April 27, 2009 | General

BioCycle World

BioCycle April 2009, Vol. 50, No. 4, p. 6

C&D Debris Generation On The Rise, But So Is Diversion
The USEPA reported data on 2003 construction and demolition (C&D) debris, an update of 1996 report. The findings show that approximately 170 million tons of building-related C&D materials were generated in the U.S. during 2003, a 25 percent increase in generation from the 1996 estimate of 136 million tons. During the same period, it was estimated that building construction increased 32 percent.
Of the 170 million tons generated, about 48 percent was estimated to be recovered, based on state-reported disposal and recovery data. This estimate is a 23 percent increase from the 1996 estimate. However, two factors potentially complicate these diversion statistics. First, the recovery rate may be an overestimate due to inclusion of materials that are from nonbuilding sources. Second, data limitations created the need for different methodologies in 1996 and 2003. The report notes that decreasing landfill space and an interest in green building will have a positive impact on the rates of recovery of C&D materials, and that until recently, the rise in commodity prices had a similar impact.
Carbon Neutral Festival
The 39th annual Bumbershoot, Seattle Washington’s music and arts festival, is expanding its green goals for 2009. At the 3-day event last year, food vendors collected preconsumer food waste and recycled used cooking grease, diverting about 2 tons of food waste and recycling 7.5 tons of other materials. This year, the festival is rolling out organics collection to postconsumer food waste, with bins for festival fans to toss in their compostables. A team of trained volunteers will help minimize contamination.
Bumbershoot is also encouraging the use of nondisposable water bottles, with new free water fill-up stations. Inside Memorial Stadium, personal disposable bottles are not permitted, while reusable bottles are allowed. For attendees arriving by car, Bumbershoot offers transportation offsets through NetGreen, a regional carbon offset partner. Also through NetGreen, Bumbershooot offsets festival artists’ roundtrip travel, which in 2008 amounted to 251.5 tons of GHGs. The credits will support regional projects, such as anaerobic digestion at dairies in Tillamook Bay, Oregon.
Power used at the festival is purchased from Seattle City Light, a net-zero energy provider relying on 95 percent renewable sourced power. Pike Place Market will offer local organic produce on the go. And soy-based inks will be used on 2009 tickets. For more information on the festival, visit
GHG Credits For Composting In Canada
The Canadian Composting Council (CCC), with support from Blue Source Canada, is developing a greenhouse gas (GHG) protocol to quantify composting’s impact on emissions reductions. This is intended to lead to a federal review process for a Canadian offset program, which in turn could provide GHG offset credits for composting facilities, and hence an additional revenue source. “As part of the completion of this protocol initiative, the CCC envisions the creation of a GHG offset calculator that can be used by individual composting facilities to determine their reduction impact, helping in their assessment of potential financial gains from offset trading,” says Susan Antler, Executive Director of CCC, in the February/March 2009 issue of Solid Waste & Recycling. She notes that verifiable data and measurement are key steps in the process of having GHG offset credits translate into dollars in the bank for individual composting programs.
British Compost Standard To Be Reviewed
WRAP, BSI British Standards and the Association for Organics Recycling are reviewing the compost standard BSI PAS 100. The standard was first published in 2002, and updated in 2005, to assure customers they were purchasing quality compost that met certain criteria. “Given recent rapid increases in compost production, it is vital that compost users have confidence in the product,” says Dr. Richard Swannell, WRAP’s Director of retail and organics. “BSI PAS 100 provides the benchmark for product quality, and this review should ensure that customer confidence remains high.” The new draft will be available for public comment in spring 2009, with a final document expected to be published in late summer 2009.
Food Waste Newsletter And Blog
LeanPath, Inc. recently launched a blog and an electronic newsletter devoted to news about food waste reduction. The company provides food waste tracking software and data collection tools to the food service industry. The blog, “Food Waste Focus,” discusses food waste trends and news items. One post tells of how Starbucks is reducing waste, and plans on saving $400 million per year by not continuously brewing decaf coffee after 12 Noon. Another post forecasts a decline in salad bars, which are identified as a high volume source of produce waste. Check it out at:
The newsletter, “Food Waste Flyer,” can be downloaded from LeanPath’s website. The most recent edition includes source reduction discussions and conference and events announcements on food waste management in the service industry. For more information about LeanPath’s tracking software, and its new blog and newsletter, visit:
BioCycle Renewable Energy Conference – Call For Papers
BioCycle’s 9th Annual Conference on Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling is being held October 19-21, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Call for Papers is open through June 1, 2009. Topics to be covered include: Anaerobic digestion of agricultural, municipal and industrial waste streams; Electricity and natural gas markets for biogas; Processing FOG, food waste in wastewater treatment plant digesters; Models to raise tariffs for power purchases; Biofuels research updates; Upgrading biogas for vehicle fuels; Cellulosic ethanol developments; Regulations, permitting and public policy updates; Biogas upgrade technologies review; Preparing substrates for anaerobic digestion; Bedding and composite products from digestate; Building transmission infrastructure for renewable energy plant outputs; Combined heat and power opportunities; Project financing; and Best management practices for anaerobic digesters. Please submit abstracts – 250 words or less – to Celeste Madtes, Conference Coordinator. Presenters will be notified by July 1, 2009.
