May / June 2011
Vol. V No. 3
Serving Soil, Mulch, Compost, & Biofuel Professionals
Attention Readers !
Are you looking for Products, Equipment or Services for your business? If so, please check out these leading companies advertised in this issue: Bagging Systems
Amadas Industries – pg 11 Hamer LLC – pg 5 PremierTech Chronos – pg 6 Rethceif Packaging – pg 4
Compost Cover ClearSpan – pg 15
Compost, Mulch & Wood Waste For Sale Litco International – pg 14
HCL Machine Works – pg 10
Mulch Coloring Equipment/Colorants Colorbiotics – pg 8 Nature’s Reflections – pg 16
Plastic Removal System Airlift Separator – pg 16
Shredders, Grinders, Chippers & Screening Systems Allu Group Inc – pg 15 Doppstadt – pg 13 EarthSaver Equipment – pg 10 Morbark Inc. – pg 2 Peterson – pg 7 REMU – pg 20 (back cover) Screen Machine Industries – pg 9 Screen USA – pg 10 West Salem Machinery – pg 12 Wildcat/Vermeer – pg 19
Transport Trailers Travis Trailers – pg 17
Turning the Industry Green with Compost as Top Dressing BY P.J. HELLER
stimating that there are some 46.5 million acres of lawn turf in the United States, Keith Schuler is seeing lots of green. Nearly $18 billion worth. That’s how much he says could be generated annually by compost producers if they can convince the public — especially gardeners and landscapers — to use compost as a top dressing for lawns. And that’s only top dressing the turf once a year. Do it twice a year, in the spring and the fall, and the annual revenue could jump to $36 billion. “There’s a huge potential,” says Schuler, a landscaper who owns LawnStylist. Inc., in the Chicago suburb of Wheaton. “The market hasn’t been tapped into.” While commercial composters are providing a valuable service by converting green and other waste streams into a beneficial product, the resulting material still needs to be used, Schuler notes. “You just can’t turn it into compost and leave it,” he says in pushing for a concerted effort to market it as top dressing for lawns. “If we could get every homeowner in the United States to top dress their lawn every spring, we don’t have a [compost] marketing problem any more,” says Bob Engel, vice president and an owner of Engel & Gray, which operates a regional composting facility in Santa Maria on California’s central coast.
Recognizing the potential of the market, Engel & Gray recently launched its “top-off ” marketing program aimed at providing landscape/ garden professionals with the tools they need to sell top dressing to their customers. “Everybody is promoting top dressing and probably has a brochure on it, but what we’ve put together is a complete marketing kit for the gardener,” Engel explains. “The goal is to get the gardener to sell the top dressing and to get the gardener to educate the customer rather than us as a compost producer.” Other compost producers also see the potential. St. Louis Compost in Missouri, that region’s largest compost producer which processes some 500,000 cubic yards of green material annually, not only promotes top dressing lawns, but rents a self-propelled top dresser, manufactured by Ecolawn, to help simplify and reduce operating and labor costs of the application. As the public looks for ways to reduce the use of chemical-based fertilizers and pesticides — in some cases driven by state and local government regulations — compost is the perfect solution, according to industry officials. “Compost is the quintessential fertilizer,” Schuler says, adding that it is “foundational to any natural organic lawn care program.” “It’s the ultimate in natural lawn care,” Engel agrees. “As compost producers, we need Continued on page 3
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Soil & Mulch Producer News May / June 2011
Mulch Producer NEWS
Turning the Industry Green with Compost as Top Dressing PUBLICATION STAFF Publisher / Editor Rick Downing Contributing Editors / Writers P.J. Heller Production & Layout Barb Fontanelle Christine Pavelka Advertising Sales Rick Downing Subscription / Circulation Donna Downing Editorial, Circulation & Advertising Office 6075 Hopkins Road Mentor, OH 44060 Ph: 440-257-6453 Fax: 440-257-6459 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org For subscription information, please call 440-257-6453. Soil & Mulch Producer News is published quarterly by Downing & A s s o c i a t e s. Re p r o d u c t i o n s or transmission of Soil & Mulch Producer News, in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Annual subscription rate U.S. is $19.95. Outside of the U.S. add $10.00 ($29.95). ontact our main office, or mail-in the subscription form with payment. ©
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Continued from page 1 to market our compost more.” states know about top dressing,” Engel says. “The beneficial results of top dressing make “Your golf course superintendents, they all know it the first step to a professional, complete, and about it and do it to a certain extent. I know ecologically responsible maintenance program,” more and more are looking at it. Ecolawn adds. “Top dressing with compost “The USCC (U.S. Composting Council) corrects several problems at their source and is trying to work with the Golf Course allows for healthy soil and grass.” Superintendents Association about utilizing The key to success in the market, both Engel compost on the golf course for top dressing and Schuler concur, is education of compost fairways,” he adds. “It’s a viable market for producers, compost sellers, landscapers and compost.” gardeners and homeowners. Among the three primary focus areas the “There’s