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How Composting Organics in California Reduces Greenhouse Gases. March 19, 2007 Roger Vander Wende. Text. Greenhouse Gases and Composting. Some Key Elements. Top Greenhouse Gases. GHG Reduced by Composting. Carbon Dioxide CO2 Carbon Storage Increased Crop Yields Methane CH4

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How composting organics in california reduces greenhouse gases

How Composting Organics in California Reduces Greenhouse Gases

March 19, 2007

Roger Vander Wende

How composting organics in california reduces greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases and composting

Greenhouse Gases and Composting Gases

Some Key Elements

Ghg reduced by composting
GHG Reduced by Composting Gases

  • Carbon Dioxide CO2

    • Carbon Storage

    • Increased Crop Yields

  • Methane CH4

    • Removes Organics from Landfills

  • Nitrous Oxide N2O

    • Reduces Fertilizer Use

Carbon storage carbon sequestration

Natural Storage Gases

Coal, Oil & Gas Deposits

Soils & Organic Matter

Forest & Plants

Proposed Methods

Drilling Under the Oceans

Mine Reuse



Carbon Storage(Carbon Sequestration)

Carbon storage compost method
Carbon Storage Gases(Compost Method)

  • We Compost Plant Material Containing Carbon

  • Accelerate the Natural Process of Decomposition

  • Apply the Finished Compost (Containing Carbon)

  • Soil Stores the Carbon for Many Years

  • Increases Plant Growth & CO2 Intake

Why store with compost

Why Store With Compost? Gases

Proven Technology

Compatible with Recycling Goals

Compatible with Highest and Best Use Goals

Multiple Agricultural Benefits

Increase GHG Benefits through Additional Plant Growth

No Leakage Concerns or Monitoring of Gas Reservoirs

Quantifying ghg reduction through composting
Quantifying GHG Reduction Through Composting Gases

  • 0.05 MTCE/Wet Ton of Organics (USEPA)

  • Underestimates Intake of Carbon by Increased Plant Growth

  • Excludes Reduced Pesticide Use

  • May Underestimate Fertilizer Reduction

Net ghg emissions from composting in mtce per ton of yard trimmings composted
Net GHG Emissions from Composting Gases(in MTCE Per Ton of Yard Trimmings Composted)*

Emission / Storage Factor -.05


Our organic management activities
Our Organic Management Activities Gases

Supply Chain

  • Collect separated & commingled Organics

  • Remove Organics from Mixed Waste

    Compost Site

  • Preprocess to Remove Contaminants

  • “Overs” to our Biomass Facilities


  • Use Compost on all Crops

Market problem we disagree

Market Problem? GasesWE DISAGREE

The State’s two largest Compost Facilities can’t meet market demand due to insufficient supply.

Our compost recipe 30 1 carbon nitrogen ratio

Our Compost Recipe Gases30:1 Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio

Grass 18-19 Parts Carbon to 1 Part Nitrogen

Food 10-15 Parts Carbon to 1 part Nitrogen

Leaves 66-67 Parts Carbon to 1 part Nitrogen

Wood 100-200 Parts Carbon to 1 part Nitrogen

*Moisture Goal <60%

Net ghg impact of our composted materials
Net GHG Impact of Our Composted Materials Gases *

  • 2006

    • 25,593 tons of GHG Reduction

  • At Full Capacity, we would Reduce GHG by 69,879 tons/year*

  • * New Compost Application Only

How composting organics in california reduces greenhouse gases

OUR Gases


How composting organics in california reduces greenhouse gases

/ Wheat Gases

Corn crops with without compost

Our Field Gases

Compost 20 tons /acre

170 units of nitrogen/acre

Yield 35 tons/acre

Neighboring Field

No Compost

240 units of nitrogen/acre

Yield 21 tons/acre

Corn Crops With & Without Compost

Our organic hay
Our Organic Hay Gases

  • 560 Acres CCOF Certified Alfalfa Hay

  • 20 Tons Per Acre Applied Twice a Year

  • No Pesticides

  • No Commercial Fertilizer

Soil rejuvenation using compost wheat field

Heavy Clay Soil Gases

High Alkali, Salts

Elevated pH

Poor Seed Germination

Little or No Growth

20 tons/acre of Compost applied twice a year

Opened Soil to Allow Leaching

Good Results in 3 Years

Full Seed Germination

Wheat & Milo Crops

No Fertilizer Last Year for Milo

Soil Rejuvenation Using CompostWheat Field

Additional compost benefits
Additional Compost Benefits Gases

  • Decreased Pesticide Use

  • Microbial Diversity

  • Decreased Water Use

  • Improved Soil Structure

  • Substitute for Open Field Burning

  • Prevents Erosion

Crop rotation also reduces fertilizer use
Crop Rotation GasesAlso Reduces Fertilizer Use

  • Alfalfa 4-5 Years

    • Until Sufficient Nitrogen is Fixed in Soil

  • Winter Wheat 1 year November-May

  • Spring Corn 1 year May - October

  • Back to Alfalfa

How composting organics in california reduces greenhouse gases

Spreading Gases

What s holding back green waste compost expansion
What’s Holding Back Green Waste Compost Expansion? Gases

  • Insufficient Supply of Organic Materials

  • Compost DemandExceeds Supply

Los angeles area greenwaste pricing

Composting Gases

Community Recycling

LA Area Pricing

$32.88 - $38.05 / ton


LA County Landfills & Transfer Station

$12.10 - $14.05 / ton

Los Angeles AreaGreenwaste Pricing

What if greenwaste adc was used for compost statewide
What if Greenwaste ADC Was Used For Compost GasesStatewide?

  • 1,762,873 tons/year of Finished Compost

  • 150,390 TPY of GHG Emissions Reductions*

  • * Does not include the GHG benefits from increased plant growth

Recommendations Gases

Steps To Increased Composting in California

  • Remove Barriers to Greenwaste Supply

    • ADC Diversion Credits

    • Tighter ADC Regulations

  • State Study to Better Document Compost Benefits (lack of consensus to date)

  • Coordinated Advocacy to Include Composting in California Climate Initiatives for all applicable State Agency Recommendations