BioCycle January 2010, Vol. 51, No. 1, p. 16
GIS-BASED COMPOST AND BIOGAS DATA VIEWER
“Vermont Compost/Biogas Data Viewer,” a web-based tool using GIS to track organics diversion and reuse, was launched in December. The system displays compost and biogas related information spatially on a detailed map, with access to details on each dataset. Compost datasets include: existing composting facilities, food waste generators, solid waste management districts, compost facility 10-mile service areas, potential composting sites, food waste generation within 10-mile service area, and potential food waste generation tonnage. Biogas datasets include: existing on-farm anaerobic digesters, Vermont farms based on size and distance to 3-phase power, and food waste generators. All data are available for download.
The statewide Data Viewer was developed by Stone Environmental, Inc., sponsored by Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District (with grants from Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Waste Management District) and the Central Vermont Recovered Biomass Project (with funding from Vermont Sustainable Jobs Funds). Stone anticipates expansions to the Viewer’s functionality in 2010 to enable real-time data updating and a variety of other capabilities. The project will be described in more detail at BioCycle’s 25th Annual West Coast Conference in San Diego, April 12-15. To access the Data Viewer, visit: http://organics.stone-env.com/VTCompostBiogas/bin-release/index.html
CITYWIDE FOOD WASTE COLLECTION IN CANADA’S CAPITAL
Ottawa launched a citywide green bin program for residential food waste in early January, following several successful pilot projects. Collection is biweekly in the winter months, and weekly from spring through fall. Garbage is collected weekly, and recyclables biweekly. The organics are currently taken to composting facilities in Kingston and Moose Creek, but starting in late January, they will be processed at the Orgaworld facility in Gloucester. Orgaworld signed a 20-year contract with the city, and will have the capacity to take 80,000 metric tons per year.
The program is being offered to 220,000 single-family residences, and 30,000 low-rise multifamily units. The city plans to extend service to high-rises in 2011 (100,000 residences), and rural properties in 2012 (7,000). All food wastes are permitted, including meat, dairy and food-soiled paper. The program does not, however, allow use of compostable bags. Instead residents are encouraged to line their kitchen pails with newspaper for cleanliness. The city is using Norseman’s GreenBin+ 21-gallon curbside bins, which allow for automated collection.
Durham, North Carolina
PEDAL-POWERED FOOD WASTE COLLECTION
Trinity Green, a compost cooperative, was started in March 2008 by Durham resident Richard Stenz. The co-op offers curbside food waste pick-up, which Stenz collects on his bicycle. For $15/month, he comes by each week to pick up a bucket full of food waste, in exchange for a clean bucket. Stenz then composts the material behind his house, and every four to six weeks delivers a bucket full of finished compost, instead of an empty one. As of November 2009, the co-op had 32 members, 26 with small buckets and 6 with a larger 5-gallon pail ($5 extra per month).
LOCAL SUPERMARKET CHAIN TACKLES ORGANICS
Eugene-based Market of Choice introduced food waste diversion at its grocery stores last spring, with plans to eventually expand to all of its seven locations. “Not only is it the right thing to do, but the dumping fees for trash are a lot higher than they are for compostables,” says Scott Cook, Market of Choice’s sustainability coordinator, in an article in The Register-Guard. The grocery chain pays $24/ton to have the organics tipped at Rexius, a nearby composting facility, which is about a third of the price to dispose of the material in the garbage. Since initiating the program, the frequency of garbage collection needed at the participating stores has dropped by half, from once every 5 days to once every 10 days. Cook notes that the program does not impact its food donations, as it only targets items that are not fit for consumption.
