BioCycle World

BioCycle December 2014, Vol. 55, No. 11, p. 6

Sustainable Super Bowl XLIX

As the city of Phoenix, Arizona prepares to host several Super Bowl XLIX-related parties in January, the Phoenix Public Works Department is just as busy preparing to establish a first-ever, sustainable element to the Super Bowl experience. In partnership with the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee and Super Bow XLIX, the first Reduced Waste Challenge will be established within Super Bowl Central, an area in the heart of downtown Phoenix where thousands can attend parties and family-friendly activities for 10 days leading up to the big game. The goal of the Challenge is to divert 80 percent of waste from landfills by encouraging vendors, business owners and attendees to use compostable and recyclable materials, as well as reusable items such as take-home plastic cups and bottles. Phoenix Public Works will provide three types of collection containers throughout Super Bowl Central for trash, recycling and composting, as well as do all the collection within the boundaries of that downtown area. Volunteers will be placed at defined checkpoints to assist attendees in sorting into the appropriate containers. Materials recovered will be transported to a city-owned solid waste facility to be sorted and processed.

“Phoenix is fully committed to recycling, and the Super Bowl is a great opportunity to take this challenge to a national level,” says Mayor Greg Stanton. In 2013, the Mayor and City Council introduced Reimagine Phoenix, the city’s sustainability initiative with a goal to divert 40 percent of citywide trash from the landfill by 2020. Reimagine Phoenix has three focus areas: 1) Education and community outreach; 2) New and enhanced solid waste programs; and 3) Private and public partnerships. Public Works’ involvement with Super Bowl Central encompasses all three focus areas, but more importantly, serves as a testing ground for the next big solid waste program the city has to offer. “In July, we launched two new solid waste programs — Save As You Reduce and Recycle (SAY R&R), a pay-as-you-throw program, and a curbside green organics collection program,” notes John Trujillo, Public Works director. “These programs make it more convenient for our customers to recycle and divert waste. The next big step for us is to implement an expanded composting program to help our customers reduce the amount of food scraps and yard waste that is taken to the landfill.”

The Reduced Waste Challenge at Super Bowl Central will function as a pilot to test the city’s collection and disposal operations for the expanded green organics collection program that could include a food scraps component in the near future. Phoenix is in the process of designing a state-of-the-art composting facility at its transfer station that will process yard trimmings and food scraps. The lessons learned from the Reduced Waste Challenge will help design a successful food scraps composting program for the city.


BioCycle West Coast Conference 2015 Update

The Call for Papers for the 29th Annual BioCycle West Coast Conference 2015, April 13-16, 2015 in Portland, Oregon, is open until December 31. The theme for BioCycle West Coast Conference 2015 is Building Climate Resilient Communities — bringing together industry stakeholders and public officials to advance the use of organics recycling processes and products to build resilient infrastructure and thriving economies. Among the “hot topics” identified in conversations with private and public sector organics recyclers in the Pacific Northwest are: Critical control points in source separated organics collection to dramatically reduce contaminants; Effectiveness of organics bans and every-other-week trash collection; Reducing costs, improving efficiencies of organics processing; Building high value agricultural markets for compost, digestate and nutrients; and Building coalitions with multiple industry sectors in order to “bring organics recycling to scale”.

Go to to submit abstracts for presentations at BioCycle West Coast Conference 2015 on these topics, along with others suggested in the Call For Papers. Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words. The agenda, including preconference workshops, sessions and all-day tours, will be available in January.

USCC Board Election Results

The US Composting Council announced election results for the 2015 Board Of Directors. Three new members — Clayton Leonard, New Earth Inc., Tim Goodman, Natureworks and Robert Michtisch, Professor, Soils Department, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point— replace outgoing board members Sally Brown, University of Washington, Ron Alexander, R. Alexander and Associates and Mike Whitt, a composting consultant. Returning board members are Patrick Geraty, St. Louis Composting, Wayne King Sr., Erth Products, Jeff Ziegenbein, Inland Regional Compost Authority and Matt Cotton, Integrated Waste Management Consulting. The USCC Board elected new officers as well, effective on January 1, 2015: President: Rod Tyler, Filtrexx, Inc.; Vice President: Patrick Geraty, St. Louis Composting; Treasurer: Brian Fleury, WeCare Organics; Secretary: Rhodes Yepsen, Novamont; and Immediate Past President: Lorrie Loder, Synagro.

