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Our Community Composts!

Did you know that organic matter (foodscraps, wet paper, etc.) from the trash is converted into compost and green energy at the ReSource Center?

The ReSource Center converts commercial and residential waste into resources by recovering recyclable materials, transforming organics into landscape nutrients, and creating renewable energy in the process. With this new technology, approximately 60% of additional waste from our trash cans is diverted from the landfill bringing our region’s diversion rate above 85% while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

So how does it do this?

The short version: At the Resource Center, organic material (like food waste and wet paper) is pulled out of the trash, mixed with a portion of our greenwaste, and sent to an onsite Anaerobic Digestion Facility or AD. This facility breaks down the material using microbes in an anaerobic environment (without oxygen) which produces 1) methane, which is burned onsite and used to power the facility or fed back into the grid, and 2) digestate, a leftover organic material, which is dried and turned into compost onsite. Around 75,000 tons of organic material will be processed at the AD each year and the resulting compost will then be sold and used in our community! 

For more information about the ReSource Center and all of the facilities located at the Tajiguas Landfill, like the Anaerobic Digester, please visit: https://lessismore.org/resourcecenter


The longer version: At the ReSource Center, organic material like food waste is pulled out of the trash and goes into the Anaerobic Digester or AD. Before the ReSource Center, yard waste and foodscraps thrown into the trash were buried in the landfill creating potent greenhouse gases and taking up valuable landfill space. With the AD, organics are separated from the trash in the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), combined with a portion of our greenwaste material, and then processed at the AD facility into compost. This cutting edge facility redefines waste recovery in Santa Barbara County by capturing gas generated by degrading organics and improving our air quality by converting that gas to renewable energy that powers the facility. Excess energy is sold to the electricity grid to be used by area residents and businesses.

Over 75,000 tons of organic material will be processed at the AD each year. The material is placed into a large bunker where it will go through two 28-day anaerobic digestion cycles. Inside the bunker, the material is sprayed with bacteria-infused liquid called percolate. The bacteria then digests the material which produces two products, methane and digestate. The methane is captured and used to generate electricity that powers the facility. Once the two 28-day periods are over, a conveyor belt takes the digestate to an outside deck large loaders to organize the material and place it into rows for drying. During the drying process the digest state loses 50% of its moisture, the remaining material is sorted to remove items like broken glass rocks or plastic. What's left is compost that can be sold and used in our community.

The AD turns what once was a wasted resource into positive resources for the community including green renewable energy and compost for our homes, ranches, farms, and businesses.

For more information on the resource center and the anaerobic digester visit https://lessismore.org/resourcecenter

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2018
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