May 27, 2009 | General

BioCycle World

BioCycle May 2009, Vol. 50, No. 5, p. 5

Wayne King, President of the Board of the U.S. Composting Council (USCC), presented Jerome Goldstein, founder of BioCycle, with a newly created Lifetime Achievement Award during the 50th Anniversary Gala Dinner Celebration in San Diego on April 29, 2009. The Jerome Goldstein Lifetime Achievement Award was “established to recognize those who have achieved excellence in their field of study and to honor those who have made significant contributions over their professional career to the field of environmental stewardship and natural resource sustainability.” King announced and described the Award at the Plenary Session, “Celebrating The Pioneers,” during the BioCycle International Conference 2009. The presentation during the Gala included a plaque made out of sustainably-grown bamboo. “The Board of Directors felt very strongly about coming up with a unique way of acknowledging Jerry’s accomplishments and contributions to the industry,” says King. “Although the USCC issues several awards each year, the Lifetime Achievement Award will only be awarded on occasions when an individual’s accomplishments during the course of their career are truly exceptional and have a lasting effect on the industry and its future.” The USCC also contributed $10,000 to the Composting Council Research and Education Foundation in recognition of Jerome Goldstein and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The Organic Recovery and Biological Treatment (ORBIT) Association is holding a specialty conference, “Biomass and Organic Waste as Sustainable Resources,” November 19 to 21, 2009 in Beijing, China. “China and Asia are starting to become an emerging market for biological waste management where technology, research and development is practiced and needed,” notes the conference’s brochure. As a first joint conference between ORBIT and China Agricultural University, the conference will cover composting and compost application, biogas, biomass recovery, biofuels, integrated utilization of organic waste and other issues. The conference “will be a high level platform where top international experts and the Chinese researchers and decision makers will discuss, share their experience and foster a more close cooperation for future development,” note the organizers. The deadline for the Call for Papers is June 20, 2009. Details are available at


Among the thrills of BioCycle’s 50th Anniversary celebration in San Diego, California last month was a gift presented during the Gala Dinner on April 29th on behalf of all the composting associations around the world. Susan Antler, director of the Composting Council of Canada, and Stuart Buckner, director of the U.S. Composting Council, unveiled a limited edition print by Graham Clarke called “Ramblers’ Road Apples.” The hand-etched drawing depicts Clarke’s vision of his grandparent’s country cottage and garden in England where “Grandpa had his allotment to grow vegetables and, of course, a compost heap.” In the note accompanying the print, he writes, “‘Ramblers’ Road Apples?’ Look carefully and find the small boy with bucket and coal shovel, it’s me, on duty to recycle the commodity so conveniently provided by the carrier’s horse. One of my American collectors taught me this charming expression and it has slipped into our family vocabulary for us to recycle.”
BioCycle extends its thanks and warmest wishes to all the councils, including the Association for Organics Recycling, Cré-Composting Association of Ireland, Compost Australia, Composting Council of Canada, European Compost Network, Japan Organics Recycling Association, U.S. Composting Council, and W. Gregory Vogt, International Solid Waste Association.


The Board of Directors of the National Recycling Coalition, Inc. (NRC) announced that it is pursuing a formal relationship with Keep America Beautiful, Inc. (KAB) as an alternative to ceasing operations. “We are unified in our support for this decision, which was reached only after many months of careful consideration and due diligence on an array of strategic options for NRC, to include partnering or more formal arrangements with a number of other organizations, as well as downsizing and even ceasing operations,” wrote the Board to its membership in early May. The Board explained that it believes “the missions of NRC and KAB are mutually supportive … The combined organizations will have reach into 32 states with an extraordinary opportunity to substantially expand the state and local affiliate base to all 50 states.” Membership of the NRC was asked to provide feedback to the proposed partnership and ultimately will have to approve likely changes to the NRC’s charter and by-laws. In addition, the NRC cancelled this year’s annual Recycling Congress in Portland, Oregon.
BioCycle Columnist Sally Brown, Research Associate Professor at the University of Washington, tackled the topic of biosolids marketing at the recent Water Environment Federation Biosolids and Residuals Conference. Her opening plenary presentation, “With Any Other Product, You’d Be Looking At A Gold Mine: A Marketing Guide for Biosolids Program Managers,” blended Brown’s trademark humor and common sense with fundamental marketing principles. Text on the opening slides read: “If you had a product that got the farmer an extra $350/acre, got you prize winning gardens and increased crop yields, whose safety has been demonstrated by thousands of scientific studies, which had how-to product endorsement guides in text and film versions from EPA and saved the planet at the same time (e.g., carbon sequestration), would you be talking about doing this (this being combustion)?” Concerns about public acceptance and safety “stem more from poorly managed programs and would likely go away in the face of a resource-respectable marketing plan. Saying it won’t hurt you is not the same as marketing.”
Fundamentals covered in Brown’s presentation include: Emphasize benefits – once you make a few sales the product sells itself; Brand your product; Be visible; Know your customer-it is critical to make a personal connection and recognize they had a hand in helping you make the product (“a little bit of you and me in every ton”); and Have both a sense of humor and pride in what you do. “To conclude, you have a fabulous product. Stop apologizing for it and start bragging about it. Get people to get their hands dirty, to use and eat stuff grown in biosolids- amended soils. Yes, it would be great if you could do something about the smell and the texture, and in most cases you can. But even if you can’t – rise to the challenge.”