an education deficiency,” Schuler Environmental Institute for Golf has identified says of both contractors as key issues facing a n d h o m e o w n e r s. golf facilities today and “They don’t understand into the future is water it and the promoting conservation. of it. So who we’re “Golf courses can t r y i n g t o e d u c at e save a huge amount on a r e t h e l a n d s c ap e water because compost contractors and also holds four times more the homeowners. That’s water than soil,” Schuler how the market is going notes. “They can cut to be opened up.” their water bill way A t t h e U. S. down.” Composting Council’s Reaching potential a n nu a l c o n f e re n c e c u s t o m e r s fo r t o p earlier this year in San dressing is the goal Jose, Calif., Schuler o f E n g e l & G ray ’s encouraged attendees marketing campaign, Photo courtesy of St. Louis Composting. to spread the word which was about a yearabout using compost as top dressing. and-a-half in the making. “I was trying to encourage compost “Rather than to try to go out and sell producers that there is a big market in the the homeowners, we’ve been trying to go to turf industry for compost as top dressing, at the landscape contractors and gardeners and minimum once a year,” he says. “You could even educate them,” Engel says. “Our reasoning is do it twice a year. that it’s costly to go out and get to the consumer “There’s a huge almost untapped market . . . We feel it might be more cost-effective to go there in the turf industry,” he adds. “I’m just to the landscape industry, go to the gardening trying to get the compost producers to see that industry.” it’s a huge market.” That outreach effort includes making According to Schuler’s figures, there are presentations to landscapers and gardeners. some 46.5 million acres of turf in the U.S. (he It also includes providing them with a binder revised the figure down from the more than containing door hangers, literature and 150 million acres which he had cited at the instructions on how to present a bid and bid composting council conference). That figure forms. The company has also produced a video includes lawns, sports fields, parks and roadsides. on how to promote top dressing. To top dress that turf market with a one-quarter Engel & Gray, which serves both Santa inch application of compost would require 843 Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties, operates million cubic yards of the material, he estimates. its facility on a 40-acre site and is permitted for Based on $21 for a cubic yard of compost, that 400,000 cubic yards of compost. It currently is works out to a $17.7 billion annual market. processing about half that amount. The market for top dressing ranges from Engel admits the marketing program is still homeowners seeking to reduce or eliminate in the early stages. synthetic fertilizers to golf courses and other “I would call it the trial stage,” he says. commercial/governmental users who not only “We’re trying things and learning what works want to cut chemical usage but also want to and what doesn’t work. It’s a work in progress reduce irrigation costs. at this point.” “ Tr a d i t i o n a l ly yo u r p u bl i c wo rk s Landscapers who have provided top departments in the cities and the counties and Continued on page 9 May / June 2011 Soil & Mulch Producer News
Mulch Producer NEWS
Montreal Adds Major Compost Centre at Dorval
ontreal, Quebec–The Montreal agglomeration council is looking at an industrial site near the airport for a new regional composting centre to collect organic waste, reports montrealgazette.com. The council will lease the Dorval property from Aéroports de Montréal. Regional centers will collect organic waste to be trucked to the site, and it could recover about 50,000 metric tons of organic material annually. A second site is being considered for Montreal East, LaSalle or St. Michel, resulting in two composting centers, two bio-gas centers and a pretreatment center for household organic waste. The as yet undetermined cost will be part of a $215 million investment. It is part of an island-wide initiative that follows a 2009 directive from Quebec to prevent household organic and recyclable waste from ending up in landfills with a plan to serve all buildings of eight units or less with collection of regular garbage, paper/plastic recycling and green/organic waste collections by 2014. The compost will be used by municipalities for fertilizer and soil amendment, offered to residents and turned into bio-fuels.
CEI Ventures, Backer of Coast of Maine, Looking for Other Eco-Firm Investments
ortland, OR–Presshearld.com reports that venture capital firm CEI Ventures, a for-profit arm of Coastal Enterprises, wants to invest $10 million into environmentally responsible companies and has raised over half of that now in a venture capital fund called Coastal Ventures III. It looks to invest in companies with growth potential, diversity and the creation of low- to moderate-income jobs with benefits. Since it was founded in 1994, CEI Ventures has raised $41 million and invested in 35 companies, including Coast of Maine Organic Products, which makes nutrient-rich mulch and garden soil from discarded lobster and crab shells and blueberry bushes. Founder Carlos Quijano invested the money in his compost facility in Washington County and other areas of his Portland-based business. Today, Coast of Maine employs five people in Portland, a sales representative in Connecticut and as many as 11 part-time and full-time employees at the facility in Washington County.
