BioCycle October 2012, Vol. 53, No. 10, p. 6
Call For Papers – BioCycle 2013 West Coast Conference
The 27th Annual BioCycle West Coast Conference, April 8-11, 2013 in San Diego, California is accepting abstracts for presentations. The 2013 West Coast Conference theme, Building Sustainable Cities, Communities and Enterprises, encompasses the full spectrum of BioCycle’s editorial coverage — from composting and compost utilization to anaerobic digestion and biogas markets, to zero waste strategies and starting and operating successful projects and companies to divert and manage organic waste streams. The Conference will feature over 90 presentations on topics including: Food Waste Sourcing and Collection; Odor and Air Emissions Compliance; Project Financing, Siting and Permitting; Compost Use In Agriculture; Integrating “BioCycling” Into Municipal Sustainability Policies and Practices; Anaerobic Digester Operations and Troubleshooting; Effective Feedstock Preprocessing; Organics Recycling Trends and Data; Compostable Products; Large Venue, Campus and Health-Care Facility Composting; Modular AD Options; Compost Use In Storm Water Management and Green Infrastructure; Biosolids Recycling; Sustaining 70+ Percent Diversion; Compost and Disease Suppression, Moisture Retention; and Wastewater Treatment Plants As Energy, Fertilizer Centers. To view complete list of suggested topics, and to submit an abstract, go to www.biocyclewestcoast.com. Abstracts should be 250 words or less. The deadline for submission is December 31, 2012.
Composter Honored As “Organic Pioneer”
Carla Castagnero, president and co-founder of AgRecycle, Inc., and member of BioCycle’s Editorial Board, was honored by The Rodale Institute as an Organic Pioneer on September 14, 2012. The Rodale Institute created the Organic Pioneer Award in 2011 to honor individuals whose enterprise and innovation are “creating the tools we need for a modern organic future,” said Maria Rodale, cochair of the Institute. AgRecycle is one of the oldest and most successful composting companies in the U.S., and certainly a pioneer in transforming yard trimmings, pre and postconsumer food waste and food processing residuals into high-value compost products. Castagnero’s success as a business, marketer and educator in the value of organics is evidenced by the company’s distinguished client list, which includes the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Zoo.
Other 2012 honorees include Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary of USDA, Kim Tait, owner of Tait Farm Foods and John Teasdale, a scientist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. “Each of these honorees have served to motivate many across the country to become more organic in the way they grow and produce food and nurture communities,” said Mark Smallwood, executive director of Rodale Institute (and pictured with Castagnero and the Organic Pioneer award). “These honorees have shown an incredible willingness to share, whether it’s sharing their research, sharing their knowledge and inspiration, or sharing their organically-grown produce.”
San Francisco Hits 80 Percent Diversion
San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced on October 5 that the city has achieved 80 percent landfill diversion rates, setting recycling and composting rate records “as the highest of any city in North America.” The 80 percent diversion has been achieved through source reduction, reuse, recycling and composting. “Recycling and composting is not only good for our environment, it is also good for our economy,” said Lee. “Recycling alone creates 10 times more jobs than simply sending refuse to the landfill. I applaud Recology, the Department of Environment and San Franciscans for reaching this record milestone of 80 percent diversion.” Recology is the city’s recycling, composting and trash service provider.
While landfill disposal is at the lowest level on record and has been reduced by half over the last decade, San Francisco still landfills 444,000 tons of material annually. Half of that could be recycled or composted and actually belongs in the blue (recycling) and green (composting) collection bins, notes the Mayor’s office. San Francisco has mandatory composting and recycling laws, combined with zero waste policies like the one enacted by the Port of San Francisco that requires all event organizers to develop and execute plans for managing waste.
Public Comment Periods — Sustainable Sites And Washington State Compost Rule
The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) invites public comment on proposed revisions to the Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009. SITES is the most comprehensive set of voluntary, national guidelines ever developed for sustainable landscapes; credits cover landscape design, construction and maintenance. SITES staff and more than three dozen technical advisors in hydrology, vegetation, soils, materials and human health and well being contributed thousands of hours to ensure the credits could apply to any landscape, with or without buildings.
