BioCycle May 2014, Vol. 55, No. 4, p. 6
Call For Papers: BioCycle East Coast Conference
The Call for Papers is open for BioCycle East Coast Conference 2014, October 27-30, at the Turf Valley Resort near Baltimore, Maryland. The Conference, with four tracks of sessions, will focus on critical topics that include composting and anaerobic digestion; markets for compost and biogas; food recovery and recycling; local and state organics diversion mandates, incentives and bans; green infrastructure for storm water and nutrient management; project permitting, siting and financing; and odor and nuisance controls. Related topics, including current research, feedstock sourcing and preprocessing, zero waste policies and programs and use of biogas as vehicle fuel, will also be covered. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words. Deadline for abstract submittal is July 15, 2014.
BioCycle East Coast Conference 2014 will include preconference workshops on October 27, two days of sessions and exhibits on October 28-29 and site tours on October 30. Expected tour stops include area composting, anaerobic digestion, green infrastructure and food scraps diversion projects. Abstracts can be submitted at: www.BioCycleEastCoast.com.
Composting Project Podcasts
Compostory.org, a nonprofit organization based in Malmo, Sweden, introduced an online learning platform on organic waste management for local governments, farmers and recyclers in 2013. The course covers separate collection of organic materials, biodigesting and composting. Recently, Compostory.org launched “The Organic Stream,” a new podcast series (http://wn.com/Organic). The weekly audio show is intended to inspire and report on the latest stories from the field by interviewing international experts on their respective projects. “We were looking for a format that would keep our audience abreast of the various resource recovery projects currently developing around the world,” says Camille Duran, Compostory.org’s executive director. “It is vital to spread success stories and expert insights in this area, and this podcast series will complement the online lessons very well because listeners will hear about practical cases and receive peer-advice from the field.”
Eleen Murphy hosts the podcast episodes, and also coproduces the series. “The interview format is powerful because it gives a voice to change agents in our societies,” says Murphy. “We’re aiming to engage and uplift our listeners by focusing on the positive changes that are happening around the world regarding organics recycling.” Podcasts can be heard via iTunes by subscribing to the series.
Funding Available For California Organics Recyclers
CalRecycle recently issued the Notice of Funding Availability for Fiscal Year 2014/15 and released the online application for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Organics Grant Program. The stated purpose of this competitive grant program is to lower overall greenhouse gas emissions by expanding existing capacity or establishing new facilities in California to reduce the amount of California-generated green materials, food materials, and/or alternative daily cover being sent to landfills, explains the state agency. A total of $30 million in funding for the grants was included in Governor Jerry Brown’s draft Fiscal Year 2014/15 budget, to provide financial incentives for capital investments in composting/anaerobic digestion infrastructure and recycling manufacturing facilities that will result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The application due date is July 1, 2014. For more information regarding eligibility and program criteria, and to obtain a copy of the application packet, visit the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Grant and Loan Program website at: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/Climate/GrantsLoans/
Blog Promotes Soil Benefits To Public
The more than 6,000 members of the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), based in Madison, Wisconsin, work together to share knowledge and strategies for sustaining global soil and advancing the field of soil science. The SSSA provides members with materials ranging from research-based publications to educational programs about soils in relation to crop production, environmental quality, ecosystem sustainability, bioremediation, waste management, recycling and wise land use. Its newest initiative, however — Soils Matter blog — reaches beyond the organization to educate the public about soil, and its importance in daily life. “The air people breathe, food they eat, water they drink, clothes they wear, and places they live, all depend on soil,” states Clay Robinson, a regular contributor to the Soils Matter blog. The blog format is designed to bridge the gap between the science community and the general public. “We wanted to create a blog so our members can communicate real soil information and answer questions,” explains Jan Hopmans, president of SSSA. Past blog topics include tips on soil testing and what the impact of this year’s severe winter may be on the summer growing season. To view the Soils Matter blog, visit http://soilsmatter.wordpress.com/.
Recycling And Behavior Change
How do you get more people to recycle and how can those people who already are recycling be prompted to waste less and recycle more? Anyone involved with delivering a waste collection service or materials recycling program has asked these questions. What works best? Smaller waste bins and less frequent collections? Penalties for not recycling, or rewards for doing the right thing? Although a definitive answer still does not appear to be forthcoming, a new study called Investigating the Impact of Recycling Incentive Schemes presents an interesting and timely run through the questions.