Rising Temperatures in West Mean Rising Outbreaks of Beetles
oscow, ID–The potential for outbreaks of spruce and mountain pine beetles in western North America’s forests is expected to grow in the future, says a study by USDA Forest Service researchers and their colleagues published in BioScience. The study is the first comprehensive analysis of the effects of climate change on bark beetles, which cause death in cone-bearing trees in the western part of North America. The study synthesized what is currently known about the effects of climate change on several species of bark beetles and used these models to look at the spruce beetle and mountain pine beetle. There is likely to be a major increase in areas of spruce forest dominated by the kind of spruce beetles that reproduce annually, rather than biennially, leading to larger populations. And the range of mountain pine beetles will likely expand into the central and Eastern United States. The study was a partnership among the Forest Service’s three western research stations; the Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center; the Canadian Forest Service; and the University of Idaho, Moscow.
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Mulch Producer NEWS
Fire Fails to Stop Operations at Georgia Mulch Plant
Georgia mulch plant that sustained more than $2 million in damages after fire swept through the facility is continuing production and will be rebuilt, according to company officials. “We do have the ability with portable equipment to continue to produce mulch so we’ve set up a temporary system to do that,” says Kristin Chek, general counsel with Ohio Mulch Supply’s corporate headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. “We are certainly planning on rebuilding,” she adds. The massive predawn fire June 1 destroyed storage and maintenance buildings, a larger grinder and debarker, about 100 logs and several wood and mulch piles at the facility in Homerville in Clinch County in southern Georgia. Firefighters from several surrounding counties were called in to help fight the blaze, which broke out around 4:40 a.m. Flames were reported shooting up more than 150 feet. “We lost a lot of equipment,” Chek says. Jim Weber, owner of Ohio Mulch who flew to Homerville to inspect the facility, described the situation to a local television station as “just devastation.” “I’ve never seen something like this before,” he said. The fire is believed to have been started by an electrical short, possibly in a loader. The 30-plus acre plant employs about 30 people and ships cypress and pine bark product to the East Coast and Midwest. The company plans to replace the equipment that was lost in the blaze, Chek says. “We’re looking at different options of how we’re going to set it up once we repurchase all the equipment that was lost,” she says. Chek says the landscape supply company is trying to keep everybody working and that no layoffs were anticipated. “The day we had the fire we cleared out a loading dock and were continuing to load product as firefighters were trying to put out the fire,” she says. “We told everybody to keep the trucks coming because we’re going to continue to ship.” Ohio Mulch was founded in 1984 and has retail and production facilities in Ohio and Kentucky as well as its facility in south Georgia.
Biomass Regulations Debated in Oregon Legislature
bill that would exempt woody biomass burned as fuel from Oregon’s regulations on solid waste is being debated in the state legislature, reports oregonlive.com. The measure, House Bill 3687, was passed by a wide majority of House members and was sent to the Senate. It was introduced by Republican Rep. Andy Olson, who said it was aimed at clarifying what state rules should apply to the woody biomass burners. He argued that the burners should not come under solid waste regulations, which he contended could prompt closures of existing biomass plants and delay development of other facilities. Such regulatory control also would cost jobs and adversely impact the state’s efforts to increase renewable energy sources, he contended. Some legislators, however, said the bill was unnecessary and that woody biomass burners needed to be regulated under solid waste regulations. “Chipping away at a definition could erode the entire basis of successful solid waste and recycling programs in this state,” said Republican Rep. Bob Jenson. “There are environmental and public health safety reasons for continuing to regulate wood as solid waste.”
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Soil & Mulch Producer News May / June 2011
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Soil & Mulch Producer News May / June 2011
Turning the Industry Green with Compost as Top Dressing Continued from page 3 dressing to their customers are finding that they are generating new business. “They’ll do one yard and then all of a sudden they’ll do three yards in the neighborhood,” Engel reports. “The other three yards might not be existing customers of theirs. But they see it [top dressing] going on and have received one of our door hangers that addresses top dressing.” The company promotes two programs, a “top dressing plus” which includes aeration, and “quick-and-easy” which is top dressing only. Schuler, who has been doing organic fertilizing and landscaping for more than a dozen years, offers customers both services as well as part of the “natural organic turf and landscape management” provided through his LawnStylist business. “LawnStylist has offered its clients 100 percent natural organic landscape services since 1998,” according to the company’s web site. “As a company we continually seek out and implement sustainable business practices and services that benefit our customers, business, and the environment. Our comprehensive natural organic management programs are tailored to re-establish the natural strength, health and beauty of your property.” Part of that effort includes top dressing with aged premium compost. “The number one use for compost in the landscaping market would be using it for top dressing,” Schuler says. “Compost top dressing is the fundamental practice” of natural organic lawn care. He also notes that compost is one of the best mediums for over seeding lawns. Schuler says he first tries to sell his customers on top dressing, citing such benefits of compost as building up and maintaining soil life and fertility, suppressing lawn pests and disease and reducing irrigation requirements. He then promotes compost use in overseeding. His preference is to put the seed down separately — some landscapers will mix it with the compost — then top dress the lawn. He recommends a one-quarter inch depth of compost for lawns. “More isn’t necessarily better in organics,” he says. While a top dressing application can be applied once or twice a year, Schuler notes that the process is designed to be ongoing year after year. “It’s continual income. It’s not just a onetime operation,” he says, noting that the benefits of such a program can’t be overstated. “You do one top dressing with an over seeding and aeration and you’ve probably done more for your lawn than a whole program of synthetics for the whole season,” he says. Cover photo courtesy of Engle & Gray.
