BioCycle World

BioCycle  March 2012, Vol. 53, No. 3, p. 6

BioCycle West Coast Conference Updates

Two Preconference Workshops are being held on Monday, April 16, 2012 at the BioCycle West Coast Conference in Portland, Oregon. Compost Use In Green Infrastructure (12:00 PM — 6:00 PM) covers Design, Installation, Maintenance, Performance Monitoring and Economics. Instructors are veterans with the cities of Seattle and Portland who have helped develop compost-based specifications for green infrastructure installations, utilize compost to amend native soils and in bioretention soil mixes, and oversee project installations and performance. Classroom instruction is from 12:00 pm to 3:15 pm, with tours of bioretention installations in the city of Portland from 3:15 to 6:00 pm. Questions, answers and discussion will continue on the tour.

The Business of Anaerobic Digestion, hosted by the American Biogas Council, runs from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Instructors will cover Financing, Siting, Biogas Markets and Project Evaluation. Realistic public and private sector financing options — and necessary business models to tap those monies — will be covered, along with successful business plans that feature viable feedstock and power and biomethane purchase agreement contracts. To register for the workshops, visit www.BioCycleWestCoast.com.

Two special events have been added to the agenda, both on Wednesday, April 18. First is Zero Waste Community Connection — 12:15 PM – 1:15 PM — where conference attendees can meet and greet Zero Waste players who are striving and working towards a future without waste. Use this opportunity to discuss and share best practices, develop and create new relationships or strengthen and expand existing ones. For more information, contact Steven Chiv, Commercial Zero Waste Associate, San Francisco Department of the Environment, steven.chiv@sfgov.org.

The second event (5:15 PM — 6:15 PM) is an open forum with the working groups of the Compostable Plastics Task Force. It will take place at the end of the Track 3 session, “Municipal Compostable Products Guidelines.” The Task Force was formed to improve the dialogue between the compostable plastics and composting industries (see “Compostable Plastics Discourse,” page 55), and is comprised of three working groups: Operational and ASTM Standards, Labeling and Education and Legislation and Enforcement.

Remembering Rosalie Green

Dr. Rosalie Green, a tireless advocate of composting and compost use, passed away in February at the age of 90. Dr. Green’s arrival on the organics recycling scene happened later in her career, when she became a senior recycling specialist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “She developed and presented an extraordinary amount of fact sheets on compost and its uses and was a strong supporter of remediating degraded and polluted soils with compost,” recalls Patricia Millner of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. “Rosalie also was an avid gardener and experimented with innovative growing techniques.” Rufus Chaney, also with USDA, remembers that Dr. Green began spreading the idea of phytostabilization or ecosystem revitalization using composts and by-products within EPA in 1994. “She kept after Superfund managers until they agreed to attend a briefing that she asked me to conduct at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center,” Chaney recalls. “After that briefing, EPA funded several of our remediation projects, and ultimately led to much greater use of compost in soil remediation, one of the most socially valuable applications. It is amazing to take our knowledge to a long barren site, do appropriate analyses, and make the best mixture of compost and by-products, then see extensive revegetation right after application of these mixtures in the field. Yes, sometimes she simplified our ideas too much, but Dr. Green got our ideas a hearing at high EPA offices, which led to adoption by an increasing number of Superfund sites. I can’t thank her enough for doing what she did so well.”

Rosalie Green touched many during her years in the organics recycling world. She pushed, prodded and inspired, often at the same time, to make change happen. “That was her charm,” says Brenda Platt of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), who notes that Dr. Green encouraged her to become a trained composter, and served as her mentor. Adds Neil Seldman of ILSR: “Rosalie was a wonderful person as well as a great scientist. She was a pleasure to work with, especially when you had to boss someone around to get the jobs done properly.” Anthony Duckett, with the Washington, D.C. Department of Public Works, recalls the assistance Dr. Green provided to the city’s leaf composting program. “She was very helpful to us and we still use the knowledge she gave us, and are grateful for that. If I can live as long as she did and be as active as she was then I have lived a wonderful life.” Dr. Green actively promoted composting well into her 80s.

Jean Schwab with USEPA’s Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery notes that Rosalie Green was an integral player in the advancement of compost and composting for decades. “It was a subject she was passionate about and fortunately for all of us, we can count a myriad of converts to this field,” says Schwab.

Biogas, Organics Recycling RFPs

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for development of biogas-to-pipeline projects within California and other western states. Biogas reduces SMUD’s carbon footprint, supports renewable goals and takes advantage of existing natural gas generation assets. SMUD is interested in long-term supplies of biogas that satisfy eligibility requirements of California renewables portfolio standard and for biomass-derived fuels under the state’s AB 32 cap-and-trade regulation. Preference is for new, long-term, joint-development opportunities and competitively priced off-take agreements from within California; however, all proposals will be considered. The focus is on larger projects that justify cleaning and transporting to pipeline with potential flow rate greater than 2 million SCF/day of raw biogas. SMUD’s Biogas Questionnaire can be accessed at www.smud.org/Biogas. Register and download to receive updates at www.bids.smud.org.

Seattle Public Utilities is requesting proposals for processing organic material produced by the city’s residential, commercial and self-haul customers. Processing can include composting and/or anaerobic digestion into marketable end products. View the draft request for proposal (RFP) at www.seattle.gov/util/SolidWasteContracts (a final draft is expected to be released March 29). Proposals are due no later than 2 p.m., PDT, March 29, 2012. Direct inquiries to Hans VanDusen, project manager, at (206) 684-4657 or Hans.VanDusen@seattle.gov.

A Mid-Atlantic municipality seeks letters of interest from potential partners who can help the city reduce costs and beneficially manage urban wood waste (approximately 875 tons of ground chips and limbed whole trees collected monthly), seasonal leaves (13,000 to 21,000 tons) and manure from a local zoo (5,000 cubic yards of herbivorous manure and bedding collected annually). Public/private partnerships, concession, independent contractor/merchant and other arrangements will be considered. Parties interested in repurposing one or more of these biomass streams should send letters including previous experience and a description of the technology being proposed. Questions for clarification will be accepted through April 20 with proposals due May 4. Electronic communication is preferred. Contact David Hill, principal, Cycle Logic, at hilldm@gmail.com.

Residential Food Waste Collection In Ohio

Descriptions of Ohio’s curbside collection programs for source separated organics (SSO) were left out of BioCycle’s National Survey Report, “Residential Food Waste Collection In The U.S.,” January 2012. Municipal programs include:

Fairborn and Miami Township: Waste Management offers SSO service in two communities, Fairborn and Miami Township. About 1,000 out of 10,000 households in Miami Township subscribe to organics collection, and about 4,000 out of 60,000 subscribe in Fairborn. All streams are collected weekly, with organics composted by Paygro, which does not currently allow compostable bags.

Huron: The City of Huron began offering SSO in 2009, adding food waste to the yard trimmings subscription, and extending service year round. There are 1,569 subscribers, out of the 3,378 households with trash service. Barnes Nursery collects the organics, about 851 tons/year, and composts them at its nearby facility. Residents must provide their own curbside carts and kitchen collectors. While compostable bags are permitted, they are not promoted in brochures, due to possible confusion with conventional bags.

Luckey: Luckey began a residential food waste program in October 2009, replacing its poorly performing recycling program with SSO. Recyclable paper (e.g., newspapers, magazines, cardboard and junk mail) are accepted in the organics cart. NAT Transportation collects SSO from 201 out of 411 households, delivering the material to Hirzel Farms for composting. About 75.5 tons were collected in 2010. Bottles and cans are now collected monthly, with organics and trash still collected weekly.

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