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Rebecca J. Long, Rebecca N. Brown and José A. Amador

Haaren, R. Goldstein, N. Kaufman, S.M. Themelis, N.J. 2008 16th nationwide survey of MSW management in the U.S.: The state of garbage in America Biocycle 29 22 28 Bernal, M.P. Navarro, A.F. Sánchez-Monedero, M.A. Roig, A. Cegarra, J. 1998 Influence of

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M.S. Flanagan, R.E. Schmidt and R.B. Reneau Jr.

The “heavy fraction” portion of a municipal solid waste separation process was evaluated in field experiments as a soil amendment for producing turfgrass sod. Soil organic matter and concentrations of extractable NO3-N, P, K, Ca, and Zn in the soil increased with addition of heavy fraction. Soil incorporation of heavy fraction resulted in greater air, water, and total porosity and lower bulk density of a loamy sandy soil. .Sod strength measurements taken 8.5 and 9.5 months after seeding were higher for Kentucky bluegrass (Poaprutensis L.) grown in heavy-fraction-amended topsoil than for turf grown in topsoil only. The use of this by-product may reduce the time required to produce a marketable sod. Soil incorporation of heavy fraction did not influence post-transplant rooting of Kentucky bluegrass sod but enhanced rooting of bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] sod at the highest rate evaluated. Results of these studies suggest that the use of heavy fraction for sod production may provide cultural benefits in addition to reducing the volume of solid waste deposited in landfills.

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Monica Ozores-Hampton

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Mike Litvany and Monica Ozores-Hampton

Commercial citrus (Citrus sp.) groves in Florida use an average of 150 lb/acre (168 kg·ha-1) of elemental nitrogen (N) per year. There are about 853,000 acres (345,000 ha) of commercial citrus requiring about 63,975 tons (62,652 t) of N. At an average analysis of 12% N, about 533,125 tons (483,811 t) of blended nitrogenous fertilizers are applied to citrus annually. To meet this annual N demand from compost, it would be necessary to produce 3,198,750 tons (2,901,906 t) of 2% N compost. The market for high-quality compost products in Florida is far greater than the current or projected production capacity of the state. As long as the cost benefits of compost are clear to citrus growers, demand will always exceed supply. Not all composts are equal in their nutrient availability. The best composts for use as fertilizers are derived from sewage sludge or biosolids, municipal solid waste and sludge, food waste, and/or animal manure combined with a bulking agent such as sawdust or wood chips. Composts made from wood waste as their only feedstock contain large amounts of lignin and cellulose to break down within a reasonable period to directly offset chemical fertilizers. Ultimately, they will mineralize in the soil and provide all of the benefits described earlier, but their rates of availability are in years rather than months, like the other composts.

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Monica Ozores-Hampton, Thomas A. Obreza and George Hochmuth

Large volumes of compost produced from waste materials like yard trimmings, household trash (municipal solid waste), or biosolids (wastewater sludge) will likely become available for use by the Florida vegetable industry in the future. Using compost to produce vegetables has the potential to increase water and fertilizer conservation and reduce leaching from inorganic fertilizers in Florida's sandy soils. Compost quality for vegetable production systems should be based on soluble salts, phytotoxic compounds, C:N ratio, plant nutrients, trace metals, weed seeds, odor, moisture, pH, water-holding capacity, bulk density, cation exchange capacity, and particle size. In Florida, immature compost contained phytotoxic compounds that were harmful to crop germination and growth. Amending soil with mature composted waste materials has been reported to increase the growth and yields of vegetable crops grown in Florida. However, a beneficial response does not always occur, and the magnitude of the response is often not predictable.

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Joan Bradshaw and Monica Ozores-Hampton

In 1988, the Florida Legislature passed the Solid Waste Management Act that affected the solid waste disposal practices of every county in the state. With legislation directly affecting the industry, organic recyclers and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) regulators recognized a need to establish a professional organization that could serve as a unified industry voice, and foster high standards and ethics in the business of recycling and reuse of organic materials. In December 1994, a meeting was held to discuss the formulation of a Florida organic recycling association which became known as the Florida Organics Recyclers Association (FORA). FORA's first major contribution to the industry was the development of a recycling best management practice manual for yard trash in 1996. The second major project undertaken by FORA was a food waste diversion project which sought to promote an increase in food waste recovery and reuse. In Spring 1999, FORA became the organic division of Recycling Florida Today (RFT) further unifying recycling efforts within the State of Florida. In an attempt to address mounting concerns regarding industry marketing and promotional needs, RFT/FORA developed an organic recycling facility directory for the State of Florida in Spring 2000. Most recently RFT/FORA developed an organic recycling facility operator training course outline to assist the FDEP in identifying industry training needs. From its modest beginnings in 1994, to future joint programming efforts with the University of Florida's Florida Organic Recycling Center for Excellence (FORCE), RFT/FORA continues to emerge as a viable conduit of educational information for public and private agencies relative to organic recycling in Florida.

