BioCycle World

BioCycle June 2013, Vol. 54, No. 6, p. 6

BioCycle’s REFOR13 Call For Papers

The Call for Papers for BioCycle’s 13th Annual Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling — REFOR13 — October 20-23, 2013 in Columbus, Ohio is open until July 15. Sessions are being organized around all facets of anaerobic digestion of organic waste streams: Facility siting and capitalization; Feedstock sourcing, collection and preprocessing; Optimizing management of AD systems to increase biogas production and high quality digestate; REFOR13, BioCycle Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling ConferenceBiogas conditioning and utilization, e.g., as renewable CNG vehicle fuel; and Composting and nutrient recovery. REFOR13 features a dedicated track on food recovery and recycling, starting with source reduction and donation, followed by diversion to composting and anaerobic digestion. For more details on the Call for Papers, and to submit an abstract, go to www.biocycleenergy.com. And coming soon on the REFOR13 website — announcments of keynote speakers, tours on Wednesday, October 23, and details about the preconference workshops on October 20.

RecycleMania Yields 90 Million Pounds Of Organics And Recyclables

The 13th Annual RecycleMania Tournament, which harnesses the competitive spirit around sports rivalries and uses them to increase campus recycling and waste reduction, had 523 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada participating in the eight-week competition in which schools are ranked according to how much recycling, trash and food waste they collect. Between the February 3rd kickoff and the tournament’s final day on March 30th, participating schools collectively recovered 90.3 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, preventing the release of nearly 121,436 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere. Rankings are updated weekly over the 8-week period, enabling schools to track their performance in eight categories such as overall recycling by weight, lowest amount of total waste and per capita recovery for paper, cardboard, cans and bottles, and food waste.

The colleges and universities that took home top prizes in the three primary categories are: “Grand Champion” (percentage of overall waste that is recycled): University of Missouri-Kansas City (86.02%); “Per Capita Classic” (total pounds of recyclables collected per person): California State University-San Marcos (53.11 lbs.); “Waste Minimization” (lowest recyclables and trash per person): Valencia Community College (3.20 lbs). The RecycleMania Tournament is an independent program of RecycleMania, Inc., a nonprofit organization led by recycling managers from participating schools. The program is managed by Keep America Beautiful with additional support from the U.S. EPA’s WasteWise program and the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC). This year, RecycleMania also partnered with the United Negro College Fund Special Programs (UNCFSP) and Campus Conservation National (CCN). Detailed results are available at www.recyclemania.org.

U.S. Areas Most Threatened By Water Shortages

When forming a laundry list of benefits for organics recycling, the ability of compost to increase water absorption and retention when applied to soils tends to be among the top advantages. This fact is even more relevant in light of a new study conducted by the Columbia University Water Center in conjunction with Veolia Water and Growing Blue. Entitled “America’s Water Risk: Water Stress and Climate Variability,” the report documents that in counties throughout the United States, water demand is exceeding supply and continuing to grow, threatening development of businesses and other economic ventures within these regions. The study also factors in how climate change may increase drought in some regions, further complicating issues of water supply and demand. The inclusion of drought in the study is important, note the authors, because many studies focus on just water scarcity, underestimating the effect prolonged drought in the face of climate change can have on the sustainability of water resources.

“America’s Water Risk” utilizes the Normalized Deficit Cumulated (NDC) index — a new water research metric that takes into consideration historical precipitation records coupled with the current water use pattern for U.S. counties — to paint an accurate picture of the difference between water use and water availability. Washington, D.C., New York City and Los Angeles are among the top areas of concern, with affected populations estimated in the range of 40 million Americans. The breadbasket regions of Nebraska, Illinois and Minnesota, responsible for almost 40 percent of the nation’s corn, are also on the list of threatened regions. To learn more about the study, visit http://growingblue.com.

Brewery Syncs With Local Farmers

Orlando Brewing Company in Orlando, Florida first opened its doors early in 2000. In 2004, John Cheek, President, and Ed Canty, Brewer, obtained ownership of Orlando Brewing. Less than a year later, the property had to be turned over to the state of Florida under an eminent domain provision. It took over a year, but in April 2006, the brewery reopened at its current location just south of downtown Orlando, tucked in an industrial area between a hospital supply building and a recycling plant. The transition was difficult, but in the process, a mistaken delivery led to a total reorientation of Orlando Brewing Company (OBC).

