TURNING PUSH INTO PULL: USING PROCESS CONTROLLED VERMICULTURE TO PRODUCE HIGH VALUE END-PRODUCT
Abstract:Technologies for the recycling and reuse of biosolids are of great interest to members of the biosolids community. The aim of waste producers and technology users is to create an end-product from treatment that is high quality and offers benefits to the end-use or reuse market.
The goal of a truly sustainable business model is to develop end-use markets that can capture the value of the product and return it to the waste producer through premium pricing consistent with commercial agronomic products.
Vermitech is an Australian company that has utilized process-controlled Vermicomposting to produce and sell a high quality, high value end-product from biosolids and manures.
In six years of operation, Vermitech has processed more than 120,000 tons of material, including 60,000 tons of biosolids. The end-product, called BioVerm, is batch tested and meets the New South Wales State EPA Grade A (similar to USEPA Class A). The material is sold for high value to agriculture as well as for commercial land use such as sod production, pasture, golf courses and sports fields.
Through its experience, Vermitech has recognized that establishing a successful and sustainable total solution relies on certain elements:
The end-product must not only be pathogen stabilized, but it must also be of consistent quality, comply with regulatory requirements and be genuinely beneficial for soils. This necessitates a wellmanaged, quality controlled system and a focus on production of end-product to specification rather than simply the treatment of waste.
The end-products are attractive and offer significant benefits and value to agricultural users. However, in order to reflect this value in the selling price for the product, the marketing effort must be structured and targeted to clearly demonstrate this value to farmers and other end-users.
The technology must be effective in terms of the process reliability and quality.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: January 1, 2004
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