The end of April brought the grand opening dedication of Florida’s first “institutional composting” site at the club course maintenance facility of Broken Sound Club.
Club and resort properties continue to find cutting-edge ways to move to the forefront of the recycling movement. Following the unveiling of the “bokashi” recycling program at Musket Ridge Golf Club in Myersville, Md. (“Let Them Eat [Recycled] Cake,” C&RB, April 2011, pg. 58), the end of April brought the grand opening dedication of Florida’s first “institutional composting” site, an elaborate setup with conveyors connecting several pieces of sophisticated equipment that has been set up at the club course maintenance facility of Broken Sound Club in Boca Raton, Fla.
A ceremony attended by U.S. Representative Allen West (R-Fla.), Boca Raton Mayor Susan Whelchel and over 100 other community leaders and guests officially opened a site where food waste from Broken Sound’s four kitchens will be combined with landscape waste from the club’s two golf courses and converted quickly into compost that can then be reused on those courses.
Broken Sound expects the site to yield significant savings for not only the cost of waste disposal, but also through at least a one-third reduction of the use of fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides, and also reduced water usage. The club also expects the application of the composted materials to improve the health, appearance, and playability of the golf courses.
The Broken Sound compost project, developed for the club by Environmentally Controlled Waste LLC of Boca Raton, with the cooperation of the South Dade Soil and Water Conservation District (an extension of the state of Florida), creates the organic soil amendments from the feedstock of food and landscape waste. The process starts with four bins of storage that have been created at the maintenance facility, to collect raw materials as they arrive from the golf course, along with shredded raw material that is ready for blending with food waste after it has been run through a shear shredder powered by three-phase electricity. Food waste from the kitchens is stored overnight at the source in sealed green trash cans and delivered to the compost area each morning in the cans. After shredding, a conveyor moves the material into the fourth bin.
Each day, material from the fourth bin must then be uniformly mixed, using a specially designed blender, with fresh food waste that is delivered from the four kitchens at Broken Sound. The mixed feedstock is then moved via a screw conveyor into a “digester”—a 48-cubic yard in-vessel composter that is expected to have daily input of approximately 7 cubic yards of landscape waste and 3 cubic yards of food waste. The digester is sloped down from the input end to the discharge end, and rotates very slowly at a scheduled time each day.
During a five-day composting cycle, the volume of material is reduced so that 10 cubic yards of input becomes 7 to 9 cubic yards of compost.
The finished material is hot (approximately 150 to 160 degrees F.) and must then be allowed to cool down during a “curing” process,” which takes about three weeks, before it can be spread on the golf courses. An out-feed conveyor deposits the compost from the digester into a dump truck that moves it to one of two curing areas now set up in club’s maintenance areas. After five days, finished material is fed into a trough that connects with doors at the end of the digester. A rotating screening device separates the compost into a particle size of less than a ¼ inch, for spreading on the golf courses and rejects particles larger than ¼ inch. But the rejects are not wasted—instead, they are combined with the next day’s input to the system. A major benefit of using the rejects in this way is the “kick start” that they provide to the compost process with mature, efficient, well-developed aerobic bacteria.
Finished compost fresh out of the digester is carefully placed in windrows over perforated plastic pipe, through which forced air is blown into the piles, to speed the curing time and obviate any odors that would be caused by anaerobic bacteria. To further control odor and speed curing, the piles are covered by specially designed tarps that are anchored with special weights to also help avoid odors and ensure protection during Florida’s often windy conditions.
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