Integrated Composting of Organic Wastes at the University of Illinois Leslie Cooperband, Department of Human and Community Development Michael Biehl, College of Veterinary Medicine
Acknowlegements • Students hired to conduct feasibility study—Candice Turnlund (former An. Sci student and now 1st year vet student) & Claudia Lardizabal, former MS student NRES • Todd Rusk, Waste Management Resource Center • Mike Katterhenry-Animal Science • Carol Ann Nelson, Allen Hall Dining Services
Rationale • The University of Illinois generates large quantities of organic wastes. • ACES, Vet Med, Campus Grounds, Dormitory cafeterias • Dairy Research facility alone generates ~30,000 cy of manure per year • College of Veterinary Medicine’s Research and Teaching facilities generate ~2800 cy per year soiled bedding
Rationale cont’d Campus grounds collects >10,000 cy yards leaves per year & 520 cy tree trimmings and brush clippings Allen Hall Dining Services generate ~ 40 lbs/week per student of food waste. 11,000 students eat at Allen Hall/week; translates to over 6,000 lbs/wk of food waste. Most is put down kitchen disposal or out in the dumpster.
The Opportunity: Why Compost? • Great potential to blend organic wastes and compost them collectively, thereby producing a beneficial product • Compost could be sold to local community and/or used to beautify campus grounds • Could result in potential cost savings to campus departments and units who have rising costs for handling high moisture or high volume materials that are generated 365 days per year • Provides means for UIUC to reduce it’s environmental footprint by recycling • Could provide educational opportunities for students interested in composting or compost use
Project Objectives To evaluate suitability of proposed composting facility locations that would compost residuals To conduct feedstock composting inventory analysis, determine appropriate composting recipes and select appropriate composting technologies To conduct market analysis for the region (assessing current and potential markets for the finished products) To provide estimates for costs and labor for constructing and managing the facility To determine Illinois regulatory requirements for permitting the facility To establish pilot-scale composting demonstration using as many feedstocks as are available from campus sources
Feedstock Inventory • Amounts (volume) generated monthly from Animal Sciences research facilities, College of Vet Med Teaching Hospital, Campus Grounds, Allen Hall Dining Services • Moisture content • Carbon content • Nitrogen Content • Total organic matter content • Carbon to Nitrogen (C:N) ratio • Bulk Density (weight per unit volume)
Food Waste Audit Findings: Allen Hall • Collected all cafeteria waste generated over 3-day period. • Single student produces an average of 1280 lbs of food waste per academic year (32 weeks). • The characteristics of food waste consist of ~24% pre consumer food waste (mostly fruit and vegetable peels), 20% overproduction in kitchen and 56% unconsumed food in tray. • Insignificant amount of non-food contamination. • Paper waste produced: approx. 9,900 lbs of napkins in an academic year.
Characteristics of organic wastes Animal Sciences materials’ moisture contents range from ~50% to > 80% & C:N ratios from 6:1 (non-bedded poultry manure) to ~40:1 (calf hutch bedding). In contrast, the materials generated from Vet Med and Campus Grounds are drier and much lower in nutrients (25-50% moisture content and C:N ratios 50:1 to 170:1).
Interpretation of recipes • Total volume of wet livestock wastes and food wastes generated on weekly basis relative to drier wastes generated from CVM and Facilities & Services is almost 1:1.5 by volume • The typical rule of thumb for composting wet materials with dry materials is 2-3 parts dry materials to one part wet materials. • This suggests that the University should consider acquiring leaves or other dry, high carbon feedstock from outside sources to provide proper balance of feedstocks for composting.