“During our transition in our eminent domain action, we had 15 months to think about how we wanted our next brewery to look and feel,” recalls John Cheek. “The organic market was just getting started and we wanted to make a difference. Upon trying the organic grains, it was evident that they were more efficient, i.e., they had a higher level of conversion and yield. This meant more sugar could be extracted from less grain. Despite the high cost, they give our beers better, more complex flavors and help to define the hop characteristics. We’ve brewed with nothing but organic since we opened April 7, 2006.” In 2006, Orlando Brewing Company (OBC) received its organic certification and is the only U.S.D.A. certified organic brewery south of Vermont and east of Colorado, adds Cheek.

OBC brews an average of 6,400 gallons of craft beer every month, generating twelve 55-gallon drums of organic spent grain each week. High in fiber and protein and free of GMOs, pesticides and insecticides, the spent grain is donated to local farmers as an alternative to store bought feed. “The animals love it,” attests Ben Walter, manager of Hermitage Farms in DeLand. Walter is one of the farmers seen regularly at the brewery for grain pick-up. The grains are fed to cows, goats, pigs, chickens and one turkey. In exchange, he often provides OBC employees with free-range eggs, milk and fresh vegetables. The spent grain has effectively cut Walter’s feed price in half and helps reduce the cost to move toward organic agriculture.

Relatively new to the farming industry, Walter is exploring niches. He has started to grow a variety of mushrooms using a combination of wood chips and spent grain to foster growth of mycelium. He has also successfully composted the spent grain via static piles and vermicomposting. ”The high nitrogen levels in the spent grain are optimal for speeding the decomposition of our high carbon, low nitrogen residuals such as corn and sorghum stalks from our crops,” he explains. “The compost is used to help grow a wide range of vegetables.”

Orlando Brewing continues to seek ways to reduce its waste. After yeast has completed converting sugar into alcohol it flocculates, clumping together and sinking to the bottom of the fermentation tank. The material is removed and a portion is discarded. OBC is exploring uses for this protein, yeast and fat laden liquid, including donating it to another local farmer seeking to generate black soldier fly composting colonies. — Mary McGinn

National Sustainable Resource Management Certification

If an individual with a vested interest in resource management were asked whether an aluminum container could be recycled, chances are very high they would answer with an exclamatory yes. But what about more specific questions regarding the recycling waste stream, such as the role of recycling in spurring economic development or the lifecycle analysis of recyclable materials. Responses to these inquiries would likely cause more mental strain, even for highly trained recyclers. To address this situation, the New Mexico Recycling Coalition (NMRC) teamed up with the Recycling Organizations of North America and the National Recycling Coalition to offer a training program for “anyone wishing to become a leader in discard management and interested in the sustainability field.” New Mexico is among the first states in the nation to offer such a training program.

Graduates of the program receive a National Sustainable Resource Management Professionals Certification that is accredited through Penn State University Altoona. The certification provides comprehensive training on a number of pertinent topics in the recycling and waste diversion industry, such as compliance issues, the economics of recycling, and incentive programs like Pay-As-You-Throw. To receive the certification, individuals must complete 30 classroom hours of training and final examinations. The standards for the National Certification are consistent throughout the United States, so attendees are ensured that what they are learning is the same as what professionals are being educated on throughout the country. To learn more about the National Certification, visit www.recyclenewmexico.com.

Food Waste Dehydrators Assessment

CalRecycle posted a webpage on food waste dehydrators in May to assist California businesses and institutions that generate large quantities of food waste in evaluating whether this type of technology is appropriate for their operations. The webpage explains that these dehydrators “shred food waste and use heat to evaporate moisture. The residual is dried food waste, which is a pulpy mass dry to the touch.” CalRecycle emphasizes that “dried food waste is not compost or a compost product. Food waste dehydrators do not use a biological process to reduce pathogens and decompose food waste into a stable substance. If it becomes wet again, the dried food waste can reabsorb water. At this point, it will have similar characteristics to unprocessed food waste, meaning it can attract vectors and create odors.”

The webpage notes that California’s regulations do not define dehydrated food waste any differently than unprocessed food waste; “it is considered a solid waste and must be handled as such.” The agency adds that this material can be a feedstock at a composting facility, or in small quantities, composted where it is produced. It also may have value as an ingredient for animal feed or fertilizer, which is regulated by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The page can be viewed at www.calrecycle.ca.gov/organics/food/dehydrators.htm.

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