The proposed revisions are based on experience gained through the two-year pilot program, which involved 150 projects, 11 of which have been certified to date. The proposed 2013 credits will serve as the basis for SITES moving to open enrollment in mid-2013. An online form is available at www.sustainablesites.org for comment. The comment period is open until November 5, 2012.
The Washington Department of Ecology published a rule proposal to amend Chapter 173-350 WAC of its Solid Waste Handling Standards in the Washington State Register on October 3, 2012. This chapter pertains to composting and digestion of organic wastes. These amendments include, but are not limited to the following: Improving environmental performance of large-scale composters; Protect long-term markets for compost products by improving compost quality; Allow for new, innovative methods of handling organic materials, including permit exemptions; Encourage development of small facilities through expanded conditional permit exemptions; and Adopt exemptions for qualified anaerobic digesters, and describe permit requirements for nonexempt digesters. The documents can be downloaded at: www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/swfa/rules/rule350html; the public comment period ends November 2, 2012 (comments can be emailed to email@example.com).
Triple Bottom Line Manual
The Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) released the “Triple Bottom Line Manual” in July, developed by HDR, a consulting engineering firm, with input and review from the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). USDN is a private professional network of over 100 municipal government sustainability directors in the U.S. and Canada. It was formed in 2009 to facilitate networking and sharing of ideas and practices. The new manual builds on a model developed by HDR that estimates the triple bottom line impacts of municipal investments in sustainability: economic, environmental and social benefits. The model’s structure focuses on a specific set of project investments — energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation and development. It uses typical decision metrics from a benefit-cost analysis including net present value, return on investment, discounted payback period, internal rate of return and benefit-cost ratio. The Renewable Energy analysis, for example, evaluates “the costs and benefits of increasing generation of renewable energy, which in turn reduces use of conventional energy sources.” The tool can be helpful to municipal governments evaluating investments in anaerobic digestion infrastructure to increase biogas production and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The “USDN Triple Bottom Line Manual” can be downloaded via: www.sustainablecitiesinstitute.org (click Calculators under the Planning Center tab).
NRDC Report Chronicles 40 Percent Food Waste
According to a new study released by the Natural Resources Defense Council, 40 percent of the food produced in the United States goes uneaten, with much of it ending up in the landfill. The report by Dana Gunders focuses on reducing food loss throughout the supply chain, from “Farm to Fork.” Reducing the amount of food America wastes is critical. Equally critical is capturing the food that is wasted to build healthy soils and generate renewable energy. How? Don’t throw it away, says BioCycle on its website:
– Participate in your community’s food waste collection or drop off services. Close to 200 communities in the U.S. already offer food waste collection to residents.
– Use private household food waste collection services such as Compost Cab.
– Contact urban farms and community gardens in your town about accepting household food scraps for composting.
– Compost At Home. Many communities offer information on local options.
The NRDC report is available via www.biocycle.net/2012/08/nrdc-report, where you will also find links to BioCycle articles on these topics.
Extensive Study On Biochar And Compost Use
FERTIPLUS, a recently launched research consortium, is assisting the European Union in the design and implementation of innovative strategies and technologies for recycling of organic materials in agriculture. General objectives are to: Reduce and replace the application of mineral fertilizers and agrochemicals; and Stimulate industry to implement necessary and cost-effective organic waste treatment and recycling processes to produce safe compost and biochar that allow agriculture to improve the efficient utilization of nutrients. FERTIPLUS is focusing on nitrogen and phosphorus recuperation from urban and agricultural feedstock sources, including organic wastes from gardens and parks, households and residues from anaerobic digesters. The consortium has partners in Belgium, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.
In addition to the nutrients, the consortium will assess environmental impacts associated with use of compost and biochar. Researchers will study these products separately, as well as search for possible synergies. For example, the addition of biochar in composting mixtures will be evaluated as a strategy to reduce gaseous losses during composting, a characteristic that has been observed in soils. A key deliverable for the FERTIPLUS project will be a series of guidelines for the different materials produced in relation to the best application practices for effective and safe utilization of end products. http://www.fertiplus.eu