Where does our green waste go? Behind the Scenes of Ventura County Green Recycler

Another lorry drives to Agromin’s head office in Oxnard to unload its load – a load that began its journey being collected in our green waste containers, before being transported here – to one of the largest facilities Ventura County and State Green Recycling Centers.

“People just pull out their wheelbarrow and think, ‘ok, let’s go, I don’t have to worry about it now’, but in reality there’s a lot more to it than that,” said David Green, director of Agromin’s operation.

“There’s a bit of a cooler smell in that part of the yard while we’re processing this material,” Green said, “but as we go through the facility, you’ll see that smell turn into a rich smell. of land,” Green said.

Oxnard is one of 13 Agromin sites and covers 24 acres. The company receives more than one million tons of organic matter each year. Compost and soil products produced from a mixture of yard waste and food scraps would take years to decompose naturally – a process accelerated at this facility.

“Mother Nature would take about a thousand years to create an inch of topsoil,” Green said.

“Here at Agromin, we are challenged to do this process in 45-60 days.”

With water restrictions in place for many Central and South Coast residents, compost could be a tool to reduce the need for frequent watering, Green says.

“We are in the third year of drought and we are being asked to conserve water. One way to do this is to use compost, which retains 20% of its weight in water.

“Compost is a very powerful water retention element in our soil.”

Organic compost is a mixture of yard waste and food scraps that naturally decompose as microorganisms break down the material. Mixing compost into the soil reduces soil density, improves soil biological composition, and introduces beneficial microorganisms. Compost acts like a sponge, increasing the water-holding capacity of soil and allowing water to penetrate deeper into the soil to a plant’s root system.

Organic mulch is usually made from shredded and shredded unprocessed wood. A 1″ to 2″ layer of mulch placed on top of the soil retains water, keeps the soil cool and reduces evaporation. The mulch will eventually break down into the soil, adding nutrients. Mulch also suppresses weeds.

Applying compost and mulch to landscaping can reduce the amount of water needed to maintain grass, plants, flowers, vegetables, shrubs and trees according to agrominea California-based company that produces organic soil products from locally collected green waste.

“Compost and mulch are well known for improving soil health and plant structure,” says Bill Camarillo, CEO of Agromin, “but their water-saving benefits are just as important, especially in case of severe drought.

How much water can you save by using compost and mulch? Compost may contain 20 times its weight in water. A study by soil scientists have found that for every 1% organic matter content, soil can hold 16,500 gallons of water available to plants per acre of soil up to a foot deep

“With water restrictions allowing residents to water only one or two days a week, extending every drop of water is critical,” Camarillo says. “Adding compost and mulch to your landscape can reduce water frequency while keeping landscapes healthy.”

Once the compost is ready and tested, it’s time to pack and ship it.

“It’s a big part of our green jobs. It’s a manual process here at Oxnard. We make about 10,000 bags a day and it takes about 15 people to do it.”

It’s “very satisfying” to see this transformation of our green waste, says Green.

“They were going to landfill and they were contributing to some of our climate change by creating methane. In the process of composting, we don’t create methane, so we reduce those greenhouse gases.”

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