Editorial: Why REFOR Now

Nora Goldstein, Editor, BioCycle

Nora Goldstein
BioCycle March/April 2014, Vol. 55, No. 3, p. 6

Over ten years ago, Jerome Goldstein — founder of BioCycle — floated the idea of a newsletter titled “BioCycle Energy.” We had been running the BioCycle Energy section in the magazine since the October 2002 issue, and Jerry believed the time could be right for a publication of that name to stand on its own. In his typical highly productive style, he banged out an issue of the newsletter on his typewriter, had it designed, and circulated the prototype for feedback. After much discussion, we decided that BioCycle Energy should remain a section in BioCycle.

I remember, as part of that decision making process, that we informally surveyed BioCycle subscribers who were primarily involved in composting. We asked if they read the articles in BioCycle Energy, found them of interest, and described the possibility of pulling the section out of the monthly magazine, and creating a separate newsletter. The majority of responses were the same — keep BioCycle Energy in the magazine. Many of these readers didn’t know if they would ever build an anaerobic digester to complement their composting operation, but they definitely wanted to stay informed.

By that time, The JG Press, Inc. had been holding BioCycle’s annual Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling (REFOR) Conference for several years. (We now have branded the conference name to BioCycle REFOR.)  Jerry always believed that conferences were a key part of our publishing company, providing an opportunity to get together in person, learn from each others experiences, bring in experts on relevant topics — and equally important, to help build the industry.

The synergy Jerry recognized early in his career between magazine publishing and conference organizing is working in terms of contributing to build an industry. Since the first BioCycle REFOR Conference in 2001, to this year’s BioCycle REFOR14 WEST Conference on April 7-10 in San Diego attendance has grown exponentially. And for several years now, our Exhibit Hall has sold out.  The formation of the American Biogas Council in 2010 was a strong indicator of an industry on the rise. Today, ABC has over 200 members and is growing steadily.

The BioCycle REFOR14 WEST Conference Preview section in this double issue of BioCycle (March/April) also illustrates the growth of the Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling industry. The Preview starts with an interview with Caroll Mortensen, Director of CalReycle, the state agency most directly involved with organics recycling (see page 29). Mortensen highlights a recent decision by Governor Jerry Brown to use $30 million of funds raised through the state’s Cap and Trade program to help build anaerobic digestion and composting infrastructure in California. Craig Coker discusses the compatibility of AD and composting, Peter Gorrie writes about the state of the Biogas Highway in the U.S., and then “AD In Action” articles feature new digester facilities in the U.S., Costa Rica and the United Kingdom.

So why REFOR now? Because Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling, combined with composting, source separated organics diversion, progressive public policies, utilization of compost and clean renewable energy, are where communities, states, provinces and countries need to be heading on as fast a track as possible. As you will learn in this month’s issue, and at BioCycle REFOR14 WEST, the toolbox is fully equipped to make your ride on the fast track smooth and successful!

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