September 8, 2020 | AD & Biogas, Business+Finance, Compostable Packaging

Minnesota Counties’ RFP Includes Organics Recycling

Ramsey/Washington Recycling & Energy (R&E) — a public joint powers board between Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota — has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for End-Use Markets for Byproducts from the Recycling & Energy Center (R&E Center) through gasification, anaerobic digestion, chemical recycling and other processing solutions. R&E is seeking vendors that can recover value from the following feedstocks:  Refuse-derived fuel; Source-separated organics in durable compostable bags; and Organic-rich materials recovered from MSW. The RFP — phase one of a two-phase RFP — seeks to find qualified vendors to accept and use one, two, or all three of these feedstock materials. R&E may enter into agreements with more than one vendor. Key dates:

  • September 17, 2020, 1:00 CST – Pre-proposal conference (email to request registration)
  • October 1, 2020, 4:00 CST – Deadline for questions from vendors
  • December 4, 2020, 4:00 CST – Deadline for phase I proposal submissions

Background: The R&E Board is responsible for administering, on the behalf of the two counties, solid waste resource recovery activities, and programs to reduce the land disposal of waste. Ramsey & Washington counties collectively have a total population of just over 813,0001 and span a total of 593 square miles consisting of urban, suburban, and rural areas. The R&E Board owns and operates the R&E Center in Newport, Minnesota, which is permitted to process up to 500,000 tons/year of MSW. The facility produces refuse-derived fuel (RDF) and recovers certain recyclable materials. Currently, the RDF is delivered to Xcel Energy’s (Xcel) RDF electric generation units. Over the next 2 to 3 years, there are planned enhancements at the R&E Center to accommodate source separated organics (SSO) and enable recovery of high value materials from trash. Plans for these materials and the remaining waste, now used to produce RDF, have taken shape through extensive research, facility site visits and discussion with technology providers. It should be noted that the R&E Center intends to continue producing RDF in addition to pursuing opportunities to produce alternative products.

Durable Compostable Bags (DCBs): Currently, all residents in both counties are served by curbside recycling services. In addition, they have access to no-cost or low-cost yard trimmings collection services. SSO collection for food waste and other organics is available at 17 drop-off sites in both Ramsey and Washington counties; access to curbside collection of SSO is planned to be in place in late 2022 via an opt-in subscription program at no additional charge to residents in both counties. The plan is to utilize DCBs that are certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute and be Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) free. The DCBs will be placed into the MSW cart and then be sorted out of the MSW either at the R&E Center or transfer stations contracted to deliver material to the R&E Center.

Organic Rich Materials: The R&E Board intends to install a recyclables recovery system (RRS) at the R&E Center as part of the processing enhancements with operation beginning in late 2022. The RRS will recover high value recyclables and separate an organic rich fraction identified as ORM from the MSW. The ORM is organics recovered from loose MSW (i.e., not in DCBs) as part of the RRS. The ORM is primarily from the 2-inch minus fraction but can also be from the 6-inch plus (unders) fraction. ORM is highly organic but has a large amount of fines (grit, sand, glass, and dirt). In 2016 and 2017, the ORM was manually sorted at the R&E Center from the MSW and the resulting ORM was analyzed. Based on the sort, 25% of the inbound waste is ORM. However, not all waste will be processed to remove the ORM, and not all ORM will be recovered by the RRS.

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