Composting Site selection criteria • Key factors under consideration included: • Proximity to feedstocks (many have high moisture and minimizing transportation would greatly reduce handling costs) • Site suitability—soil type, topography, slope drainage, proximity to a surface water body • Proximity to neighbors (don’t want to adversely affect neighbors in terms of odors, dust, road traffic and equipment noise) • Road accessibility (need roads that can handle trucks carrying wet manure)
Characteristics of site identified • Located NW of current Dairy Research Facility and south of CVM Campus complex • Benefits of proposed site: • Stays relatively dry throughout the year. • Large enough to handle volume of organic wastes generated on campus (approximately 10 acres). • Very close to major feedstocks from the Dairy Research Facility, the CVM and Facilities and Services. • Good road access. • Not too close to Urbana neighborhoods who might object to potential odors, dust or noise. • Issues that need to be resolved • Storm water drainage from parking lots at CVM needs to be altered so that water does not flow to the site. • Soils need be to be graded to eliminate water ponding, clay may need to be added to make an impermeable surface (pad) for composting. • Transporting other feedstocks like beef and sheep manures from research facilities that are 3-4 miles away will need to be evaluated from a cost perspective.
Regulatory Issues • According to IEPA, University can compost livestock wastes, food wastes, and landscape wastes within one facility, accept off-site materials, and distribute end-product for sale to public. • However, similar to composting facility at Illinois State University, will require local siting approval and an operating permit from IEPA. • It will be regulated as a pollution control facility rather than a landscape composting facility. • The issue of 'local siting approval' is questionable as University may have sovereignty for any location on University property. • The estimated timeline to proceed through local siting, permit application preparation and submittal is 12 months minimum.
Potential local markets for compost products • Golf Courses: seek fine textured and high nutrient compost for topdressing greens and use as alternative to fertilizers. Require a stable product free of weeds. • Garden Centers: • majority buy local bulk “composted” manure and sell retail to individual consumers. • Prices range from $1.99 to $3.00 per cubic foot (40 lb bag). • Presently they sell between 500-1500 cubic yards per year. • Ideally, they would like to offer clients a stable and consistent product free of weeds, high organic matter. • consistency in appearance, smell and content and low in salt levels. • In general, they are willing to consider purchasing local high quality compost at an average price of no more than $20 per cubic yard. • Landscape Contractors, Parks and University Grounds: Are looking to purchase variable particle size compost: Coarse (for mulch), fine and mixed. Use compost for installation of new turf for lawns, flower beds or tree plantings. Desire high quality, stable, high nutrient and organic matter, free of weed seeds. • Organic Fruit and Vegetable Farmers: need consistent quality, high nutrient compost that meets USDA National Organic Program and need weed-free compost.
Financial Estimates • The success of the compost program is dependent on a commitment from by ACES, CVM, and F&S (and Allen Hall) for delivery of material to the composting facility. • Startup costs are approximately $500,000 and will be shared by University and the primary users (ACES, CVM and F&S). • Yearly operational costs are approximately $80,290 • Tipping fee of $1.67-$2.64/cubic yard feedstock could be charged to feedstock generators • Finished compost will not be available sale for most of the first year of operation • Potential annual revenue at $15 cu yd price is approximately $182-287K • Once the compost operation becomes self-supporting, the tipping fee will be reduced or waived. The reduction is based on volume of saleable product.
Pilot Scale Composting Project • Objective: Evaluate 2 composting technologies and 3 compost recipes for: • Ease of pile establishment and management • Ability to achieve proper compost temperatures and moisture contents • Duration of composting • Quality of finished product
Pilot scale composting trial • Piles constructed on 12/7/07 • 6 compost piles built. 3 recipes, 2 piles for each composting technology –static aerated composting and windrow turned composting. • Front end loader with 1.5 yd3 bucket loaded ingredients into manure spreader to mix and discharge ingredients. 2 batches into manure spreader made 1 pile. Skid steer used for further mixing and pile building.
Initial findings Piles took several days to heat up Did not achieve thermophilic temperatures (>113 degrees F) but not surprising given weather Piles with food waste were disturbed by animals Analysis of initial mixes showed lower C:N ratios than predicted by recipe maker program
Status of campus wide composting facility • College of Vet Med compost piles on Windsor Rd were cited as potentially environmental hazard and removed from the site; currently landfilling their wastes • ACES (Animal Sciences) hired an engineering firm to develop a plan for composting at the proposed site near Dairy Research Facility • Hope to have report from consultant in early March