BioCycle April 2005, Vol. 46, No. 4, p. 14
STATE EPA REPORTS RECYCLING/COMPOSTING/LANDFILL DATA
Local recycling coordinators in Illinois report that 5.9 million tons of MSW were recycled in 2003. With total municipal waste of 16.1 million tons, this equates to a 25.3 percent recycling rate in Illinois, about the same as in 2002. Additionally, in 2003 there were 91 active transfer stations and 38 active compost facilities. About 11 percent of solid wastes deposited in Illinois landfills in 2003 came from 11 other states. Although Illinois haulers also transported MSW to other states, they are not required to report these figures. Disposal capacity available statewide at Illinois landfills is reported to be sufficient for the next 12 years. This information is contained in the Illinois EPA 17th annual report for 2003, “Nonhazardous Solid Waste Management and Landfill Capacity in Illinois.” The report also indicates the overall number of active landfills in the state remained virtually the same, at 50 in 2003, down from 51 in 2002. “Solid waste planning that includes recycling is becoming increasingly important,” says Illinois EPA Director Renee Cipriano.
CITY COUNCIL MAKES ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY BY SETTING ZERO WASTE GOAL
At its March 22nd meeting, the Berkeley City Council unanimously adopted a 75 percent waste reduction goal for 2010, and established a Zero Waste Goal for 2020. The resolution also suggests that the Solid Waste Management Commission change its name to the Zero Waste Commission.
“This is a great day for recycling and all types of resource recovery,” said Martin Bourque, Executive Director of Berkeley’s Ecology Center. “As Berkeley’s Curbside Recycler, we have been promoting Zero Waste for many years, and this sets us all on a path that conserves natural resources and protects the planet from pollution, while creating good green-collar jobs.”
Zero Waste is a concept that couples aggressive resource recovery with industrial redesign to eliminate the very concept of waste. “If it can’t be reused, rebuilt, refurbished, reconfigured, recycled, or composted, then it needs to be redesigned or removed from production all together,” explains Dan Knapp founder and owner of Urban Ore.
Details of how to reach these goals have been left to the Commission and City staff. “It is not going to be easy,” added Tom Farrell, Director of the Solid Waste Management Division of Berkeley. “We have come a long way to the 50 percent mark, but reaching Zero Waste will definitely require fundamental changes in the manufacturing and packaging industries.”
Over 30 years ago, the Ecology Center pioneered curbside recycling, a radical idea at the time. Today the Ecology Center runs this program for Berkeley.
Berkeley had the Nation’s first solid waste management plan that included separating refuse from recyclable materials in the home, and in the early 1980s the residents passed one of the country’s first bans on garbage incineration. “In the 1980s, when Berkeley set a goal of reducing waste by 50 percent, everyone said it couldn’t be done,” said Mayor Tom Bates who sponsored the resolution. “Not only did we prove them wrong, but less than a decade later California set that goal for all counties. I am confident that we will not only meet our Zero Waste goal, but give a boost to innovative waste reduction policy across the nation.”
RESTORATION AND DECONSTRUCTION MAKE STORE A RECYCLING FORCE
“Thanks to our many partners in the community, we achieved remarkable success in reusing valuable materials, making home improvement affordable for more people, creating jobs and providing job training,” writes Holly Milton-Benoit, manager of the ReStore Home Improvement Center in her ReStore 2005 Progress Report. During the past year, ReStore helped 6,800 people by providing low-cost materials to fix up their homes, saving them at least $450,000. “We’ve also kept hundreds of tons of useful doors, windows and other valuable building materials out of the landfill,” she notes. The store covered its operating costs without any grant funding, and has plans to expand its deconstruction services. Last summer, a ten-person crew took apart a 2,600 sq ft home by hand and recovered nearly two dozen truckloads of reusable materials.
METRO SURVEY SHOWS THAT HOME COMPOSTING IS WORKING WELL IN REGION
In December 2004, Portland Metro conducted surveys of home composting behavior that targeted the general population as well as purchasers of backyard bins. Fifty-two percent of those households living in single-family dwellings were composting some fraction of their yard trimmings in 2004. This was up significantly from the 44 percent reported in 1996, but not significantly from the 55 percent participation rates in 1998 and 2001 surveys. Food scrap composting increased from 26 percent in 1996 to 30 percent in 1998, leveling off in 2004 with 31 percent. Most likely to compost are residents who generate more yard debris, own larger lots (half acre = 71 percent), and those who are “more established” at their house (10+years = 56 percent).
One in three yard trimmings composters uses more than one composting method – such as: “pile it up” – 35 percent; Metro plastic bin (Earth Machine) – 30 percent; Use as mulch – 25 percent; Homemade bin – 23 percent; Store-bought bin – 16 percent; Bury it – 11 percent; and Worm bin – 3 percent.
From 1994 to 2004 Metro sold 90,000 Earth Machine compost bins through annual truckload sales. On an 11-point scale, residents rated satisfaction with the Earth Machine compost bin as a 7.3 (10 = extremely satisfied). Residents less than fully satisfied (rating of 8 or lower) cited these issues: Can’t turn compost easily; Bin is too small for amount generated; and Difficult to get compost out of the bottom opening. Of 320 respondents surveyed, 91 percent continued to compost; Of 231 who started food waste composting, 78 percent continued with these reasons for stopping – “Just moved and haven’t restarted, not enough space, attracts flies.”