Released in January 2014, the report by Eunomia Research & Consultancy in Bristol, England, explores the effect of incentives and reward schemes on recycling rates in over 30 boroughs across the United Kingdom (mostly England and Wales). “To date, there has been no proper examination or scrutiny of their [rewards schemes] performance, nor debate as to their ability to contribute towards our local and national recycling goals,” the Eunomia study says. The work was commissioned by Serco, a private company that performs a range of public services for local authorities and national governments in the UK and elsewhere. In England and Wales, the current government has clearly shown its support for reward schemes as opposed to more punitive measures, establishing a £2 million British Pound Sterling ($3.3 million USD) “Reward and Recognition fund” to provide cash to authorities for investing in recycling incentives.
The research presented in this report seems to indicate that reward schemes can have an impact in some circumstances, but that the effects are variable. Because of data constraints, researchers were only able to consider detailed tonnage impacts of reward schemes in five authorities. (To clarify, an “authority” is a governing body responsible for overseeing certain sectors, in this instance waste, and “residual” waste refers to waste that is nonrecyclable.) “Three of these five schemes saw an increase in residual tonnage impact (as opposed to the hoped for decrease) …[respectively a] 1, 3 and 7 percent increase in tonnages in the year following the introduction of the rewards for recycling. In the two schemes where a decrease in residual waste is seen, the changes are more significant with a reduction in residual tonnage of 10 and 17 percent. An increase in recycling tonnages was found in three out of the five authorities following the introduction of the reward scheme.”
The study notes that, “Given the possibility that reward schemes don’t strongly incentivize resident participation in recycling collection services [and thus tonnage],” perhaps there are “…better ways to drive up recycling.” While not comprehensively reviewing all possibilities, the authors present a comparison between the impact of reward schemes and what they call “residual squeeze” (i.e., reducing the size of the residents trash bins). The tables presented in the report show, unsurprisingly, that “…authorities who introduce residual capacity restrictions tend, fairly reliably, to achieve much greater tonnage performance impacts than authorities which introduce reward schemes.”
Other features of this 97-page report include the review of UK cities that have tried a version of US-based Recyclebank’s Home Recycling Scheme and a discussion of what residents think about reward schemes in their area. Appendices include an overview and case studies of international reward schemes of varying design, including deposit-refund systems and Pay As You Throw (PAYT). A link to the full report is available in the online version of this item.
EU Passes Legislation On Single-Use Bag Reductions
On April 16, the European Parliament passed the European Directive on carrier bags, introduced by the Environmental Commission (EC) on November 4, 2013, with an overwhelming majority. The legislation sets clear benchmarks for reduction of single-use shopping bags: 50 percent by 2017, and 80 percent by
2019 (2010 statistics are used as the baseline for reductions). A key facet of the directive is that it recognizes Member States may utilize different strategies and take alternate routes to achieve an overall reduction in plastic bags. It also does not undermine any countries that already have requirements on single-use bags. For example, countries with bans on single-use bags, like Italy, may keep the ban in place. The ruling also includes language on compostable bags, stating that because these products are found to have a reduced negative impact on the environment as cimpared to conventional plastic bags (when considering entire lifecycle of both products), Member States with source separated organics are encouraged to switch the remaining single-use bags to compostable materials.
Leaders in the compostable bag industry have commended the report for its progressive thinking and encouragement of products designed to be inherently less bad for the environment. “This ruling is a historical turning point because the European Parliament has for the first time introduced a rule aimed at minimizing the production of waste and at the same time incentivizing models that mimic biological systems to keep resources in circulation,” announced Catia Bastioli, CEO of Novamont, a compostable resin manufacturer.
Sustaining Agriculture, Energy Website
The Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR) at Washington State University has been working for over two decades to bring sustainable solutions to the citizens and agricultural industry of Washington State. “Our role as a university center has matured since the Center was founded from being the ‘go-to place’ for information on sustainable agriculture production practices to that of being a catalyst for cutting edge research and education on the critical issues facing agriculture, such as climate change, energy and water security, and improving technology and management knowledge that will make all of our agricultural production systems more sustainable,” notes Chad Kruger, Director of CSANR. Recently, the center revamped its website to provide a more user-friendly experience and enable site users to join the agriculture and sustainability conversation. There is an extensive publications library organized by topic and fully browsable and searchable, an interactive multi- author blog to participate in, program descriptions, news and announcements and webinar offerings. Visit http://csanr.wsu.edu/