Mulch Producer NEWS
West Virginia Looks at One-Two Coal-Timber Punch
ccording to forestbusinessnetwork.com, West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design researchers are exploring ways to both gasify and liquefy combinations of coal and forest residue, abundant in the state, to produce energy with lower carbon emissions as part of an Advanced Energy Initiative. It would combine coal and timber as state natural resources, an infrastructure and human capital and help the state make use of its strengths in these areas to grow the state economy. The multi-disciplinary team is cooperating with other institutions, industry and federal agencies and is working on three grant proposals for the millions of funding it needs. Burning biomass and coal together can create the same amount of usable energy as burning coal only, but it adds less carbon to the atmosphere. Wood complements coal chemically because calcium, sodium and potassium in wood ash help catalyze coal conversion, says the research team. Another plus is that transportation would be reduced, because carbon from the biomass can be pre-processed at satellite locations, and the resulting higher-density material can be moved at lower cost. A course based on the initiative, “Introduction to Biobased Energy Systems,” offered in the fall of 2010, drew faculty from engineering, agriculture, economics and other areas. It received positive evaluations in its first offering and now will be offered as a general education course to students across the college.
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Capping Old Landfills in Ecofriendly Ways
eltsville, MD–Two U.S. Department of Agriculture personnel, microbiologists Pat Millner and safety manager David Prevar, in conjunction with the EPA and private consultants, are using a pilot study to find a way to cap landfills in biologically safe ways. On a 30-acre municipal landfill located at the 6,615-acre Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, the team tried to seal the area using trees and shrubs, planted in topsoil and compost, a vegetative cap rather than using a lay cap. These can reduce methane emissions while preventing rainfall from penetrating into the waste and leaching into groundwater, in addition to providing the usual benefits of increased vegetation on runoff and the carbon footprint. The Maryland Department of the Environment is monitoring the site to see if the idea would work for other state landfills as it would help create more forest canopy and animal habitat in the state. For more, see “An innovative Approach to Landfill Capping - A Joint Environmental Unit & Research Project at the College Park Landfill,” at www.ars.usda. gov/Aboutus/docs.htm?docid=13238.
Info Request #163
Washington Environmentalists Attack Biomass
ort Townsend, WA–Nippon Paper Industries USA hopes to invest $71 million on a biomass-fueled system to keep its 91-year-old mill running and save costs and money, reports wsj.com. Nippon Paper is looking for almost $20 million in federal stimulus funds to finance part of the upgrade. But the local chapter of the Sierra Club, Port Townsend AirWatchers, the Olympic Forest Coalition, Center for Environmental Law and Policy and others are opposing the construction permits because of worry about air pollution from the plant, increased truck traffic and excessive water use, and are unswayed by the idea of developing alternative energy sources. Olympic Environmental Council officials said that the plant overestimates the availability of forest slash available so it would have to transport in other burnable waste. The plant disagrees. Other local biomass-burning projects have also been attacked, as was the Port Townsend Paper Co. investment of $55 million in a cogeneration project. Nippon still needs permission from Clallam County for construction near open water and it also needs an air-quality certification from the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency. A delay could lose financing under the 2009 stimulus bill and kill the project. The state environmental agency praised Nippon, saying that in the last decade, Nippon reduced fossil-fuel usage by 88% and reduced oil usage to virtually nothing, and that the plant would significantly reduce current pollutants from the plant, as well as air pollution elsewhere on the Olympic Peninsula. The plant was one of four selected in January 2010 by the state’s Department of Natural Resources for a pilot program encouraging the burning of refuse from state forests for environmentally friendly energy systems. Port Angeles officials are behind the plan as well.
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VIM Gets Hit by Neighbor Nuisance Suit and Little Progress Toward State Demands
lkhart, IN–The federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed on procedural grounds a lower court’s ruling to allow a lawsuit filed by residents near VIM Recycling’s Elkhart plant to proceed, reports therepublic. com. The plant neighbors sued VIM in federal court in 2009 claiming that woodwaste recycling plant emissions including dust and fumes from treated wood threatened their health. VIM is facing several other suits including one in 2009 from state environmental regulators who claim the business lacked the proper permits to dump wood waste on the its grounds. A preliminary agreement allowed VIM to store larger pieces indoors and to screen and sort 60,000 cubic yards of waste by June 14. A state inspection showed not enough progress being made due to limited storage space; the state hopes control of VIM can be transferred to a possible buyer, Soil Solutions, which has necessary state permits.
