BioCycle September 2004, Vol. 45, No. 9, p. 6
ECONOMIC DATA ON NORTHEAST RECYCLING INDUSTRY PREPARED BY NERC
The Northeast Recycling Council (NERC) has prepared a comprehensive review of the region’s recycling and reuse industry titled the Recycling Economic Information Study. The ten states covered are: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. Key findings showed that annual revenues are $44 billion, with $6.8 billion in annual payroll. The companies in the recycling and reuse industries employ 206,000 persons, and there are 13,000 recycling and reuse establishments. Of the 1,844 manufacturers identified in the region, compost producers comprise 584.
The Recycling Sector was divided into 19 distinct categories by type of establishment – adding up to over 8,000 in the Northeast region. These operations collect and process recovered materials and manufacture products using recycled feedstocks. “They include long-established sectors like paper and steel making, but also new entrepreneurial ventures such as composting,” notes the summary of the study.
Estimating some 5,000 companies involved, the Reuse and Remanufacturing Sector was divided into nine categories that listed establishments processing used merchandise (3,202), wood reuse (73), computer & electronic appliances (58).
The Recycling Economic Information Study, available from NERC for $35, “demonstrates the significant contributions the recycling and reuse industry makes to the region’s economy,” the conclusion notes. The report is the first phase of a national study being under taken by the National Recycling Coalition (NRC) to measure the economic activity associated with the recycling and reuse industries throughout the country. For details, visit the NERC website www.nerc.org.
POWER COOPERATIVE TO PRODUCE RENEWABLE ELECTRICITY FROM ANAEROBIC DIGESTERS
Dairyland Power Cooperative based in La Crosse, Wisconsin provides the wholesale electrical requirements and other services for 25 electric distribution cooperatives and 20 municipal utilities. Together they serve more than half a million people in four states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois).
Dairyland was formed in 1941 and today has five generating stations with 1,066 megawatt capacity. Now Dairyland and Microgy, a subsidiary of Environmental Power, have formed a “green alliance” to produce renewable electricity at dairy and swine farms within the Dairyland system. Energy source will be manure, and the process is anaerobic digestion.
Initially, the partnership is working with these Wisconsin farms: Five Star Dairy (Elk Mound); Wild Rose Dairy (LaFarge); Daley Farm and Bach Farms (Dorchester); and Norswiss Farms (Rice Lake). The first farms should be online in late 2004, and each will generate 750 kilowatts of renewable power. Together they will generate enough energy to power 3,000 homes within the Dairyland system.
“Project goal is to create up to 25 MW of renewable electricity, fulfilling the energy needs of approximately 20,000 homes in our service area,” says Katie Thomson of Dairyland. A mini power plant will be sited at each farm. After the manure is collected, it will be heated in the digester tank at 135°F for approximately three weeks. “Methane gas that is the by product of that process will be the fuel used to generate electricity. The digester will be owned by the farmer, and the generator will be owned by DPC,” adds Thomson.
According to specified arrangements, the farmer buys the digester from Microgy. DPC will purchase the gas from the farmer. Microgy will take care of operation and maintenance. Size of digester operations is approximately one-quarter acre.
Benefits are cited as follows: Clean air and water pollution issues associated with manure disposal are significantly reduced, as is the odor problem; Weed seeds and pathogens are killed during the heating process, and therefore, the fly count is reduced; Heated, dewatered by-product of the digestion process can be used as a natural bedding and fertilizer by the farmer, thus reducing dependence on chemical fertilizers and pesticides; Odor issues, an increasing problem for farmers, are reduced by 95 percent by the manure digesters; Minimizes potential for pollutants from manure in ground and surface water. A first-hand description of the process and cooperative arrangement will be given at the BioCycle 4th Annual Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling Conference, November 8-10, 2004 in Des Moines, Iowa. To register for the conference, see pages 15-17 of this issue – which includes complete agenda.
ANNUAL ORGANIC SALES IN U.S. REACH $10.8 BILLION
Sales of U.S. organic food and nonfood items grew by approximately 20 percent during 2003 to reach $10.8 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association’s 2004 Manufacturer Survey. Nonfood organic products – i.e., personal care products, organic fiber, household cleaners – grew by 19.8 percent to reach $440 million sales. Organic food sales now represent 2 percent of U.S. food sales. Approximately 44 percent of organic food sales were through supermarkets and grocery stores, mass merchandisers and club stores. The natural food channel – including independent natural product and health food stores as well as natural grocery chains – accounted for 47 percent of sales. The remaining 9 percent occurred at farmers’ markets. Survey results, says the Organic Trade Association which is based in Greenfield, MA, forecast an annual average growth rate of 18 percent for organic foods from 2004 to 2008. Meat, fish and poultry category – with 30.7 percent anticipated growth – is expected to have the highest growth rate, followed by fruit and vegetables at 20.7 percent growth. Meanwhile research centers are emphasizing the environmental benefits of increased organic matter for the soil’s carbon bank and to nurture healthy soils. Visit the website at: www.ota.com and www.theorganicreport.com.
