Recycling Farm Waste
Worldwide population growth with its increased need for food is forcing further intensification of agricultural systems, thereby causing increased production of solid wastes and wastewater. The Waste-to-Resources Unit at Newe Ya‘ar focuses much of its research efforts toward sustainable management of food-production and animal wastes. Without appropriate treatment, these wastes pollute the environment with excess organic carbon, nutrients, poisonous organic compounds, objectionable odors, and greenhouse gases. Our primary goal is to maximize the recovery of valuable resources from agricultural wastes and minimize their carbon footprints. Our plan is based on learning to maximize the efficiency of, and exemplify and implement various methods and technologies. At the Model Farm, we aim to apply these methods and technologies as an integrated system to the beef-cattle feedlot. Other farm and household wastes, including pruned branches, straw, and discarded parts of fruits and vegetables will be part of the system. The methods and technologies will include composting, anaerobic digestion, and thermo-chemical treatments (catalytic, pyrolytic and hydrothermal), applied to allow maximal recycling and minimize the need for external inputs, including fertilizer, water, and energy. Beyond that, on-the-spot treatment will reduce the need for waste removal and treatment at a distant facility. This approach is based on the principle of a circular economy, the future of which is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the pollution of air, water, and soil.