Biogas Production,” March 2009). The new system will increase the gas production of the existing anaerobic digester from 30 percent to 60 percent. To capture the energy from the increased amount of biogas, the city will install two additional 200 kW microturbines, bringing the total generation capacity up to 700 kW. The Focus on Energy website ( is loaded with information on previously funded projects, as well as how to apply for grant monies for an AD project in Wisconsin.
San Francisco, California
Local farmers called on city residents and businesses to increase their participation in the City of San Francisco’s compost program by placing all food scraps from holiday meals in green carts for curbside collection. The city now requires all residents and businesses to separate organics from the trash. The farmers clearly support that mandate. “Local farms feed our cities,” says agronomist Bob Shaffer, a soil expert and consultant to dozens of Northern California vineyards at a recent press conference held at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. “Now we are asking people in cities to send all their kitchen peelings and other food scraps back to the farm.”
Vineyards in Northern California that apply compost made from food scraps collected in San Francisco now use the soil amendment specifically to grow cover crops such as mustard and beans to pull carbon out of the atmosphere and sequester it deep in the soil.
“This helps turn farms into carbon sinks,” Shaffer says. For example, Kathleen Inman, owner and winemaker at Inman Family Wines, spreads about 350 cubic yards/year of compost on her organically farmed Pinot Noir at Olivet Grange Vineyard in Russian River Valley.
Linda Hale, Chief of Daily Operations for Madrone Vineyard Management in Sonoma, affirmed local vineyard managers have embraced the food-scraps-to-fine-wines philosophy. Madrone uses compost made from food scraps to grow grapes sold to Clarbec, BR Cohn, Benziger, Imagery, Sebastiani and Eric Ross wineries. San Francisco’s organics collection and composting program is managed by Recology, Inc.
Syracuse, New York
The U.S. dairy industry convened the New York Dairy Power Summit in Syracuse during the last week in October. The summit brought together experts in dairy production – including close to 50 New York dairy farmers – engineering, environmental science, financing, legislation and policy and green energy business to accelerate opportunities to use cow manure methane biogas to generate reliable, cost-effective renewable electricity and natural gas. Coordinated by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the summit is part of its Dairy Power project, one of 12 that makes up the dairy industry’s roadmap to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the entire dairy supply chain. The Dairy Power project aims to establish a national model for using methane digesters on dairy farms as a means of creating energy, adding revenue streams and reducing farms’ carbon footprints.
“We’ve estimated this could generate $38 million in new revenue for dairy farmers around the country and offset 2 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents annually by 2020,” says Rick Naczi of Dairy Management, Inc., which organized the summit. According to the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets, the state has 6,200 dairy farms with more than 600,000 dairy cows, but only 10,000 cows are utilized in energy production through the use of 12 digesters generating 1.3 MW of power. Under New York’s “45 by 15” program, the state plans to receive 45 percent of its energy through energy efficiency and the production of renewable energy, including digester biogas, by 2015. For more information, contact
Raleigh, North Carolina
The Reuse Alliance North Carolina, the first statewide network focused on connecting, supporting, and promoting the local reuse sector, was launched in November. At the launch, results of a recent survey of the reuse sector in North Carolina were discussed. According to the survey, 84 percent of respondents indicated they had limited or no knowledge of the reuse sector and its various stakeholders. Many also stated there were not enough public outreach and education initiatives that promote reuse as a strategy to divert waste from landfills, offer low/no-cost materials to those with limited means or create green collar jobs. “We see the results of this reuse sector survey as a tremendous opportunity for Reuse Alliance North Carolina to make a difference,” says MaryEllen Etienne, Executive Director of the national Reuse Alliance (, which acts as a networking conduit, provides capacity building training and resources, and advocates for reuse policies.
Recent research by Reuse Alliance North Carolina found over 200 reuse sector organizations in the state, including computer refurbishers, bike repair co-ops, creative reuse groups, used book stores, food recovery organizations, office furniture remanufacturers, vintage, thrift and consignments shops, reclaimed wood suppliers, and artist collectives. “We aim to promote all of these reuse options to the public, facilitate more reuse by connecting donors to recipients and customers to resellers, and hopefully inspire people to think creatively about waste as a resource,” says Teresa Chapman, Chapter Coordinator. More information at
Richmond, Virginia
The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality completed its analysis of recycling data for 2008, compiled from reports submitted by 71 solid waste planning units (total of 324 localities) in the state. The statewide recycling rate of 38.5 percent is the same as was calculated for calendar year 2007. DEQ categorizes the data into three main categories – principal recyclable materials (PRM), credits and MSW disposed in landfills or incinerators. The PRM category covers paper, metal, plastic, glass, commingled materials, yard trimmings, waste wood, textiles, waste tires, used oil and oil filters and antifreeze, batteries, electronics and inoperative automobiles. Credits include the recycling residues, solid waste reused and non MSW recycled (includes construction and demolition materials, ash and debris), and source reduction initiatives. The 2008 data shows that 5.88 million tons of MSW are disposed (61.5%); 2.78 million tons (29.1%) are recycled; and 885,000 tons (9.4%) are in the credit category.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Fall Fest, a welcome back celebration for students, added recycling and composting this year. Approximately 25,000 students, staff and faculty attend Fall Fest each year, where food and beverages are free. Food and drink containers made up the largest portion of the waste stream at past events, so the school worked to replace everything possible with compostable and recyclable alternatives. Marked receptacles were distributed around the school quads, with volunteers to help guide patrons. “Turning an event the size of Fall Fest into an ecofriendly gathering is no small undertaking,” says Denise Scribner, LSU’s sustainability manager.
Georgetown, Texas
Austin Landscape Supplies in Georgetown, Texas started out retailing topsoil, compost and other soil amendments. In 2006, they purchased a Rotochopper CP-118 to regrind and color wood chips from tree care trimmings. As the range of feedstocks it was receiving expanded, Austin Landscape needed a bigger machine and purchased the Rotochopper MC-266 equipped with a 26-inch by 66-inch diameter rotor shaft and a 66-inch wide by 16-foot long infeed conveyor. The company receives a steady flow of raw material including pallet scrap, sawmill waste and truss plant waste that range widely in size, consistency, moisture content and contaminant levels. On the output end, finished product requirements include particle length and texture control, metal removal and uniform color application of their landscape mulch. “If our mulch has oversized pieces, nobody wants it,” says Patrick Whittlesey, owner of Austin Landscape. “If it has too many fines, we have to use more colorant – our costs go up, while the volume goes down.”
Cleveland, Ohio
The city-owned Westside Market in Cleveland received a grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to purchase an on-site composting unit to process food waste generated by the market. They worked with Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S), a Cleveland-based network for sustainable businesses and nonprofits. “The funds from ODNR were received earlier this year, and a Green Mountain Technologies Earth Tub was purchased,” says Peter McDermott of E4S. “Based on a food waste audit, we estimate that about 300 to 500 lbs/day of food waste are generated. The market is open four days a week, so that is roughly one ton/week.” Material unloaded from the Earth Tub may be transported to a city-owned greenhouse for curing, with the finished compost used in parks and other city properties, and by community gardens. Some of the compost could be bagged and sold at the Westside Market.

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