Technology Allows Large-Scale Recycling of Horse Bedding Waste

Most horse owners wish they could wave a magic wand and get rid of the "manure mountain" on their property. A couple of Canadian entrepreneurs have developed technology that might erase mounds of used bedding, as well as generate a little green.

"Our machinery takes the shavings, manure, and urine generated from horse bedding and superheats it to 300° F, killing all bacteria and pathogens," reported Win Wachsmann, partner (with Phil Wilford, developer of the technology) in GreenScene Pellets Inc. "It's then dried and shredded to a powder, which can be used as-is or further pelleted for livestock bedding or as a source of fuel in stoves," he said.

The size of a 48-foot semitrailer, their portable model recycles the waste of up to 200 horses. A larger machine handles the waste of up to 1,000 horses. The investment for a GreenScene operation? From $500,000 to $1.5 million, depending on desired components, local costs, and financing options.

GreenScene pellets

GreenScene pellets could be used as bedding or fuel, developers note.

"We think the best applications are racetracks or large horse farms, which generate tons of waste annually. Though primarily a cost reduction and landfill diversion tactic, this can also provide a revenue stream. Owners could recoup their initial costs in three to five years," continued Wachsmann.

He noted, "We've completed independent air quality, bedding usage, and fuel burn studies, and have been running trials since March on an 80-head farm in nearby Ladner, British Columbia, with good results."

However, potential air quality concerns could warrant additional third-party testing.

"Endotoxins encased in the cell walls of Gram-negative bacteria are a significant cause of airway disease," said Melissa Mazan, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, of Tufts Cumming School of Veterinary Medicine. "It doesn't have to be alive. Dead endotoxin is just as potent as live bacteria as an inflammation trigger.

"I'd ask if this new bedding product is endotoxin-free. It should be zero, or at least equivalent to clean shavings, in order to be confident there's no negative impact to either equine or human breathing," Mazan said.

The company is currently in talks with a number of large-scale horse operations, with construction possible for later this year.

For additional information visit the GreenScene Pellets Inc. Web site.

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Lisa Kemp

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