Composting facility hopes to grow

Organic compost processing could nearly double

COMPOSTING FACILITY Z-Best Products operates on 77 acres near the San Benito/Santa Clara county line on Highway 25. Submitted photo

A draft environmental impact report for Z-Best Products’ proposed expansion of its composting facility on Highway 25 at the Santa Clara/San Benito County line is expected to be complete in January.

Victor Gomez of Pinnacle Strategy, who represents the composting company, spoke to the San Benito County Board of Supervisors and Hollister City Council last week to give an update on the proposal.

Z-Best processes organic waste from San Benito, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. It currently operates on 77 acres in Santa Clara County adjacent to the San Benito County line on Highway 25 near Bolsa Road.

The project would convert Z-Best’s current wind-row composting system to a static, aerated pile composting system.

According to the company plans, the current process requires long piles of raw organic material in bags to be periodically turned as a way to improve porosity to help with the composting process. Aerated pile composting, meanwhile, biodegrades organic material by using a ventilation system to circulate air within the piles.

As a result, Z-Best is looking to expand its operations by 28 acres and increase its employee rolls by 32 for a total of 90 workers.

The expanded operations would require an additional 59 truck trips per day, according to the plans. These additional trips would be restricted to between 8pm and 4am to keep the trucks off of peak commute hours on the busy commuter route, Gomez said.

The project is expected to increase processing from 1,500 tons per day to 2,750 tons per day, said Gomez.

According to the plans, the project, if it receives all required approvals, would be completed over a two- to 10-year period.

Z-Best, which produces an estimated 150,000 tons of compost and mulch annually, is one of the largest composting facilities in the state.

It recently announced that its mulch product was certified organic by the California Department of Food & Agriculture and Organic Materials Review Institute. Its uses include farming, landscaping, or any other application where organic certification of crop fertilizers and soil amendments are needed.