Michigan State Looks at UP Maple Forest Problems
. Lansing, MI–A major study of 3,000 square miles of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has shown Michigan State University that the sugar maple saplings that used to grow following lumber harvesting are not regenerating, as in times past. The results of the study, “Gap-, stand- and landscapescale factors contribute to poor sugar maple regeneration after timber harvest,” are published in Forest Ecology and Management. It explored how deer, light availability, and competition from non-tree plant species are affecting sugar maple regeneration in parts of the Upper Peninsula, a condition which also affects bird habitat. Differing management paradigms for deer and northern hardwood forests are seen as problems, with deer and trees competing for resources. Alternative management approaches are being considered. The research is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and MSU’s AgBioResearch. Go to http://csis.msu.edu/ for more information.
Mulch Producer NEWS
Biological Control for Pests Could Depend on Urease-Producing Bacteria
eltsville, MD–Scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture say in a published Biological Control article that they have found strains of bacteria possible for use as eco-treatments against agricultural insects. The commonly used strain of Bacillus thuringiensis, Bt kurstaki, usually only survives being fed to caterpillars for one generation before dying out. But the ones they found that produce a particular enzyme survive longer and are thus better able to control insect pests. Michael Blackburn of the ARS tested 50 strains of Bt known to be toxic to gypsy moths and found some that could produce the enzyme urease and some that couldn’t. These strains were fed to gypsy moth larvae and those with urease-producing phenotypes survived longer. It gives researchers a head start on finding Bt strains likely to produce crop-saving characteristics. For more, go to http://www.ars. usda.gov/is/AR/archive/mar11/.
Info Request #142 May / June 2011 Soil & Mulch Producer News 11
Mulch Producer NEWS
MSU Looks at Chicken Litter as Source of Organic Fertilizer
ississippi State, MS–With the growth of interest in organic fertilizers, scientists at Mississippi State University, in collaboration with the USDA-ARS Southern Agricultural Laboratory, are looking at the efficacy of non-composted chicken litterbased organic fertilizers weighed against a synthetic controlled-release fertilizer on flower growth, using marigolds. The study was published by HortScience and showed some broiler litter-based fertilizers can be used as organic fertilizer sources for container production of marigolds even though they have lower nutrient concentrations than many synthetic fertilizers. The question now is to see if the research results can be managed in an actual greenhouse setting. Researchers found that their results are consistent with other studies that show that too high a use of organic fertilizer can retard plant growth. For more, go to hortsci.ash … ct/45/0/1373.
Clues to Climate Change Seen in Springtime Buds
Info Request #151
oulder, CO– The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research have begun a nationwide initiative to track climate change by recording the timing of the first bud, first flower, and seed dispersal for plants across the country. Citizens are encouraged to record data from their own neighborhoods and compile findings to build a comprehensive record of the changing climate in something called Project BudBurst, with volunteers recording weekly data online. Participants choose a plant or plants to observe, then begin checking their plants at least a week before the date of the average budburst; it is part of a study called phenology, the study of the timing of the life cycle of plants and animals that focuses on establishing how and why plants and animals undertake processes at certain times of the year. Tracking this across the entire United State and over time long-term will provide valuable clues as to when changes occur, and botanists are eager to see what is discovered.
Forest Service Offers Comprehensive Forecast on Southern Forests
www.chachkagroup.com email@example.com 12 Soil & Mulch Producer News May / June 2011
ashington, DC–The USDA Forest Service and the Southern Group of State Foresters now have completed the first phase of the Southern Forest Futures Project study, using computer models and expert analysis that identifies where forest managers will have to focus to maintain southern forests in the next few years. Among the factors studied: urbanization, bioenergy use, weather patterns, land ownership changes and invasive species, all of which will greatly affect the South’s forests in the next half century. About 23 million acres of forest land are projected to be lost, equivalent to the state of South Carolina, while at the same time urbanization and population growth mean greater demands for goods and services from that declining forest base. Other key findings are that population growth will bring more runoff as well as increased pollution, impacting supplies of clean drinking water and the quality of aquatic habitats; that more numerous and severe wildfires are forecasted; that the spread of plant, insect and disease pests could severely affect native species, forest productivity and wildlife; and that more than 1,000 plant and wildlife species of conservation concern could be threatened by urbanization, climate change and invasive species. Beginning this fall, the Forest Service will release separate reports on five sub-regions of the South: the Piedmont, Coastal Plain, Appalachian/ Cumberland, Mississippi Alluvial Valley and Mid-South. For more, go to http://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/futures/.
