CM: PCR Credit-Producing High Quality Products from Recovered Organic Materials

PCR Credit: Producing High Quality Products from Recovered Organic Materials

(1-3 Points, Reciprocal)

Credit Summary

This credit aims to promote high quality organic end products from organic processing infrastructure. This could occur through producing Seal of Testing Assurance Program (STA) Certified Compost or meeting specific regulations on digestate and biogas output. This high quality compost can be sold to industry players who are looking for compost that is agriculturally beneficial and meets the high standards of the U.S. Composting Council, thus improving trust and business with clients. Similarly, digestate that is tested and managed frequently is appealing to buyers who want to use it as an amendment to soil or as a digestate-derived product. Local governments and industries have successfully sold their recovered organic materials by meeting the requirements of this credit.

Impact Summary

STA Certified Compost provides buyers with an ingredients list, test results, and suggested directions for using, ensuring high quality product and customer trust. Additionally, the compost and digestate needs to be tested and managed constantly to make sure methane outputs are kept to a minimum, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions in the long-term.Compost itself is very beneficial for the agricultural industry as it prevents erosion and supports plant growth. This allows buyers of compost to save money in the long-term because the plants and soil require less water and fertilizers.EPA

Submittal Summary

For composting, industries and municipalitie need to produce STA Certified Compost for 80 percent of compost produced or produce STA Certified Compost for 95 percent of compost produced and ensure that the facility is operated by a Certified Compost Professional from the USCC or equivalent. For anaerobic digestion, firstly industries and municipalitie need to test and manage digestate according to the American Biogas Council’s Digestate Certification Program. After, they can either produce biogas with a minimum average 65 percent CH4 content or meet state set average of CH4 content (whichever is higher), or produce biogas with a minimum average 75 percent CH4 content or exceed state set average of CH4 content by 20% (whichever is higher). 

Case Study and Benefits

Studies consistently show that municipalities and industries that produce high quality compost and better manage their digestate improve relations with buyers of organic materials and contribute to waste diversion goals. The Solid Waste Management Facility located in Skowhegan, Maine produces high quality compost that residents can obtain for free. Other industries within the area also have access to this compost, especially for agricultural needs. The Somerset County highway department utilizes the free compost for landscaping and is thus able to reduce taxes from the public that normally go towards landscaping demands.

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Additional resources

Intent and Requirements 

Intent

Promote high quality organic end products from organic processing infrastructure.

Local Government & Industry Requirements

Composting and/or Anaerobic Digestion
Req. Test and manage digestate according to the American Biogas Council’s Digestate Certification Program: http://digestate.org/about-the-program/summary-of-the-program/
Tier 1:

(1 point)

Produce STA Certified Compost for 80 percent of compost produced. https://compostingcouncil.org/seal-of-testing-assurance/  Produce biogas with a minimum average 65 percent CH4 content or meet state set average of CH4 content (Whichever is higher).

Tier 2:

(+2 points)

Produce STA Certified Compost for 95 percent of compost produced.

Facility is operated by a Certified Compost Professional™ from the USCC or equivalent

(https://www.certificationsuscc.org/Get-Certified/More-Training-and-Help

Produce biogas with a minimum average 75 percent CH4 content or exceed state set average of CH4 content by 20 percent (Whichever is higher).

Process biogas output to extract non-combustible and contaminant gases.

Potential Strategies:

  • Pre and post-composting screening for organic inputs and compost and anaerobic digestion outputs
  • Undergoes regular testing (heavy metals, other contaminants, and agronomic parameters) per US Composting Council guidelines.
  • Provides or publishes information to the public for proper use of compost or digestate products generated by their facilities.

How to Meet the Requirements

Required Documents

The Big Picture 

Why We Care

Both local governments and industries can produce STA Certified Compost and/or produce biogas with a specific methane content to yield tangible benefits. Firstly, STA Certified Compost provides buyers with an ingredients list, test results, and suggested directions for using, allowing them to determine whether the compost is in line with their needs. Consumers are more likely to depend on compost producers when they are satisfied that the product they are receiving is of the utmost quality, so STA Certified Compost can increase trust. Also, the standards to which this credit subscribes ensure worker and environmental safety. This is because the compost and digestate needs to be tested and managed constantly to make sure methane outputs are kept to a minimum, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions in the long-term.

Compost itself is very beneficial for the agricultural industry as it is very versatile: it can be used as topdressing, a soil amendment, or in a topsoil mix. It prevents erosion by intercepting storm water from soaking through soil or covering it completely, and it helps soil absorb water by acting as a barrier to catch water. Compost is also filled with nutrients that are crucial for plant growth. All of these attributes allow buyers of compost to save money in the long-term because they do not need to water their plants as much or apply as many fertilizers to the soil.EPA

Case Studies

Skowhegan, Maine

The Solid Waste Management Facility located in Skowhegan, Maine produces high quality compost that residents can obtain for free. Other industries within the area also have access to this compost, especially for agricultural needs. The Somerset County highway department utilizes the free compost for landscaping and is thus able to reduce taxes from the public that normally go towards landscaping demands.

Tompkins County, New York

The Municipality of Tompkins County works with a private company called Cayuga Compost to incentivize the public to divert food waste and to provide businesses with compost for landscaping needs. Cayuga Compost has found that their production of high quality compost has significantly helped the county reach its waste diversion goals.

Definitions

American Biogas Council’s Digestate Certification Program

Link to program here

Agronomic 

Dictionary Definition: the science of cultivation of land, soil management, and crop production.

Anaerobic Digestion 

EPA Definition: Anaerobic digestion is a process through which bacteria break down organic matter—such as manure—without oxygen. As the bacteria “work,” they generate biogas. The biogas that is generated is made mostly of methane, the primary component of natural gas.

SWANA Definition: Degradation of organic wastes in the absence of oxygen by microorganisms and bacteria, releasing methane that can be collected and used as a fuel and producing relatively inert solid materials that can be processed for use as a soil amendment. An example of Anaerobic Digestion is the waste degradation that occurs in a landfill.

Certified Compost Professional from the USCC

USCC Definition: The Certified Compost Operations Manager™, or CCOM™, and Certified Composting Professional™ (CCP™) are the first two in a series of compost-manufacturing industry certifications designed to recognize the accomplishments and competencies of composting professionals.

CH4 

EPA Definition: Methane (CH4) is a hydrocarbon that is a primary component of natural gas. Methane is also a greenhouse gas (GHG), so its presence in the atmosphere affects the earth’s temperature and climate system. Methane is emitted from a variety of anthropogenic (human-influenced) and natural sources. Anthropogenic emission sources include landfills, oil and natural gas systems, agricultural activities, coal mining, stationary and mobile combustion, wastewater treatment, and certain industrial processes.

STA Certified Compost

Composting Council Definition: The program – created in 2000 – is the consensus of many of the leading compost research scientists in the United States. The US Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance Program ‘STA’ is a compost testing, labeling and information disclosure program designed to give you the information you need to get the maximum benefit from compost. Currently this is the only compost testing program available that gives you this type of information.

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