September 20, 2006 | General

BioCycle World

BioCycle September 2006, Vol. 47, No. 9, p. 6

Eight years after Yellowstone National Park celebrated its 125th anniversary, as the world’s first national park, a partnership was created with the EPA, the Montana and Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, the National Park Service and park commissioners that implemented an Environmental Management System (EMS). In 2005, the team conducted surveys asking employees (and concessioners) what they thought were the most important eco-concerns. An overwhelming majority identified solid waste management. Two reasons were cited: 1. Mismanagement of solid waste would lead to grizzly bear habituation; and 2. They wanted to share in the success of the newly constructed compost facility.
A program was developed to promote point source separation. Recycling combined with composting have achieved a 65 percent diversion rate of solid waste in 2005. The goal of the EMS team is a 90 percent diversion rate by 2008. Additionally, more than 1,400 tons of compost were produced in 2005.
Jim Evanoff of Yellowstone has provided the following update on the program: There are currently 63 recycling bins at the Park; Between 2003 and 2005, commodities collected increased 70 percent as major outreach went to many of the million visitors for collecting paper, cardboard, steel, plastic, aluminum and glass. A pilot project for residents involves separating compostable materials. Notes Evanoff: “The underlying reason for this success has been the partnering with public and private entities as well as surrounding municipalities.”
The Park and its concessioners continue using biodiesel and other alternative fuels in its vehicles; additionally, all diesel-powered vehicles use a 20 percent blend of canola-derived biodiesel. All public gas stations in Yellowstone sell only ethanol blended fuel. By using alternative fuels, the park has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 522 metric tons in 2005.
Sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the report – Biofuels for Transportation – assesses opportunities and risks with large-scale development of biofuels. Information is included from studies on biofuel use in Brazil, China, Germany, India and Tanzania. Biofuels could provide 37 percent of U.S. transport fuel within the next 25 years, and up to 75 percent if automobile fuel economy doubles. Biofuels could replace 20 to 30 percent of the oil used in European Union countries during the same time frame. “It is essential that government incentives be used to minimize competition between food and fuel crops and to discourage expansion onto economically valuable lands,” says Worldwatch Biofuels Project Manager Suzanne Hunt.
Policies to accelerate biofuels development – including use of municipal and agricultural wastes and cellulose-rich energy crops – are recommended in the report such as: Strengthening the market; Speeding transition to next-generation technologies; Protecting the resource base of ecosystem services; and Facilitating sustainable international biofuel trade. The report was released by The Worldwatch Institute in collaboration with the German Agencies for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and Renewable Resources (FNR). For more information on report, visit:
Umuarama, Brazil has warm – hot summers with tropical rainstorms and short but generally mild and moist winters, explains an article in the Autumn 2006 issue of Composting News, published quarterly by the Composting Association (CA) in the United Kingdom. Until the big freeze of 1975, coffee was the main crop of the region but cattle, cassava, cotton, soy beans, rice and recently sugar cane for ethanol have become dominant. Regarding organics recycling, studies have shown that 56 percent of the domestic/commercial waste is classified as organic – but is landfilled. However, constant pruning generates vast quantities of compostable green waste and has led to composting programs. Quoting former CA Director Douglas Boyle who recently toured the project, composting in Umuarama (pop. 93,000) follows the conventional static pile method – after shredding, the material is stacked in large static piles of up to three years with perhaps two turns; Coarsely shredded material gives an open structure and oversize material from screening is returned to the static pile. After screening at 12 mm, the product is blended with sandy soil. Typical values are pH 7.8, organic matter 20 percent, nitrogen 0.75 percent, phosphorous 0.5 percent, potassium 0.5 percent, calcium 3.5 percent.
Fertilized soils are principally in vegetables, but also for seedlings, flowers, tree seedlings; some outdoor crops are grown all year-round (lettuce, parsley and spring onion). All production goes directly to feed pupils in Umuarama schools; city-generated green residuals are recycled.
For 2006, food residuals from kitchens in schools, care homes and hospitals will be collected for use as feedstock. Future plans include collection from local supermarkets; in 2007, trial collection of household kitchen wastes will begin. Planned future developments will ensure an almost complete closure of the organics loop, getting as close to sustainable production as possible.
The primary goal of Pacific Ethanol, Inc. is to establish itself as a leader in production, marketing and sale of ethanol and other renewable fuels in the Western U.S. Established in 2003, the company is constructing a large-scale facility in Madera County, California, which by the fourth quarter of this year will produce over 35 million gallons of ethanol/year. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recently issued Executive Order S-06-06 which called for California to produce a minimum of 20 percent of its own biofuels by 2010 and 40 percent by 2020. Of the estimated 900 million gallons of ethanol consumed each year in California, only five percent is produced in the state.
The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is supporting Sen. Jim Jeffords’ (I-VT) bill, The Recycling Investment Saves Energy (RISE) Act, but urged revision to include financial incentives for local governments that do not pay federal income taxes and to expand coverage for composting equipment. SWANA also strongly suggests that equipment for composting organic solid waste be eligible for tax credits and accelerated depreciation. “To really increase recycling, equipment for composting operations should be included in the RISE bill,” writes SWANA Executive Director and CEO John Skinner. “Compostable materials make up nearly a third of the waste stream; however, the recycling rate for them, which is under 10 percent, is strikingly low as compared to the recycling rate for other materials that would be eligible for financial incentives under RISE.” Skinner believes that financial incentives should be extended to all members of the recycling community and incentives created for recycling a range of materials that would otherwise be sent for disposal. Coverage should be expanded to include composting equipment. SWANA has encouraged Jeffords to continue looking at ways in which financial incentives can be made available in both the private and public sectors. One way for composters to benefit would be for the supplier of the equipment to receive the tax credit or accelerated depreciation; then equipment purchasers public or private would benefit from lower prices.
A travel company is allowing customers to purchase “carbon offsets” when they buy a vacation package. The program called Go Zero allows clients to effectively “zero out” or offset the carbon emissions generated by their flight, car usage, etc. through a donation to The Conservation Fund, which then plants trees that absorb carbon dioxide. “We are very pleased to see a major travel company like Travelocity leading the charge to regenerate forests and wetlands, and also helps address climate change,” says Larry Selzer, president of The Conservation Fund. A contribution of $10 offsets an average trip including air travel, one-night hotel stay, and rental car. $25 negates air travel, four-night hotel stay, and rental car. All proceeds go to The Conservation Fund. Details can be found at travel firm is based in Southlake, Texas.
Paper recycling takes on a new role when it comes to cutting up personal records from such places as doctors’ offices, banks, investment firms, etc. One such paper recycling company is Just-N-Time Dynamics of New York founded by Stephanie Mack, a former hospital administrator. She takes her 800-pound industrial shredder mounted on a 26-foot-long truck to her clients’ location and then sells the shredded output to a paper recycler, reports Joseph Fried in the Job Market section of The New York Times.
Started in 2001, Just-N-Time is one of 1,500 to 2,000 companies offering document destruction services. “I always wanted to go into business for myself,” adding that her hospital work made her aware of the problem of disposing of records in compliance with privacy laws. After preparing a business plan with help from the New York State Small Business Development Center, she bought her mobile shredder – hiring an employee to run it. Total start-up expenses were approximately $200,000. After a slow start, sales have accelerated; revenues doubled in 2004 and again last year. She’s optimistic about similar increases this year.

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