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Van M. Bobbitt

“Yard wastes comprise 25% of the average person's garbage,” according to the King County (Washington) Solid Waste Division. In an effort to reduce the strain on landfills, municipalities are encouraging their citizens to compost yard wastes. Several communities in Washington State have organized Master Composter programs. Patterned after the successful Master Gardener program, volunteers receive intensive training in comporting. In return, they deliver this information to the public through lectures, demonstrations, brochures, and composing demonstration gardens.

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Allen V. Barker

Major compostable materials in municipal solid wastes (MSW) are sewage sludge, paper, garbage, and autumn leaves. Five composts made from these wastes separately or in mixtures and one compost made from agricultural wastes (chicken manure and cranberry pomace) were evaluated for production of grass sods. Perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L. 'Pennfine') was seeded in 3.5-cm-deep layers of compost in plastic trays and grown in a greenhouse. Seed germination was inhibited in immature sludge-based and mixed MSW composts relative to germination in the other composts. High ammonium levels in the immature sludge-based and mixed MSW composts appeared to limit germination, as these composts had ammonium-N levels ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 mg/kg. Ammonium-N in the agricultural compost was 200 mg/kg, whereas that in the leaf-based composts was 10 mg/kg. In general, germination in all media was sufficient to establish a stand. Thereafter, growth of sods in the sewage-based, mixed MSW, and agricultural composts benefitted from the rich supply of N and exceeded that in the leaf-based composts. Mixing of composts with soil gave no advantage other than slightly increased seed germination but diluted total N supply and increased weediness of the sods.

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Bert T. Swanson and James B. Calkins

Five composted Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) (garbage) products and a composted manure were evaluated as container growing media components on eight woody and herbaceous plants. Plant growth response to the different composts and to the quality of compost used was species-specific. Media UM Manure 100 provided the greatest increase in plant height across all species during the first year. However, only one species, V. lentaga, actually ranked number one in UM Manure 100. J.h. `Blue Chip' and A. tuberosa both grew the tallest in Control I. The remaining five species grew tallest in five different media. Therefore, several amended media can provide increased plant height for specific species; however, the top three media for plant height across all species were: #1 UM Manure 100, #2 Prairieland 50, and #3 Pennington 50. Plant height was the lowest in Recomp 100 media. Pennington 50 provided the greatest increase in plant volume. Media producing the highest plant dry weights across all species were: #1 Prairieland 50, #2 Pennington 50 and #3 UM Manure 50. Plants grown in Recomp 100 had the lowest plant dry weight. Media physical properties such as media drainage and aeration were affected by amendment quality and quantity.

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Calvin Chong

The first weed disc (Weed Guard) was introduced to Ontario in the early 1980s. They were made of semirigid plastic similar to 45-rpm records. Small holes allow water to penetrate but weeds germinating on the substrate often grow through them. In the 1990s, we obtained 85% reduction of container weeds using discs made from geotextile fabric (Mori Guard) or foam (similar to polyfoam used for container winter protection). The foam disc tended to curl upward at the edges, become easily windblown, and tended to partially expose the surface of the container mix. During the past 15 years, we have annually reused the same fabric discs (now unavailable due to high unit cost), and have tested various other weed discs, including several new-generation types and also the Mori Weed Bag. The new-generation discs are fabricated from materials such as fabric (Tex-R Geodisc), pressed peat moss (Biodisc), corrugated cardboard (Corrudisc), and plastic (Enviro LID). Both Tex-R Geodisc and Enviro LID were as effective or better in controlling weeds than weekly hand-weeding, herbicides, or the Mori Guard fabric disc. The Mori Weed Bag, a patented black polyethylene sleeve with prepunched holes fitted around the container like a florist's plant prepared for market, is used effectively and almost exclusively by one Ontario nursery. We also tested two types of insulated blanket covers, which when placed around the ball of above-ground container-grown trees, prevented weed growth during the summer and also protected the root ball against cold during the winter. We introduced the garbage bag sleeve, the ultimate no-weed method for pot-in-pot tree culture, which also reduces water use and frequency of irrigation. Due to factors such as under-performance, insufficient demand, and/or high costs, only certain discs are currently manufactured: Weed Guard, Tex-R Geodisc, Biodisc, and Enviro LID. The Mori Weed Bag is available but not the insulated blankets.