Incredible Minerals Today

California Vineyards Recycle DE Spent Cake from Filtration into Compost

Posted by admin

Nov 8, 2013 4:41:00 PM

“Turning the spent filter cake into compost produced significant results for the
vineyards in achieving regulatory compliance, lowering costs and creating
sustainable value.” Andrew Welford, Director of Commercial Sustainability, EP Minerals

Check these results out: 200 tons of waste diverted from landfill. Significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

200 tons of waste diverted! That's unbelievable. Here's the story.

California is known for its prodigious vineyards. Spent filter cake is a by-product of the wine
filtration process. EP Minerals provides the diatomaceous earth (DE) filter aid that the vineyards use for filtration.

The California Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 requires California
cities and counties to have a process in place ensuring environmentally safe disposal of waste
that could not be diverted. This regulation has led to the vineyards using an expensive and
unsustainable landfill option to ensure compliance while safeguarding their legal positions. The
California Vineyards were looking for a solution to help them adhere to the regulation that was
more affordable and environmentally friendly.

The vineyards' challenges:

  • Environmental regulations
  • Cost of landfill
  • Disposal logistics
  • Recycling operations wary of new waste streams

The benefits to recycling the Spent Cake were that the vineyards could produce a quality compost product, lower costs, achieve regulatory compliance and most importantly, recycle rather than landfill. EP Minerals took on this challenge and visited and audited several local composting operations on behalf of the vineyards. We then chose one and worked with that composting operation to run trials using wine filtration spent cake and shredded yard debris in the composting.

vineyard_compost  Diatomaceous earth (DE) spent cake from wine filtration as compost

The results?

  • Cost reduction of $65/ton on the landfill gate fee
  • Vineyard composting site located within 35 miles of the vineyard
  • Processed accredited compost available from $15 -$35/cubic yard
  • Fully auditable and environmentally compliant
    recycling route achieved

The resulting quality compost has:

  • Higher nitrate content and lower ammonia
    content
  • Waste diverted from landfill: 200 Tons
  • Reduction in GHG Emissions: 205 MTCO2E
  • Bottom line:

Spent Cake is a RESOURCE not a waste

Spent Filter Cake should be incorporated into the whole site waste management strategy and should be viewed as a sustainable value and benefit to the filtration process. Planning for Spent Cake recycling allows the local community to benefit from the products and revenues produced, while being environmentally friendly. For more information on this, click here.