Carbon Credits Overview And Guidelines
Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions might soon be regulated in the U.S. (see Sally Brown’s column on page 76). Although carbon credits are currently voluntary in the U.S., there is discussion of a federal cap and trade policy. Environmental credit markets are already well established in other countries, and will undoubtedly become more prominent in the U.S.
A new white paper from BIOFerm™ Energy Systems provides a valuable overview of what exactly carbon credits are, and how they relate to GHG reduction, climate change and renewable energy. BioFERM is a provider of biogas plants that recover energy from organic waste and biomass. The report, titled “Carbon Economy In A Changing Environment,” is authored by Sara Williams of BIOFerm, and offers an overview of the carbon market, including a glossary of terms.
It briefly describes climate change and GHGs, and how various environmental credits can be part of the solution. It discusses voluntary and mandatory systems, with examples of existing programs in each category (e.g. Chicago Climate Exchange versus European Union Emissions Trading System), and what to expect in the U.S. for future carbon markets. The white paper can be downloaded at:
Rotary Drum, Mortality Composting Conferences
The 6th Annual In-Vessel Users Meeting will be held at the Delaware County Solid Waste Management and Compost Facility in Walton, New York, on June 16 and 17, 2009. The two-day event includes meetings and facility tours.
The 3rd International Symposium on Management of Animal Carcasses, Tissue & Related Byproducts will be held at the University of California, Davis, from July 21-23, 2009. The three-day conference includes hands-on workshops and demonstrations of available carcass composting and disposal technology.
Greening The Movie Industry
During the 44-day filming of the Cohen Brothers’ new film, “A Serious Man,” 80 percent of the 14 tons of trash produced were diverted, reports Shannon Schaefer, production secretary on the film, and founder of a new company, EcoSet Consulting. With the cooperation of the Cohens and FOCUS Features studio, 74 percent of the waste was compostable, with all food waste captured, including meat, bones, dairy and corn-based compostable cutlery. The filming took place in Minneapolis, and Boone Trucking hauled the materials to Eureka Recycling.
An estimated 10,000 plastic bottles were avoided by providing water stations and reusable bottles. Unused film and set props were also recycled or reused. “I know how hard it can be,” says Schaefer in an ABC news item. “But if you have the prep time, if you know you’re doing it in advance and that you just have to implement some new systems, it’s not that difficult… You can sit and talk about it all you want, but if you don’t do something, then you’re part of the problem.”
Refining Technologies Tested On Oilseed Crops
The Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, will launch a project to evaluate refining technologies for commercial production of diesel, jet and other fuels from the state’s oilseed crops. The project received $500,000 from the North Dakota Industrial Commission, and another $500,000 from the U.S. Department of Defense.
The project will be conducted at Tesoro Corporation’s oil refinery in Mandan, North Dakota. Tesoro operates seven petroleum oil refineries, primarily in the western U.S. EERC technologies convert crop oils to renewable fuels that are essentially indistinguishable from their petroleum-derived counterparts, which could potentially be produced at Tesoro’s facilities and distributed using existing networks. “Our role in the project is to provide technical support to the EERC in evaluating technologies and designing a process demonstration facility that would be fully integrated with our existing production capabilities,” says Rick Weyen, Tesoro Vice President, Development — North America.
Food Waste Generation Data Online
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) recently added two new documents to its website that provide useful information on food waste generation in the state. Both documents are based on a study completed for MassDEP in 2002, titled “Identification, Characterization & Mapping of Food Waste & Food Waste Generators in Massachusetts,” which is also available on the website. The first document is an Excel spreadsheet that contains key data on all of the food waste generators identified in the study, including business name and type, location, and, in many cases, estimated generation quantities. This can readily be used for GIS mapping and analysis. The second document is a map that shows the major food waste generators in Massachusetts, giving a statewide perspective of their distribution across the state. The website address is:
New Applications For Quality Compost In UK
WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) has announced new trials and studies to begin in 2009 to demonstrate the financial, practical and environmental benefits of using quality compost in applications ranging from green roofs to growing biofuel crops on regenerated brownfield lands.
Surrey-based BioRegional will use quality compost as a planting medium for green roofs. Trials will be conducted at the new 2012 Olympic Park, with green roofs planned for both the International Broadcast Centre and Media Press Centre.
Manchester-based Peel Holdings will use 520 metric tons of quality compost to promote healthier soil and build a healthy ecosystem at its Frodsham Deposit Grounds, a former disposal site for material dredged from the Manchester Ship Canal in Lancashire. The improved topsoil will then be planted with coppice willow. (For more on remediation of contaminated land with compost for bioenergy crops, see “Biomass Production On Marginal Land,” BioCycle December 2008.)
Further trials include application of compost for combating soil erosion, and aiding slop stabilization. “We’ve already proven that quality compost is a practical, cost-effective material that can bring a host of desirable benefits to a wide variety of commercial landscaping and regeneration projects,” says Paul Mathers, Landscape and Regeneration Program Manager at WRAP. “This new set of trials builds on this work and will help us gain a greater understanding of just how versatile this unique recycled product can be.”

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