Compost mixed with diatomaceous earth at California winery
“Turning the spent diatomaceous earth (DE) filter cake into compost produced significant results for the vineyards in achieving regulatory compliance, lowering costs and creating sustainable value.” according to Andrew Welford, Director of Commercial Sustainability at EP Minerals.
Check these results out: 200 tons of waste diverted from landfill. And, a 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 diatomaceous earth 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.
- 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: DE 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.