BioCycle World

BioCycle June 2012, Vol. 53, No. 6, p. 6

BioCycle Energy Conference Call For Papers

Abstracts are being accepted for BioCycle’s 12th Annual Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling, October 29-31, 2012, in St. Louis, Missouri. Deadline for abstract submissions is July 20, 2012. Presentation categories include (but are not limited to): Anaerobic Digestion — Municipal, Farm Industry; Project Development Strategies; Feedstock Sourcing; Depackaging and Preprocessing; Digester System Management and Optimization; Biogas Market Development — Power, Renewable Natural Gas, Biomethane for Vehicle Fuel; AD Systems for MSW Organics; Biogas Conditioning and Storage; Wastewater Treatment Plant Digesters, Food Waste and FOG; Small-Scale AD Systems; Incentives and Financing for Project Development; Current Research; Nutrient Recovery and Liquid Fertilizers; Solids Separation; Digestate Markets; Composting and AD Combinations; Carbon, Nutrient and Transportation Fuel Credits; and Permitting, Policies and Regulations. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words. They can be submitted on-line at www.biocycleenergy.com

Recycling Jobs Calculator

According to a new report by the Container Recycling Institute, container deposit-return (CDR) systems create 11 to 38 times more jobs than curbside recycling schemes, and states with CDR systems in place recover on average three times more beverage containers than states that do not have such programs. The report, available at www.container-recycle.org, also points out that jobs gained in the recycling sector far outnumber those lost to virgin extraction, landfilling or domestic manufacturing. As for PET plastic containers, says Clarissa Morawski of CM Consulting, coauthor of the report: “Roughly 50 percent of what we collect in America is currently exported. This is basically just exporting jobs, because those materials could be handled in America.”

The study findings are integrated into a companion tool for forecasting the impact of recycling on employment in any U.S. state. The user-friendly calculator, known as MIRJCalc (Measuring the Impact of Recycling on Jobs Calculator), estimates the net impact on domestic jobs from increased recovery of aluminum cans, PET plastic bottles and glass bottles. MIRJCalc allows users to run specific scenarios for a particular state or, alternately, to rely on model defaults that have been carefully researched and verified.

Scotland Zero Waste Update

In a decisive move that came about a month earlier than anticipated, the Scottish Parliament signed new Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 into law May 9. The new regulations require all businesses to source separate paper, cardboard, plastic, metal and glass for recycling by December 31, 2013. Businesses that produce more than 50kg (110 lbs) weekly of food waste must separate it for collection by the same date. Smaller businesses, those producing between 5 kg and 50 kg/week (11 to 110 lbs) of food waste, have an additional two years to comply with the organics recycling component of the regulation.

Local authorities must offer a recyclables collection service and are required to begin to implement residential food waste collection by December 31, 2013, if it is not already standard practice, with full compliance mandated by December 31, 2015. In order to make Scotland’s march toward zero waste a success, the government plans to invest nearly $23 million in necessary educational programs, infrastructure and services. (For more, see “Building Compost Markets in Scotland,” May 2012.)

Route Technology Aids Zero Waste Goal

Recyclables sorting

To assist the City of San Francisco with fulfilling its zero waste mission, Recology (the city’s contracted hauler and processor) is working with IBM and its technology partner, Key Info Systems to optimize its collection and diversion systems. Recology is using the partners’ Smart Computing and Power System IT technology to manage and mine large sets of data to determine the types, quantities and location of various materials in San Francisco’s waste stream for sorting or composting. “We’re a systems integration company,” says Key Information Systems Marketing Director Pete Elliot. “We take hardware and software and make it work together. For Recology that means integrating its servers, databases and analytics to optimize collection and recovery, including truck routes and inherent demographics. Data is being collected on what those routes yield in waste and calculate from there what the impacts and loads on their systems are going to be.” In a city like San Francisco, data such as logging in the time it takes to service a particularly difficult-to-reach customer becomes critical to providing smooth service. “The truck routes in and out of San Francisco are unbelievable,” he adds. “You have to service a 100-year-old apartment with narrow stairwells, and you have go up and bring it down. That all has to be fed into the logistics of its fleet.”

Recology’s position as San Francisco’s waste service provider was assured by San Francisco voters on June 5. As this issue was going to press, we learned that voters defeated Proposition A (Prop A), which would have opened the city’s trash contract to competitive bidding. Proponents of Prop A spoke out against the no-bid contract, which has been included in San Francisco’s city charter since 1932, according to an article in The Examiner. Recology currently holds all of the permits for refuse collection in the city.

“Greenovate Boston”

At the 6th Annual Green Awards held this spring, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino unveiled the city’s new sustainability brand — “Greenovate Boston” — a broad campaign to engage residents, businesses and organizations in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. “Boston is nationally recognized as a leader in sustainability not simply because of policies emanating from City Hall, but because of the commitment and innovation of businesses and residents who are working to improve environmental quality and grow our green economy,” Mayor Menino said at a ceremony hosted at P&G Gillette’s South Boston site. “Working together, we are Greenovating Boston.”

Examples of that innovation were evident at the Green Awards ceremony, which recognized three residents, 11 businesses and two sustainable food leaders. Recipients included The Green Home Renovation and Resource Conservation Award given to Cynthia Lash and Ivan Liriano for their LEED Platinum home incorporating energy efficiency, water conservation and sustainable design; the Waste Reduction Champion Award given to Erica Wiken for her commitment to recycling, composting and vermicomposting; and the Sustainability/Climate Action Leadership award given to Castle Square Tenants Organization, which partnered with Winn Development to retrofit a 500-unit apartment building (the largest undertaking in the U.S.) to achieve 72 percent reduction in energy use. To learn more about the city’s sustainability initiatives, see “Boston Bold On Climate Change,” December 2011.

Will Single-Sort Recycling Increase Participation?

Hoping to induce more residents to participate in recycling, the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota will change to a single-sort system in early 2013, the city council recently decided. The city predicts that a switch from multisort to single-sort (commingled) recycling will increase the amount of material recovered by 60 percent and boost the Minneapolis recycling participation rate from 18.1 percent to 32 percent. In addition, operational costs are projected to drop 1.7 percent, according to a 47-page Public Works Department report commissioned by the city to compare single-sort and dual-sort systems. According to the report, Minneapolis’ recycling program has had a “fairly good” participation rate, but the amount of material recycled by residents is “far below the regional and national average.” The State of Minnesota recently established new recovery goals for Hennepin County that call for a 45 percent recycling rate by 2015 and 47 percent by 2020. Hennepin County (where Minneapolis is located) has set a 35 percent recycling goal for the city. The switch to single sort was needed to continue receiving about $850,000 in annual grant funding from the county, says City Engineer Steve Kottke. “The county came to the conclusion that we needed to look at a different collection system. We studied it, and concurred that it is the right thing to do.”

Minneapolis officials have considered making the switch for several years, conducting two pilot studies comparing single- and dual-sort systems. In addition to its evaluations, “there is a lot of data out there, nationally, showing that if you make recycling easier for people, participation and the amount of material collected goes up considerably,” Kottke says. Another benefit is that single sort will make it easier if the city decides to expand recycling to include multiunit housing and add organics recycling in the future, city officials say. The city’s implementation plan for the switch includes buying new trucks and household carts, developing an extensive public education campaign and issuing a request for proposals from haulers, he adds. About 100,000 residences receive curbside collection service.

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