State Grant Allows California Winery To Develop Market For Green Waste

Livermore, Calif. - Sometimes it's easier to mandate yard waste recycling than to find markets for the resulting sea of clippings that washes over many communities.

Wente Bros. Winery, Livermore, Calif., and the city of San Jose have embarked upon a program to recycle green waste with a grant from the California Waste Management Board. Under state law, California cities must collect and separate lawn clippings and other vegetation from ordinary waste material. As a result, many cities are accumulating large amounts of green waste without viable outlets or recycling programs for disposal.

"California cities are beginning to drown in a sea of green waste," said Ralph Riva, vice president of agricultural operations for Wente Bros. "Our vineyard managers are constantly looking for cost-efficient, effective organic fertilizers to replace non-organic products."

Wente Bros. hopes the pilot will provide wineries nationwide with organic methods to create soil amendments, Riva said.

One method turns the waste into a soil enhancer by mulching and tilling it directly into the soil to increase soil volume and water retention capacity, which reportedly promotes vine root growth and reduces the amount of water needed to irrigate a vineyard.

In a more complicated process, the green waste is mixed with grape pomace (the mixture of grape skins, stems and seeds left over from pressing) and composted to break the organic matter into a nutrient-rich, organic plant food. Although many wineries currently recycle pomace, this process increases the material's nutrient value, according to Wente Bros.

The two-year program will test the soil enhancer and the fertilizer on 42 acres. The project will recycle 170 tons per acre of green waste.

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Law Companies Group Inc., Atlanta, has acquired Hill Kaplan Scott, Cape Town, South Africa.

INDRESCO, Dallas, has acquired the assets of Shred Pax Corp., Wood Dale, Ill.

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The restoration branch of the Office of Environmental Management of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio, has awarded Kelchner Environmental Inc., Centerville, Ohio, a contract for final remediation of landfills at the base.

Chambers Development Co. Inc., Pittsburgh, has been awarded disposal contracts for landfills closing in South Carolina's Lexington and Lancaster counties.

Landfill Expansion USA Waste Services Inc., Dallas, has received approval to expand its Countryside Landfill near Grayslake, Ill.

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New Facility NViro International Corp., Toledo, Ohio, has broken ground for its facility in Fort Meade, Fla.

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