Just over 69.4 million pounds of waste were recycled or composted during this year’s 10-week RecycleMania contest. RecycleMania is an annual competition between colleges and universities to reduce and recycle waste, broken into various categories, such as Waste Minimization, Per Capita recycling rate and Grand Champion. In 2009, 510 schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada took part in the festivities. The Targeted Materials competition includes groupings of paper, corrugated cardboard, bottles and cans, and food service organics. In the food service organics division, Bard College came in first, diverting 30.5 pounds/person over 10 weeks; Middlebury College came in second place, followed by the University of San Francisco, Mills College and Princeton University. Full results can be found at

Fifth-grade student Max A. Million won this year’s International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) poster contest in April. The theme was “Compost! Recycling The Way Nature Meant It To Be.” Max is a student at Nettleton Elementary School in Duluth, Minnesota, and received a $500 prize. ICAW was established in 1995 as an educational and media initiative to showcase composting and compost use. A program of the U.S. Composting Council (USCC), ICAW includes several international organizers: Composting Council of Canada; Ireland Composting Association; Compost Australia; European Compost Network; and Association for Organics Recycling (UK). Posters can be purchased by calling USCC: 631-737-4931.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the United Kingdom established the Anaerobic Digestion Task Group to lead development of an Implementation Plan for anaerobic digestion in the country. A February 2009 DEFRA document discussing the plan notes that “anaerobic digestion will play an important role in achieving key national targets,” including the Climate Change Act’s legally binding targets to reduce UK CO2 emissions by at least 26 percent by 2020 and all UK greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050. “It will contribute to the UK’s share of the European Union’s (EU) binding target for renewable energy, which is proposed to be 15 percent by 2020,” continues the document. “And it will help us to achieve the EU Landfill Directive’s requirement to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill to 35 percent of 1995 levels by 2020.”
According to DEFRA, the UK produces over 100 million metric tons of organic material per year that could be used to produce biogas. “This breaks down as follows: 12-20 million metric tons of food waste (approximately half of which is municipal waste collected by local authorities, the rest being hotel or food manufacturing waste); 90 million metric tons of agricultural material such as manure and slurry; and 1.73 million metric tons of sewage sludge.”
“The Government’s initial analysis suggests that the anaerobic digestion of food waste, livestock slurries, sewage sludge and energy crops to produce biogas could contribute approximately 10-20 terawatt hours (1 Twh is equal to 1 billion kilowatts) of heat and power by 2020.” The water industry in the UK already has a well-established system of AD plants, treating 66 percent of the country’s sewage sludge (anticipated electricity generation is 0.8 TWh/yr by 2010). For more information on the AD plan, visit

The AgSTAR Program is a voluntary effort jointly sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Department of Energy. The AgSTAR website is loaded with resources on starting and managing digesters, current state and federal legislative and financing initiatives and project developments around the country. Here is a sampling from a recent perusal of the website,
In Washington State, the Sno/Sky Agricultural Alliance, the Tulalip Tribes, and Northwest Chinook Recovery have formed a nonprofit partnership called Qualco Energy. The group built a new anaerobic digester at a former dairy farm that had been operated by the state prison in Monroe. The digester system, designed by GHD, Inc. and built by Andgar Corp., accepts manure from three nearby dairies, as well as cheese and egg processing wastes from neighboring facilities. Biogas is fed to an engine generator set to produce up to 450 kilowatts of electricity. Puget Sound Energy began purchasing the electricity in March 2009. Power sales will earn an estimated $300,000 annually for Qualco Energy. Solid and liquid by-products are used as compost and liquid fertilizer. Under Farm Bill Section 9006, USDA Rural Development awarded the group $499,380 to assist in the development of the project.
In Massachusetts, six farmers plan to install small-scale anaerobic digesters on each of their dairies to generate renewable electricity to be sold to the grid. The farmers have united to form AGreen Energy Group and are collaborating with utilities, government agencies, financial institutions and local universities to develop this project. The farms have less than 500 cows each; manure will be supplemented with food wastes from the Massachusetts compost program for food processors and restaurants. Prior to the formation of AGreen Energy, two members of the group received awards from the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust to begin the design and construction phase of their digester systems.

WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) announced an additional £10 million ($15.2 million) in its budget for funding the development of reprocessing facilities for food waste. The funding is anticipated to enable the construction of new composting and anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities capable of processing 300,000 metric tons/year. This is on top of £10 million previously announced for AD demonstration plants. “We are delighted that this additional funding has been earmarked to support the rapid development of food waste reprocessing facilities across the UK,” says Liz Goodwin, CEO of WRAP.

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