$5 MILLION IN GRANTS FOR BIOGAS PROJECTS
The Pennsylvania Green Energy Works! program awarded $5 million in funding for biogas projects. The funds came through the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The eight recipients will leverage an additional $22 million in private investments. “By wisely investing our federal stimulus dollars in large-scale alternative energy projects we are aggressively moving forward to meet our future long-term energy needs, while creating multiple short-term benefits,” says Governor Edward Rendell in a press release. “The projects will also develop methods for handling various waste streams in more efficient and environmentally friendly manners. Farmers, food processors and local governments will now be able to better deal with various forms of waste materials, use that waste to generate electricity, and in some cases, even use the waste heat generated to make the overall process more efficient.”
The recipients are as follows: Schreiber Foods Inc. ($1,250,000) to install an anaerobic digester and a 1.1 MW generator for the biogas, with resulting electricity for internal use; Dauphin Derry Township Municipal Authority ($500,000) to use excess biogas from its anaerobic digester for electricity production, instead of flaring it, with waste heat recovered for use in the plant and buildings; Anergy Inc. ($254,382) to build anaerobic digesters at three small dairy farms for manure management and to produce biogas, used to generate electricity for on-farm use; Hermitage Municipal Authority ($350,000) to increase monthly capacity and upgrade an existing digester to allow for additional feedstocks, such as restaurant and grocery store food waste, and grease trap waste, which will produce more biogas for electricity generation; Furmano Foods Inc. ($850,000) to expand an existing wastewater treatment plant for increased methane production, with electricity used to offset the facility’s energy needs; Ideal Family Farms LLC ($433,716) to install an anaerobic digester to process manure, with resulting biogas burned to produce electricity for barn heaters as a replacement for propane gas; Westmoreland NativeEnergy Inc. ($893,752) to construct anaerobic digesters on five dairy farms, with biogas used for electricity generation, and resulting heat captured; York City Sewer Authority ($500,000) to replace an internal cogeneration system with a more efficient microturbine, with methane used to power a generator, and electricity used for plant operations.
St. Louis, Missouri
BREWERY CERTIFIED AS CLIMATE LEADER
In 2007, Anheuser-Busch joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Leaders program, pledging to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by five percent from 2005 through 2010. In large part due to its use of renewable energy, the brewery met its GHG reduction goal a year ahead of schedule, receiving advanced certification from EPA. “EPA’s Climate Leaders are sending a clear message that the choice between our economy and our environment is a false choice,” said Lisa Jackson, administrator of the U.S. EPA Administrator. As part of receiving advanced certification, Anheuser-Busch’s U.S. operations have committed to further decrease total greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by the end of 2013 based on figures from 2008. “As of this October, our U.S. breweries brewed and packaged the equivalent of one in every six beers using alternative fuels,” says Peter Kraemer, Vice President of Supply. As described in the October 2009 issue of BioCycle (“National Brewery Benefits From Biogas”), ten Anheuser-Busch plants use its Bio-Energy Recovery System anaerobic digesters to treat brewery process water. The brewer is also partnering with solar energy companies at some of its breweries and uses landfill gas at a plant in Houston.
Alameda County, California
PLANT DEBRIS DISPOSAL BAN
As of January 1, 2010, Alameda County can begin issuing fines to those violating the county’s requirement that plant debris be separated from regular trash. The county defines plant debris as grass, leaves, shrubbery, vines and tree branches and tree trimmings. All households in the county have been issued green carts for curbside collection of green waste. Residents can also self-haul materials to a local drop-off point or processing facility. The ordinance is part of Alameda County’s goal of achieving a 75 percent landfill diversion rate by 2010. The requirement went into effect in 2009, but the issuing of fines was delayed until January 1st. Fines range from $100 to $500. More details available at www.stopwaste.org.