CalRecycle Announces Organics Recycling Grant Awards

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) announced recipients of its newly established greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction grants funded by proceeds from the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. In all, $19.5 million has been earmarked for construction of new facilities, expansion of existing facilities, and equipment upgrades to process greater amounts of recycled materials. The grants are awarded based primarily on contributions to the state’s GHG reduction targets. The projects are also important in achieving California’s statewide goal of 75 percent recycling, composting and source reduction by 2020. “These projects will directly reduce GHG emissions by keeping material out of landfills through composting, recycling and waste prevention,” CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen said. “By providing financial incentives for capital investment, we can expand the infrastructure needed to divert more material to secondary uses, which will help create jobs and strengthen our ability to manage materials to their highest and best uses.”

CalRecycle allocated $14.5 million for organics projects and $5 million for fiber, plastic and glass projects. CalRecycle worked closely with the state’s Air Resources Board, which is responsible for California’s cap-and-trade program. Proceeds from cap-and-trade program fund the programs supported by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. Grant applicants were required to be new or expanded infrastructure projects, calculate greenhouse gas reductions, reduce landfill disposal, and include a thorough work plan including a readiness to move forward quickly. Preference points were given to projects that benefit disadvantaged communities as recently designated by the California Environmental Protection Agency for the purpose of investing GHG reduction funds. Five of the eight projects are located in disadvantaged communities, and approximately 55 percent of the $19.5 million will be used in those areas.

The five entities (out of 51 applicants) selected under CalRecycle’s Organics Grant Program (maximum of $3 million/ project) are:

CR&R Incorporated (Perris): $3 million to expand its current anaerobic digestion facility at the Perris Transfer Station and Materials Recovery Facility, doubling processing capacity and resulting in diversion of an additional 229 tons/day of food waste and yard trimmings. Coproducts include renewable natural gas for vehicle fuel and compost.

Colony Energy Partners, LLC (Tulare and Fresno): $2.9 million to build high solids anaerobic codigestion facility to divert more than 110,000 tons/year of organics. Biogas will be injected into the natural gas grid and distributed through an on-site fueling station. As part of the project, Fresno Metro Ministry will expand the Fresno Food Recovery Network and divert an additional 65 tons of edible food/year.

Mid Valley Disposal, Inc. (Kerman): $3 million for a new covered, aerated static pile composting operation at its materials recovery facility and transfer station, diverting an additional 42,100 tons/year from disposal.

Recology East Bay Organics (Oakland and San Francisco): $3 million for processing equipment to extract organic material intermingled with mixed solid waste — expected to divert an additional 20,400 tons/year. Recovered organics will be anaerobically digested and used to power the East Bay Municipal Utility District wastewater treatment plant.

Burrtec Waste Industries, Inc. (Victorville): $2.5 million to build a covered, aerated static pile composting operation and a mixed waste processing facility. An additional 30,800 tons/year of organics are projected to be diverted.

Food Waste Reduction Alliance

Straight Talk On Wasted Food

The Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA), an initiative jointly established by the Food Marketing Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Restaurant Association in 2011, has been working with BSR (Businesses for Social Responsibility) to collect more accurate measurements on the volume of food waste being produced by the sectors its members represent — manufacturing, retail and food service. FWRA and BSR collected data directly from participating companies. The result has been a series of studies that aims to benchmark and track the progress of FWRA sectors against their goal of reducing food waste.

Packaging Survey Finds Growing Interest In Compostable Products

An “ever-evolving” foodservice packaging supply chain was examined in the Foodservice Packaging Institute’s (FPI) 2014 Trends Survey that tracks packaging, raw materials, machinery, distribution and operations. According to FPI’s Trends Report, released in November, foodservice packaging trends focused on both the environmental attributes as well as the “look” of containers. “Demand for products that can be recycled and/or composted continued, with perhaps a greater interest this year in compostable products, which could be the result of a growing number of food waste diversion initiatives throughout the foodservice industry,” reports FPI. Trends in the operations category found that foodservice operators are looking to differentiate themselves from the competition with healthier menu offerings, sustainability initiatives and their packaging.

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