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Info Request #129 May / June 2011 â€ƒ Soil & Mulch Producer News 13
Mulch Producer NEWS
Students at ASU Get Real World Experience in Organic Recycling
empe, AZ–According to asunews.asu.edu, Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability’s Urban Composting Systems solutions workshop is holding a course for six graduate and 16 undergrads to look at ASU’s food-waste system, develop a sustainable food-waste system, and transition from current practices towards a sustainable system. It is taught by Aaron Redman, a faculty associate within the Global Institute of Sustainability, and Katja Brundiers, a GIOS academic associate. Students conducted a waste audit of 69 bags of organic waste, recyclables and trash, weighing in at more than 800 pounds and found pre-consumer compostable materials made up over one third of the total. Help was given by Grounds Services, whose recycling manager provided guidelines for a waste audit and arranged for transport of the bags of waste, and ARAMARK/Sun Devil Dining, which gave permission to access the loading dock and handle the waste generated in the kitchen. The associate director of Management Grounds Services/Recycling, Ellen Newell, also shared her experiences, explaining that the school had set up a partnership with a local farmer to divert an average 12 tons of green waste a month. The director of sustainability practices for the school, Bonny Bentzin, reviewed the waste-audit data and gave feedback to the students during class. She says the sustainability operations group has been working for the past two years to divert 90% of waste and to reduce its organic waste contamination at area landfills from 100,000 pounds to 10,000 pounds or less.
www.litco.com Info Request #155
Study Sees Little Hope for Getting Transportation Fuels from Current Wood Technologies
new study, “Transportation Fuels from Wood: Investment and Market Implications of Current Projects and Technologies,” evaluates the efficacy of wood waste biofuels by reviewing 12 technologies and 36 projects that convert wood to fuels, including ethanol, butanol, diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel, and finds it wanting. Forisk Consulting and the Schiamberg Group are the authors of a study that says major technical hurdles will delay commercialization for the majority of the technologies, with an average 11 year gap between commercialization and production. Even if all projects succeed, say the authors, “the total impact on wood raw material markets peaks at 8.8 million dry tons per year by 2030, just over 3% of incremental wood use relative to the existing forest products industry.” Plus, they add, government targets are moving ones. The report also looked at the impact of biofuel development on domestic timber markets, with Alabama, California, Michigan, Mississippi, and Tennessee forests yielding the highest probability of wood waste production. One promising technology cited in the study is gasification technology under development from Rentech and ClearFuels, which are pursuing drop-in diesel or jet fuel, and another is the work of INEOS New Planet, Rappaport Energy and Coskata, and Kior on biofuels that combine gasification and microbes, and catalytic fast pyrolysis. For more, go to www.foriskstore.com/servlet/the-40/Transportation-Fuelsfrom-Wood-cln-/Detail.0
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14 Soil & Mulch Producer News May / June 2011
Mulch Producer NEWS
Massachusetts Study Finds Need to Add to Recycling Infrastructure
pringfield, MA–A new report by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission has found that more than 51 tons of food waste is generated by Hampshire County homes and businesses each day, and that 36 tons of it is recoverable through recycling. The report also figured the costs and benefits of expanding its composting infrastructure, which today can handle 15 tons of food waste a day, so another 21 tons needs to be added. The study also says that any regional composting program should be extended outside municipalities included in the study to include the entire Pioneer Valley. The study can be viewed on the commission’s website at www. pvpc.org.
Solutions Sustainable Design-Build
California Golf Courses Aim for Zero Waste
Compost buildings Compost covers Waste storage liners & covers Non-woven geo-textile underliners
an Luis Obispo, CA–San Luis Obispo County in California is working to turn the three county-run golf courses into zero-waste operations. Two vessel composters from the county Integrated Waste Management Authority were donated to compost all of the food waste, grass clippings and landscape byproducts from Dairy Creek Golf Course to be turned into organic fertilizer to be used at Dairy Creek, Morro Bay Golf Course and Atascadero’s Chalk Mountain. A zerowaste demonstration project is being set up at Dairy Creek to include food-waste composting, vermiculture and the production of compost tea. Also involved are Eco-Rotary of Morro Bay and Environmental Protection Associates, a San Luis Obispo-based nonprofit. See more at www.sanluisobispo.com.
Call one of our ClearSpan specialists at 1.866.643.1010 or visit us at www.ClearSpan.com/ADSMPN. Info Request #166
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Mulch Producer NEWS
Scandinavian Researchers Find Heavy Agricultural Machinery Can Harm Soil
Info Request #102
slo–Researchers from the Scandinavian nations were surprised by a study they collaborated on to look at soil tolerance for load and the environmental consequences of soil compaction, in a project partially funded by the Research Council of Norway’s Food Programme. This matters especially because the weight and size of farm machinery have increased greatly during the last decade. Compaction in surface soil reduces crop yield by 5-15% but can be overcome by good management. However, in deeper damage, crop yield reduction cannot be overcome; but it will continue, possibly without possibility of repair. This deep compaction also reduces the absorption of the plant by added nitrogen, with unused nitrogen fertilizer leaching into water and going into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. In the Scandinavian study, soil samples were taken from plots in Sweden and Finland and analyzed by processes including CT scanning to look at soil structure. The original assumption was that structural damage at 25 to 40 centimeters depth have recovered after a decade, but changes in the density of the soil showed that soil compaction might lead to permanent changes and thus to more erosion and loss of nutrients and pesticides. Climate change and resulting moisture was also seen as making the soil more vulnerable to compaction, as driving on wet soil increases the risk of damage to topsoil and subsoil. New studies are looking at new plots in Sweden and Denmark. The Scandinavian scientists say regulation is needed to protect the soil’s potential for growth, with limitations on maximum axle load and possible limitations on agricultural land. The European Union is in the process of developing models for what is viable. For more, go to www. forskningsradet.no/no/Forsiden/1173185591033.
