Composter Training Program Continues Success and Plans for Growth
More than 100 people are going forth into the compost world having successfully completed the USCC’s 5-day Compost Operations Training Course (COTC) during 2014.
Courses were held in Davis, CA, Ithaca, NY and Raleigh, NC, with the latter two selling out. Participants came from a range of states and several foreign countries, with the furthest coming from the Philippines. No matter what the location, all the courses shared the same basic structure. However, each used the advantage of local expertise, and locally generated feedstocks for the team pile-building activity that is a traditional part of the COTC.
As an alternative to COTCs (which are geared to the manager level of understanding and require large commitments of time and expense) we began offering a Compost Technician course. It offers a different focus from the COTC, which is geared to a managerial level of understanding. The Technician training focuses on what equipment operators need to understand about basic composting principals, with an emphasis on process improvement and troubleshooting. This one-day course was offered twice in 2014, once at the Inland Empire composting facility in southern CA, and once at the Waymart Correctional Facility in northeast PA.The Technician training focuses on what front-line workers— the people in the loaders –need to know about the process, with an emphasis on process improvement and troubleshooting.
Demand is growing for all types of training so the USCC plans to offer four COTC series in 2015 (see dates in the sidebar). We will also be expanding our educational offerings and will be publishing a new course catalog at COMPOST2015 in Austin. As the compost industry grows, due to new legislation and increasing recognition of composting’s role in reaching zero waste goals and addressing climate change and other environmental issues, a well qualified workforce will be critical. The USCC’s Composter Training Program will help meet that important need.
Summer Webinars: From Compost Collection to Manufacturing
More than 50 people attended USCC webinars this summer focused on two different portions of the compost spectrum: Compost manufacturing and organics diversion/collection.
Dr. Gary Felton, University of Maryland Associate Professor and Extension Agricultural Engineer , brought his expertise on odor management to the table with a webinar entitled: Odor Management: Practical Guide to Managing Odor, specializing in facility operators in July. He has been teaching and organizing Mid-Atlantic Better Composting School at the University since 2004. Listeners in the webinar learned about the conditions that cause odor, ways to prevent smell issues, the variety of monitoring methods avaiallbe, and how to watch out for incoming odor problems by knowing your feedstock.
In September, listeners heard a roundtable discussion of the latest in sports and special events arena diversion of organics, with a trio of speakers: Darby Hoover, NRDC; Scott Jenkins, Green Sports Alliance; Susan Thoman, Cedar Grove Composting. Their theme was “Composting is a Team Sport.”
The three focused their discussion on the study produced earlier this year by the Natural Resources Defense Council, ”Guide to Composting at Sports Venues.”
Webinars are available for download and purchase at the USCC Store.