MAKING AN ALL-WEATHER COMPOST PAD WITH LIME STABILIZATION
Triple J Farm of Georgetown, Kentucky was having problems with wet weather stopping its composting operations. One solution was to build a concrete manure storage pad at an estimated cost of $32,000. An alternative was an in-place stabilization using quicklime as an effective way to a reliable working platform. Observes Dawn Angarone, consultant at Equine Waste Composting in Kentucky: “Installation of the lime pad and purchase of compost turning equipment was less than the concrete pad.” The Triple J pad was built by Mt. Carmel Sand and Gravel of Mt. Carmel, Illinois.
Not all soils are suitable for lime stabilization, according to Carmeuse Natural Chemicals of Pittsburgh. The process involves chemical reactions between lime and soil elements such as silica and alumina. Soils containing a good proportion of clay generally work well. Typically, between 4 and 7 percent lime is added by dry weight of soil. Four percent lime was mixed to a depth of 10 inches to stabilize the Triple J compost pad.
BIOSOLIDS RECYCLING PROGRAM WINS NATIONAL ”SEAL OF APPROVAL”
In Washington State, the King County Wastewater Treatment Division became one of the first public wastewater utilities in the U.S. to receive a national “Seal of Approval” for its biosolids program. During a special presentation last month, King County Executive Ron Sims was awarded certification of its Environmental Management Systems from officials of the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP) – an alliance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Water Environment Federation and Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies. The county’s biosolids partners in agriculture, forestry and composting from eastern Washington also received certificates.
In making the presentation, Michael Read of NBP explained that an independent audit verified King County: Runs an effective biosolids environmental management system that continually improves performance; Exceeds regulatory compliance obligations; Uses good biosolids management practices; and Creates meaningful opportunities for public participation. “The environment is better today for your achievement,” noted Read.
Also attending the presentation were King County partners who use biosolids beneficially such as: Boulder Park Soil Improvement Project; Natural Selection Farms; RAMCO which supplies biosolids to forests; and GroCo, which has been creating a Class A biosolids compost for King County since the mid 1970s.
HOW AGRICULTURAL SOILS AND WATERSHEDS BENEFIT FROM CONSERVATION PROGRAMS
The USDA is launching a five-year study on the collective environmental benefits of conservation programs for watersheds and agricultural lands. Through the Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP), the U.S. Department of Agriculture will study environmental benefits of conservation practices implemented through 2002 Farm Bill programs, which include:
Environmental Quality Incentives Program; Wetlands Reserve Program; Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program; Conservation Reserve Program; and Conservation Security Program; and Conservation Technical Assistance.
The national assessment will be reported annually starting in 2005. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) National Resources inventory will be used as the sampling basis for estimating the environmental benefits of conservation practices, as well as farmer surveys and existing USDA computer models.
In-depth studies within eight special-emphasis and 12 benchmark watersheds will occur simultaneously with the national assessment and other on-going watershed research. NRCS selected the special-emphasis watersheds to address specific issues such as manure management at animal feeding operations, water use on irrigated cropland, drainage management, wildlife habitat and riparian restoration. These watershed studies also should help develop performance measures for estimating soil quality, water quality and wildlife habitat benefits for specific conservation practices.
NEW SURVEY SHOWS U.S. SUPPORT FOR BIODIESEL TAX INCENTIVE
The latest issue of Biodiesel Bulletin (9/1/04) reports that 89 percent of Americans surveyed think it is important for Congress to pass a biodiesel tax incentive to make American-made biodiesel more cost competitive with regular diesel fuel. Congress is currently considering several bills that include a federal excise tax credit amounting to one penny per percentage point of biodiesel blended with petroleum diesel, lowering the price to all consumers. The survey also found that after hearing the benefits of biodiesel, 77 percent of respondents would be likely to use biodiesel and 61 percent would be willing to pay at least 1 to 4 cents more per gallon for the fuel. The tax incentive would bring the cost difference of B20 closer to that range.
According to the survey, Americans view domestic energy security as the most important benefit of biodiesel. The number two most popular reason for using more biodiesel was that “biodiesel is better for our health because it reduces air toxins and cancer causing emissions.”
LATEST REPORT ON RUBBER MANUFACTURING SHOWS 80 PERCENT OF U.S. TIRES RECYCLED
According to a July, 2004 report from the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), stockpiled scrap tires have been reduced by nearly 90 percent since 1990 and 80 percent of the 290 million scrap tires generated in 2003 went to an end use market. As reported in Scrap Tire News, ground rubber reuse is one of the largest markets. Besides application in athletic and recreational surfaces, rubber-modified asphalt is being used to produce durable roads. “Ground rubber is also used in carpet underlay, flooring material, dock bumpers and railroad crossing blocks,” adds STN. Civil engineering projects show a 41 percent growth since 2001 – in uses such as septic tank leach fields and road construction. “Civil engineering markets are continuing to gain wider approval with annual usage increasing from 56.4 million tires, compared to 40 million in 2001,” sums up Michael Blumenthal, RMA senior technical director.