David Haines

David Haines

Speaker | Clemson Organics Recovery

Clemson, SC | haines@clemson.edu

David Haines is a CU graduate that manages the business and operation aspects of Clemson University’s Organics Recovery Program.

Session Name: Addressing Physical Contamination: Case Studies and A Novel Approach

Session Time: Thursday, January 30, 8:30 to 10:00 AM

Presentation Title: The Potential of Hermitia illucens as a Method to Efficiently Remove Compost Contamination

Presentation Summary: Compost contamination and removal processes continue to be major challenges faced in the compost community. Clemson’s Organics Recovery facility has several types of waste reduction including class 1 and 2 compost systems, and vermicomposting using earthworms and Black Soldier Fly (Hermitia illucens) larvae. Vermicomposting is part of the moving intestine category of biological decomposers, with insects taking up a larger role of decomposing organic material compared to the bacteria and fungi groups prominent in the traditional styles of compost. Rather than using beneficial bacteria and fungi, vermicomposting, specifically using BSFL, uses one species of insect that digests more material types and more efficiently than any other biological decomposer.

BSF are currently one of our highest priority research projects, and we have noted a unique phenomena in our vermicompost bins. When contaminated waste was added, inorganic and otherwise inedible materials were lifted to the surface. The natural behavior and locomotion of the larvae of the Black Soldier Fly may prove to have some efficiency in separating contamination in collected organic wastes while maintaining a quick rate of bioconversion, meaning it may be possible to break down organic wastes and separate contamination in the same system- and in a reasonably short amount of time. We are currently in the process of designing an experiment to test the capability of BSFL to concentrate various common contaminants at the surface of the compost. Our hypothesis is that the larvae’s ability to float a particular material depends on the material’s surface area or density. We plan to focus our tests on plastic and glass material contamination. Our presentation will focus on the findings of this experiment, including a brief introduction to the biological organisms responsible for decomposition.

Co-Author: Sarah Jacobsen, Clemson Organics Recovery, sgjacob@g.clemson.edu