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Friday, December 17, 2010

NC Rolling with Organics

Wow ~ North Carolina has 14 food composting permitted facilities in the state!  Well on the road to solving the organics destination challenge, NC is gearing up to build the infrastructure to divert organics from landfills and into the composting facilities.

The Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach of the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (whew, I thought GA had long names!), is hosting a series of webinars designed to inspire and educate the industry stakeholders into action.  On December 14 the Division hosted a well attended Food Diversion webinar with presentations by McGill Environmental Services, Quest Recycling and Elemental Impact/Zero Waste Zones.  Individuals from the Division educating on the state's current status as well as grant opportunities available.  Click here for the agenda and PPT presentations.

Check out the NCDENR Compost website at this link for some solid information, including a section on vermicomposting.

Hmmmm...... is a Zero Waste Zone - North Carolina brewing?!  Stay tuned!


  1. Research into biochar as bulking agent in composting.
    University of Georgia, Nitrogen availability from Char & NH3 loss with composting & char.

    I particularly like the NH3 loss graph, spiking at each turning of the compost.
    I think this 50%+ conservation of nitrogen will allow commercial composting operations to become a main stream NPK Fertilizer product, beyond the humic substances & wee-beasties of the compost with this NPK-C analysis is a blended soilfeed ration for the livestock under your feet.

    An author of the above study, Casey Ritz at U of GA is in his second year of study replicating this Japanese work with char feed rations in poultry;

    The Japanese are now showing that a 5% addition to ruminant and poultry feed rations have profound benefits to the overall carbon foot print and disease resistance for livestock. They battery raise organic poultry with no antibiotics, selling odorless eggs at twice the market price. In ruminants they report 50% reductions of CH4 belching and higher feed conversion rates.
    Contact the Japan Biochar Association ;

    My main interest are the soil food web improvements, increased CEC, water retention and nutrient efficiency of biochar soil carbon sequestration, but of the several higher value uses now being pioneered the feed supplements show great potential. Beyond rectifying the Carbon Cycle, biochar systems serve the same healing function for the Nitrogen & Phosphorous Cycles, and remediation of Toxicity in Soils & Sediments. The production of fossil fuel free ammonia & char (SynGest, ) and the 52% conservation of NH3 in composting with chars, are just the newest pathways for the highest value use of fractionated biomass.

    Biochar systems for Biofuels and soil carbon sequestration are so basically conservative in nature it is a shame that republicans have not seized it as a central environmental policy plank as the conservatives in Australia have with their ; "Carbon sequestration without Taxes".

    Biochar viewed as soil Infrastructure; The old saw;
    "Feed the Soil Not the Plants" becomes;
    "Feed, Cloth and House the Soil, utilities included !".
    Free Carbon Condominiums with carboxyl group fats in the pantry and hydroxyl alcohol in the mini bar.
    Build it and the Wee-Beasties will come.
    Microbes like to sit down when they eat.
    By setting this table we expand husbandry to whole new orders & Kingdoms of life.
    The MYC fungi form an Interstate highway for moisture & nutrients while at the same time form an Internet for plant chemical communication.

    This is what I try to get across to Farmers, as to how I feel about the act of returning carbon to the soil. An act of penitence and thankfulness for the civilization we have created. Farmers are the Soil Sink Bankers, once carbon has a price, they will be laughing all the way to it.
    Unlike CCS which only reduces emissions, biochar systems draw down CO2 every energy cycle, closing a circle back to support the soil food web. The photosynthetic "capture" collectors are up and running, the "storage" sink is in operation just under our feet. Pyrolysis conversion plants are the only infrastructure we need to build out.

    To me, in the long run, the final arbiter / accountancy / measure of sustainability will be
    soil carbon content. Once this royal road is constructed, traffic cops ( Carbon Board ) in place, the truth of land-management and Biochar systems will be self-evident.

    For those looking for an overview of biochar and its benefits, These authors have done a very nice job of distilling a great deal of information about biochar and applying it to the US context:

    US Focused Biochar report: Assessment of Biochar's Benefits for the USA

  2. Dear Holly,
    I forgot to mention the top Biochar research center in NC;

    Jon Nilsonn's product "CharGrow"
    Virginia Tech is in their 5 th year with the Carbon Char Group's "CharGrow" formulated bagged product. An idea whose time has come | Carbon Char Group
    The 2008 trials at Virginia Tech showed a 46% increase in yield of tomato transplants grown with just 2 - 5 cups (2 - 5%) "CharGrow" per cubic foot of growing medium.

  3. Wow ~ thanks for the sharing your wealth of information. The timing is impeccable as the POWER - Perishable Organics Waste to Energy Recycling - Team is researching biochar as a topic for our April meeting. If appropriate, I appreciate you sending your contact information to my business address, Happy 2011! Holly

  4. Will do.
    Also in NC, flowfarm . org has one of the first "Adams Retorts" up and running

    Flow Farm has a demonstrated commitment to social, environmental and health issues. Highlights include Flow's participation in the Campaign to Keep "Organic" Organic, the Making a Profit While Making a Difference Conference, EarthSave International, Sustain, and the National Health Association.