More than one-quarter (28 percent) of all households buy compost annually or more frequently; households that compost are significantly more likely to buy compost than noncomposters (34 percent vs. 20). Households mainly use compost in gardens (rather than lawns), suggesting that lawn management with compost and organic fertilizers remains “a key opportunity for education and outreach.”
TIRE RECYCLING OPTIONS RANGE ALL OVER THE (ATHLETIC) FIELD
The Waste Tire Trust Fund (WTTF) in Kentucky has helped to reduce the number of stockpiled tires in the state by over 15 million, reports. Scrap Tire News. Grants have been awarded to schools and cities to apply crumb rubber to fields and playgrounds to improve drainage, reduce irrigation and “provide a cushion to athletes.” Nearly $1 million was given to 21 schools and government entities, as part of the Environmental And Public Protection Cabinet’s (EPPC) program. Finely ground rubber can be used also for landscaping, horse tracks and in road pavements.
In athletic fields, crumb rubber can improve the durability of the grass turf and provide a similar cushioning effect found in playground applications, but not found in other field amendments. In a topdressing application, finely ground tire material can protect the turf’s sensitive rhizomes and tender root system under the stress of foot traffic. This actually reduces the yearly maintenance costs of the turf.
In fact, the EPPC noted in its technical guide for athletic field crumb rubber projects that research conducted by Michigan State University has shown good results for football and soccer fields along with golf course paths. The area in front of the soccer goals and the midfield area normally wears down over the season, as does the area between the hash marks on a football practice field.
“Clearly the opportunities to recycle waste tires in beneficial and environmentally friendly ways are abundant. These new crumb rubber projects are the next step toward developing those opportunities by supporting tire recycling projects in local communities,” Todd McCoy, resource conservation supervisor for the EPPC’s Division of Waste Management, said.
EMERGENCY LIVESTOCK MORTALITY COMPOSTING IS RESEARCHED AT IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
Under the direction of Tom Glanville of Iowa State’s Department of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering, a research project is scheduled for completion this fall on the environmental impact and biosecurity of composting for emergency disposal of livestock mortalities. “The objectives of the three-year study are: Evaluate the feasibility of using composting for emergency on-farm disposal of livestock mortalities in the event of a livestock disease outbreak or agro-terrorism in Iowa; Study the potential impacts of emergency livestock mortality composting on air quality, water quality, and soil quality; and Investigate the potential of emergency animal mortality composting systems to retain and destroy pathogens thereby reducing or preventing the spread of disease.”
Recognizing that composting is being used by many swine producers, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources commissioned the study, specifically requesting attention to the potential for composting cattle. A windrow system was suggested since it could be constructed quickly, with no turning to avoid potential for airborne disease transmission. By fall, Glanville hopes to have all data tabulated and analyzed; a report is planned for BioCycle by him and his colleagues at that time.
STATE TRANSPORTATION AGENCY PLANS RECYCLED TIRE USE
Following passage last year of legislation to investigate uses for shredded tires, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is setting up projects to use materials on bridge and roads. As reported by Scrap Tire News, bridge projects with chipped tires are planned for Cabot and Chittenden Counties.
BIOENERGY AND BIOPRODUCT RESEARCH AT WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY
An overview of renewable energy projects at Washington State University provides this information:
Biomass – Economic/technical evaluation and demonstration of a commercial anaerobic digester (AD) research on performance improvements; Applied technology development on novel approaches for AD; Adoption of “village-scale” AD and associated technologies; Cost analysis of emerging on farm (AD) bioenergy industry.
Biofuels – Oilseed cropping production potentials for biodiesel; Biofuel variety trials; Community/regional economic impact and benefit; Cofermentation of ligno-cellulosic sugars for ethanol production; Chemicals from wheat straw; Omega 3 fatty acids from glycerin (waste from biodiesel production).
These contacts were listed: Climate Friendly Farming Project, Chad Kruger (firstname.lastname@example.org); Bioenergy, Dave Sjoding (email@example.com); Bioproducts Engineering, Craig Frear (firstname.lastname@example.org); Sustainable Waste to Energy Education Technology Center, Rick Finch (email@example.com).
Mississippi State, Mississippi
ENERGY POTENTIAL FROM BIOMASS LEADS TO BIOOIL AND WOOD PRESERVATIVE SYSTEM
A new Mississippi State University project is developing safer wood preservative systems and fuel from small-diameter pine trees as part of a federal Biomass R&D initiative. Forest products professor Philip Steele explains that the goal is “to establish an advanced approach to an environmentally-benign wood preservative system from BioOil with fuel as a by-product.” BioOil is a condensed gasification product of biomass (usually wood), looks similar to crude oil, and can be used for production of chemicals and fuels. New government restrictions on use of chromated copper arsenate has stimulated the market for safer wood preservatives. Adds Steele: “A BioOil wood preservative would not only fill this critical need, but has the potential to boost the forest products industry which currently has annual sales of preservative-treated wood in excess of $4 billion.” He predicts that production of wood preservative or BioOil would consume about five million tons of wood per year with thinnings from Southern pine stands. MSU scientists are confident that the BioOil preservative and fuel would diversify the range of products as well as meet the national needs of reducing dependency on foreign fuels. The reactor for making BioOil is based on the design of a collaborating industrial partner, Renewable Oil International, LLC of Florence, Alabama.