INNOVATIVE USES FOR VACANT URBAN LAND
A report, “Adversity to Advantage: New Vacant Land Uses in Flint,” was published by Urban and Regional Planning graduate students at the University of Michigan. The report lists several innovative uses for the land, and identifies sites across Flint, which is estimated to have 12,000 vacant lots. This report offers the following suggestions for land reuse in the areas of highest vacancy, with numbers of possible sites: 35 sites are possible for large-scale composting, which would process food wastes and yard trimmings; 94 sites are appropriate for urban farms; 281 sites could be used for production of biofuel crops, such as switchgrass (low-maintenance); 56 sites could be used for tree nurseries; 38 sites are prime for deconstruction and reuse; 100 sites are suitable for expansion of natural areas, such as adding to existing parks, creation of rain gardens to reduce runoff, and connecting bike lanes and trails; and 48 sites were identified for small parks and community gardens.
HOUSEHOLDS WILL BE REWARDED TO RECYCLE
Philadelphia is launching the RecycleBank service, which rewards households for the amount of materials they recycle. All participating Philadelphia residents will be able to put recyclables into one container – any container – and add a Philadelphia Recycling Rewards Sticker. RecycleBank measures the amount of material recycled and then converts that amount into RecycleBank Points that can be redeemed for rewards, gift cards, groceries, merchandise and events at hundreds of national, regional and local businesses.
Beginning in February 2010, Philadelphia households will receive their individual RecycleBank accounts where they track their recycling activity, check their points balance and redeem them. “Philadelphia took the initiative in 2005 to be the first city to pilot our service and since then we have grown to service millions of people in over 24 states and the United Kingdom,” says Ron Gonen, CEO and cofounder of RecycleBank. Residents will also have an option to donate their points to local charities and environmental initiatives at local schools through the RecycleBank Green Schools Program.
TRIBAL JOURNEYS EVENT GOES ZERO WASTE
Tribal Journeys, a 20-year-old intertribal canoeing event was held in Suquamish this year with a zero waste goal. Tribal Journeys attracted approximately 10,000 visitors this summer. Breakfast and dinner were served using compostable plates, cups and utensils during the weeklong event. Volunteers collected the leftovers and service ware for composting; however it was discovered that trash cans also contained about 70 percent compostable items. In just two days, 1.7 tons of organics were collected and hauled by Bainbridge Disposal to Emu Topsoil in Poulsbo for composting. Twenty cubic yards of recyclables were collected in that time; trash only amounted to a quantity fitting a two-foot by two-foot box.
Guests were given reusable aluminum water bottles that could be filled at watering stations, eliminating the use of disposable plastic water bottles and cloth grocery bags to use during the week for shopping. Bill Gemmell, Suquamish Elder Council Chairman, says the tribe’s attention to sustainable practices fits in with Tribal Journey’s focus on culture. “Our ancestors took care of the environment, and their environment took care of them,” says Gemmell in the Kitsap Sun, a local newspaper. “I’m hoping that this is sort of a rebirth of environmental care.”
STATEWIDE RECYCLING GOAL SET AT 75 PERCENT BY 2020
Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed into law the Energy, Climate Change, and Economic Security Act of 2008 (House Bill 7135), which establishes a new statewide recycling goal of 75 percent by 2020. The statute also directs the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop a program designed to achieve this goal. The report provides an overview of the state’s solid waste generation and recycling, and outlines some recommended actions. The information is based on extensive research, contributions from stakeholders at four public workshops and discussions on DEP’s web forum.
Municipal solid waste (MSW) generation in Florida is over 32 million tons/year, resulting from 18 million residents and 80 million visitors. More than 20 years after the state’s first recycling goal of 30 percent, only 28 percent of MSW is recycled. Specific areas for increasing this percentage through low cost but high recycling value include construction and demolition (C&D) materials, which constitutes 25 percent of MSW, and organics (food waste, yard trimmings and paper), which represent 40 percent of MSW. The report points out that Publix Supermarkets are already recycling food waste.
Other recommendations include increasing markets for recycled products through public education, advertising, financial incentives (and disincentives) and carefully targeted regulation. New revenue sources include Pay-As-You-Throw (PAYT), Zero Waste Zones, single stream recycling, or programs that offer rewards for recycling, such as RecycleBank. The report also calls on state offices and universities to lead by example.