Systems Approach to Recovery and Reuse of Organic Material Flows in Santa Barbara County to Extract Maximum Value and Eliminate Waste

EPA Grant Number: SU831823
Title: Systems Approach to Recovery and Reuse of Organic Material Flows in Santa Barbara County to Extract Maximum Value and Eliminate Waste
Investigators: Hansen, Gary , Allen, David T. , Samsom, Karel , Wilkinson, Robert
Current Investigators: Hansen, Gary , Snavely, Mary Jo , Walsh, Albert , Szebert, Alicia , Seto, Betty , Naughton, Brian , Allen, David T. , Fujikawa, Jesse , Samsom, Karel , Ryan, Lee , Massoud, Michael , Wilkinson, Robert , Thompson, Ryan
Institution: University of California - Santa Barbara
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2004 through May 30, 2005
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Chemical Safety , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainable and Healthy Communities


Current practices for managing organic waste streams often call for landfill and/or use as low quality animal feed or compost. These represent inferior solutions to waste management, due to the fact that the waste is not treated with a systems approach and the potential value of the waste as a resource input for another product is not captured. In communities that are largely dependent on agricultural productivity, such as Santa Barbara County, sustainable value-oriented solutions to organic waste management are needed. Additionally, some of the current practices in this industry, including the application of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, present human health hazards, damage the environment and jeopardize the future of the local economy.


The goal of this research is to calculate the net social, environmental, and economic benefits of a systems approach to organic waste and resource management in Santa Barbara County. Phase I will focus on the intermediation and reuse of a local organic waste stream, namely spent brewery grain, to produce new high-value products including shiitake and oyster mushrooms, worms and nutrient rich compost. This will be achieved through a series of experiments located on the UCSB campus that will be run by a multi-disciplinary group of students and advisors. The increased social, environmental and economic value created, both quantitative and qualitative, will be measured using a comparative methodology of the proposed design, over current conventional practices.

Expected Results:

This approach to organic waste management has the potential to create local jobs, to eliminate waste through material re-use and to create healthy, value added products as well as partnerships between different sectors of the community. The P3 award will provide an educational opportunity for students from different departments of UCSB to participate in a project that is oriented to finding solutions that benefit the people, the environment and the economy of Santa Barbara County.

Supplemental Keywords:

sustainable development, waste minimization, agriculture, systemic design, environmentally conscious manufacturing, industrial ecology, environmental assets, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, waste reduction, Environmental Chemistry, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Atmosphere, industrial design for environment, environmental monitoring, system interaction analyses, waste minimization, alternative products, organic residues, industrial ecology, spent brewery grain, resource recovery, waste management

Relevant Websites:

Recovery and reuse of organics Exit
Project Description

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report