Composting as an alternative management strategy for sargassum drifts on coastlines.
Massive drifts of sargassum (Sargassum fluitans and Sargassum natans) float onto the United States Gulf, Atlantic, and European shorelines regularly throughout the spring and summer months. To maintain tourist appeal and subsequently, the tourism industry, the standard practice of Texas beach communities has been to mechanically remove the sargassum seaweed and integrate it into dunes along the shoreline or dispose of the material in the landfill. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential to manage the invasive species sargassum using composting and to test the quality of the resulting compost. This study used ∼12 yard3 of sargassum as a feedstock mixed with cafeteria food waste and local wood chips, using a total of ∼72 yard3 of feedstocks, to create nearly 25 yard3 of stabilized compost. The final compost products were of equal or higher quality to current compost standards. Therefore, this study determined that the composting and waste management industries can use sargassum as a feedstock to create a desirable compost product that could be used in the horticulture and agriculture industries, while helping to manage this invasive species.