Info Request #168 16 Soil & Mulch Producer News May / June 2011
Animal Waste Turned to Profits for U of Minn Campus
t. Paul, MN–Mndaily.com reports that The University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus has an excess of manure from its veterinary program. It used to give the stuff away, but found a new profit center. Manure from the Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science barns is collected each day and brought to the compost barn to compost and be mixed with dry bedding, then moved to an outdoor composting location after six weeks. Each month sees about 700 cubic yards of manure collected and stored. The university then sells the results for $6 a cubic yard to Minnesota Mulch and Soil, a soil, compost and mulch recycling company, which picks it up on a weekly basis in summer and resells it to greenhouses, landscapers and other customers. The school also uses some of the compost for its own landscaping, soil research and golf courses. Some of the leftovers are distributed across the University.
Mulch Producer NEWS
Study: Native Grass Lawns Can Look Better, Be Easier to Maintain
ustin, TX–According to scientists at The University of Texas at Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a lawn of region grasses would take fewer resources to maintain and be as thick as common turf grass used in the South. The Bermuda grass turf grass lawns were weighed against lawns made up of Buffalo grass and up to seven native grass species and were maintained on different mowing, watering and other care schedules in different foot traffic conditions. Dr. Mark Simmons, director of the center’s Ecosystem Design Group, led the study, and published in Ecological Engineering, with the idea of developing a more ecologically stable, natural alternative for lawns. The turf of seven native grasses produced a carpet that was 30% thicker in early spring than the Bermuda turf and stayed 20% thicker as weather got hotter. The mixed native turf grass beat the Bermuda grass in weed resistance as well. The next phase of research will look to see if the mixed native turf grass can perform as well under conditions such as light watering, and then to test other grasses in other areas. The study is hoped to develop a lower maintenance, more stable lawn turf, and this will vary by location. Go to http://www.wildflower.org for more.
Waste Management Boosts Organics Recycling in Florida and Delaware
popka, FL, and Wilmington, DE– Waste Management, Inc. is developing a new organics facility to be co-located with its Vista Landfill. It is similar to the one it is developing co-located with a landfill in Okeechobee. Each will process yard, food and clean wood waste into soil amendments. In early May, the firm also invested an undisclosed amount in the Peninsula Compost Co., which owns and operates the 27-acre Wilmington Organic Recycling Center in Wilmington, DE, said to be the only fully operational and permitted in-vessel organics processing center in the Delmarva area and giving it needed opportunity on the East Coast. The local owners, including Peninsula, EDiS and Port Contractors, will keep control of the plant, which takes in some 400 tons of food waste daily and has a capacity of 160,000 tons a year. Peninsula is looking at a similar plant in Freeport, MA, and at sites in New Jersey and Baltimore. It is all part of a WM company initiative to expand organics recycling after the purchase of an interest in Garick LLC, a fully integrated producer of organic lawn and garden products, expanding its organics recycling capabilities to over one million tons. It is also pursuing technologies to convert organic energy into transportation fuels and other chemicals.
Info Request #162 May / June 2011 Soil & Mulch Producer News 17
Mulch Producer NEWS
PA Compost Site to Remain Open
Fires Erupt at Rockford Compost Site
EPA Awards $76 Million in Grants
Peterson Eastern Parts Distribution Center Now Open
compost site in Pennsylvania scheduled to be closed by Lehigh County to save money will remain open for municipal, residential and commercial users under a new lease agreement, mcall.com reports. A five-year lease agreement, which will generate revenue for the county, was approved unanimously by county commissioners. The contract calls for Middle Smithfield Materials Inc., to operate the North Whitehall Township compost site starting July 1. Under the agreement, the county will receive free compost and mulch while residents can purchase it from the site. The agreement also means municipalities and residents have a facility where they can continue to dispose of organic materials. “This is a service that should be offered to the community,” Commissioner Percy Dougherty told the newspaper. “I see here a win-win situation.” Municipalities can pay to use processing equipment, including a grinder, loader and screener, at the site. County officials last year said they planned to close the facility in order to save up to $250,000 a year in operating costs. The lease agreement can be extended for up to 10 more years.
ore than $76 million in grants is being distributed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to communities nationwide for the cleanup of contaminated lands, epa.gov reports. Some 214 grants through the Brownfields Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup Grants programs were awarded to 40 states and three tribes nationwide. The grants are used to assess and clean up abandoned industrial and commercial properties such as deserted gas stations or closed smelters. There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated waste sites in the U.S., according to the EPA “Revitalizing our communities is vital to our health and the health of our local economies,” EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said in announcing the grants in Lansing, Mich. “The grants we’re awarding to communities across America will support projects that will help create thousands of jobs and make our communities cleaner, healthier and more prosperous places to raise a family and start a business. They’re part of our overall effort to clean up communities and put our nation on the path to a sustainable future.” Since the beginning of the Brownfields program, EPA has awarded 1,895 assessment grants totaling $447.6 million, 279 revolving loan fund grants totaling $273.1 million and 752 cleanup grants totaling $140.8 million, the agency reported.
Marin County Embraces Food Scraps
ood scraps to compost programs are under way in Marin County, California, with plans to expand the programs in the near future, according to the marinij.com newspaper. Three trash haulers in Marin — located north of San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge — are hauling food scraps and yard wastes from tens of thousands of residents in cities, towns and the unincorporated areas to composting sites up to 90 miles away. Marin Sanitary Service hauls some 80 to 100 tons of yard and food waste to Zamora six days a week. Mill Valley Refuse Service collected 5,174 tons of compostable waste between Aug. 1 and March 26 and delivers it to the Redwood Landfill in Novato. Novato Disposal brought 15,000 tons of food and yard waste to the Redwood Landfill in 2010 and expects that number to go up this year, the newspaper reports. Both sites sell the finished compost; the Novato Sanitary District plans to eventually give the compost away to residents. 18 Soil & Mulch Producer News May / June 2011
wo fires within two and a half hours erupted at a compost site used by the Rockford, Ill., Department of Public Services, rockfordindependent.com reports. The first fire was small and was extinguished by firefighters within an hour. The fire apparently reignited, with winds pushing flames toward the woods. Firefighters brought the second blaze under control in about two hours. “In my mind, (the fire) was kind of an anomaly,” City Manager Michael Young told the newspaper. The site has been used for about 20 years to dispose of grass, leaves and other small brush material. The cause of the fire was not determined. There was speculation that it may have been started by a spark from the exhaust of engine from a back hoe. “I feel this was more of a fluke occurrence,” Young said. “It’s never happened before in all the time the city’s been doing this. And the amount of (natural) waste we are actually bringing up there now is a lot less than it used to be.”
eterson Pacific Corp recently announced the grand opening of their Eastern Parts Distribution Center (EDC) in Columbia, SC. According to company officials, they stocked the EDC with over $1.5 million in Peterson OEM parts. According to Peterson, the company will now be able to ship rush and emergency spare parts to customers throughout Eastern and Central North America in two days or less using lower cost ground freight services. The EDC is now fully operational, and is managed by Steve Farmer, Parts Manager for Eastern North America. Steve joined Peterson in January with 12 years logging experience as well as 17 years parts management experience with Pioneer Machinery/Blanchard Machinery.
Four Seasons Installs ‘ORCA’ Green Machine
n on-site composter that converts organic waste into harmless grey water that can be put into the sanitary sewer system has been installed by the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, according to a report on marketwatch.com. The ORCA (Organic Refuse Conversion Alternative) Green Machine from Totally Green, Inc., allows the hotel to compost on-site the food waste from its restaurant and cuisine services. Since the liquid “compost tea” end result can be put into the sanitary sewer system, the hotel saves tipping and disposal costs as well as reduces the amount of methane-producing organic material sent to the landfill. “This installation demonstrates another market where the ORCA Green Machine can provide tremendous cost savings and environmental benefits to a large organization, like Four Seasons,” said Rob Phillips, president of Totally Green. “We continue to drive sales with large organizations that are embracing the sustainability mandates necessary for the future of a green planet.” The machine can compost up to 2,400 pounds of organic waste per day. The resulting nutrient-rich liquid from the aerobic compost process can also be placed on soil as nourishment, according to the company. The machine is odor free, silent, provides automatic operation and leaves no leftover sludge, the company says. Totally Green also markets Ingeo green bottle spring water. The water bottles are plant-based PLA bottles which the company says are all natural and can decompose within 30 days in an industrial compost pile.
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Inside This Issue Turning the Industry Green with Compost as Top Dressing PAGE 1 Biomass Regulations Debated in Oregon Legislature PAGE 6 Capping Old Landfills in Ecofriendly Ways PAGE 10 Scandinavian Researchers Find Heavy Agricultural Machinery Can Harm Soil PAGE 16 Animal Waste Turned to Profits for U of Minn Campus PAGE 17
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May/Jun 2011 issue of Soil & Mulch Producer News