September 21, 2005 | General

Regional Roundup

BioCycle September 2005, Vol. 46, No. 9, p. 18

Boston, Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Food Association (MFA) and the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) have agreed to push grocery stores to increase recycling participation – particularly composting of spoiled fruits and vegetables, floral and deli residuals, and waxed cardboard. The collaborative effort will advance recycling at supermarkets by expanding their Supermarket Organics Recycling Network (SORN). MassDEP will provide technical assistance to stores that want to start new programs. Said DEP commissioner Robert Golledge: “Supermarkets save money, recyclers receive a steady stream of clean organic materials so they can produce good compost to sell, and the less we need new waste disposal facilities.” Added MFA president Chris Flynn about the program for the supermarket industry: “It is an opportunity for us to support state efforts to increase recycling and avoid the need for more landfills.” Food and bulk packaging wastes account for up to 90 percent of material that supermarkets have thrown away.
The 57 grocery stores that participated in SORN last year – including Big Y, Roche Bros., Shaw’s/Star, Stop & Shop, and Whole Foods supermarkets – composted and recycled between 60 and 75 percent of their residuals, diverting 8,900 tons of organics; 26,200 tons of cardboard; and more than 1,000 tons of plastic – saving an average of more than $45,000 per store. Mass DEP and MFA hope at least 100 grocery stores in the state will be recycling organics by next year. Ultimate goal is for all 400 supermarkets in Massachusetts to have active recycling programs in place within three years.
Jefferson City, Missouri
Based on Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) data, nearly one ton of waste was not thrown away per person, while 1.07 tons reached landfills. “We have continued to exceed our goal of 40 percent,” says DNR Director Doyle Childers, who credited comprehensive public education, MRFs and composting operations. DNR also determined that 85 newspapers in Missouri met the state goal for recycled content use. Out of 199,759 tons of newsprint used in 2004, recycled content averaged 58 percent, up from 36 percent in 1996 and 52 percent in 2003.
King County, Washington
A company that processes nearly 200,000 tons of green wood residuals each year – Rainier Wood Recyclers – is the latest partner in the county’s LinkUp program which expands markets for recycled materials. Rainier grinds urban wood waste, landclearing debris and brush. The urban wood waste, which includes C&D debris, pallets and crates, comprises about 70,000 tons annually. Much of its work takes place onsite where customers generate or collect this kind of material, such as paper or saw mills and construction sites where there is landclearing debris.
Rainier takes one of its portable disc grinders to sites where the company chips the wood and then ships it directly to market. The disc grinder, which acts as a random-oriented chipper, makes a denser, cleaner cut so more wood can be carried in a truck load. Rainier currently operates three wood recycling yards – Covington, Auburn and Fall City. The Covington facility has been in operation for more than 15 years; Fall City opened in 1998; and the Auburn yard opened more than a year ago.
The company makes approximately 12 different products from the recycled wood. For example, fine-cut wood is sold to a company that markets it for playground base. Traditionally, virgin wood was used for playgrounds. Other products, such as mulch and landscape cover, animal bedding and boiler fuel are also accepted. Another raw material for use in 100 percent recycled siding is made from film plastic and wood.
Currently King County is focusing on six priority materials for recycling: paper, wood, metals, yard trimmings and electronics. Together these materials account for 60 percent of the “waste” in the county’s landfill. The LinkUp team will assist Rainier Wood Recyclers, in researching available markets for recycled urban wood.
Big Sky, Montana
Last June, a five-vessel composting system started operations to handle 130 dry tons/year of biosolids along with bulking agents at this ski resort town. The units by Engineered Compost Systems included provisions to add seven more CV Composter vessels for a total of 12 as the need for capacity increases. Included in the features are a special loading conveyor, stationary trommmel screen, plug-resistant aeration floor, leachate collection and biofiltration. Vessels are built on roll-off skids compatible with locally available refuse container hauling trucks. Facility has an enclosed mixing building for controlling odors when blending biosolids and amendments. Visit for more details on the Big Sky facility.
Sacramento, California
Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, the second largest natural food cooperative in the U.S. – and the city’s largest business user of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) Greenergy Program – celebrated the grand opening of its second store in mid-July. The 20,000 sq ft Elk Grove Store used these sustainable materials at the new site:
Rubber floor – 100 percent postconsumer recycled tires diverted from landfills;
Building insulation – 100 percent recycled blue jeans (manufacturing overstock);
Carpeting – (2nd floor mezzanine office) – carpet backing is plastic residue-free made from water-based product;
Counter tops – layered paper compressed and baked to form solid sheets with nontoxic adhesive;
Cabinet particle board – made from certified forest trees that carry Forest Stewardship Council’s eco-label;
Cabinets – (dining area, etc.) – comprised of linseed oil, resins and wood flour. The building also features warehouse refrigeration that uses sensors to minimize energy loss and 19 sky lights to reduce power consumption.
Ocean County, New Jersey
Communities in this coastal county “once again are reaping the benefits from strong markets for recyclables,” as latest revenue checks provided the highest payouts since 1995. According to District Recycling Coordinator John Haas, “all recycling markets are doing okay but cardboard, plastics and aluminum are particularly strong.” A random listing of payouts for 33 municipalities over a 6-month period in 2004 showed: Barnegat – $12,585; Beach Haven – $6,573; Berkeley – $24,829; Lakewood – $68,942; Long Beach – $11,325; Pt. Pleasant $20,116; Seaside Heights – $6,423; Ship Bottom – $3,663; and Stafford $31,494. Payout was based on $12.15/ton of recyclables.
The Recycling Revenue Sharing Program is set up to share the profits from sale of recyclables, and to date the County has paid municipalities $5.4 million. Points out Freeholder James Lacey, liaison for the state’s Department of Solid Waste Management: “Our municipal programs have faced challenges in recent years such as decreased state funding opportunities and rapid population grown. Offering them more funding helps them to face these challenges.”
Chichester, New Hampshire
Last year, the Northeast Resource Recovery Association (NRRA “co-op”) recycled almost 22 million pounds of mixed paper which went through these steps to reuse, explains the July-August 2005 issue of Full Circle:
To obtain pulp from recycled fibers, paper is mixed in a vat with a chemical solution which helps loosen the bonds between paper fibers and begins to lift off any remaining ink residue. Contaminants such as staples, rubber bands and paper clips are removed either by gravity or a screening process. Following this, some pulps are further deinked or bleached if necessary. From there, the recycled is handled exactly like virgin pulp and joins the regular papermaking process. Since its inception, the paper industry has worked with recycled fiber, and by the mid-80s, recycled fiber accounted for approximately the papermaking feedstock in our country.
Concludes the NRRA report: “In the past, recycled pulp was only used in lower end papers like cereal boxes, egg cartons and tissues. In recent years, however, technology advances, mounting political pressure, greater availability of low-cost materials and an increasing demand for recycled content papers have all resulted wider spread use of recycled content. Consumers can now find envelopes, copy paper and even fine stationary with the ‘recycled content’ stamp of approval.”
NRRA website can be visited at:
Pawling, New York
A 358-acre horse farm in Dutchess County, Akindale Farm is owned by John Hettinger and raises high quality racehorses and provides training for horses owned by the farm or boarded there. A report in the Watershed Agricultural Council newsletter describes how the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers redesigned the farm’s outside composting facility which collects manure from foals and stores it with straw bedding on a 100 by 200 foot asphalt pad. The pad has a reinforced concrete “push wall,” a filter field and diversion to prevent pathogens from spreading to streams during stormwater events. A grass filter area was created on the down slope side of the pad to intercept and treat stormwater runoff. A comprehensive nutrient management plan determines where, when and how manure can be spread as fertilizer with minimal risk of phosphorous entering the water supply. “The new compost facility is wonderful for everybody at the farm. It enabled us to shut down our upper muck pile and centralize all our on-farm manure management and composting operations,” says farm manager Kate Ferron. “All bedding and straw are picked up every six weeks and hauled to Pennsylvania for use in commercial mushroom farming.” The Watershed Agricultural Council is based in Walton, New York; its website is:
Atlanta, Georgia
Based on its latest Waste Characterization Analysis, about 800,000 tons of food residuals were discarded in Georgia last year. That amount was slightly more than the 734,000 tons of old corrugated containers, almost 700,000 tons of nonrecyclable paper, and roughly 500,000 tons of film plastic. “We have an opportunity to tap that waste stream more effectively,” says Mike Gleaton, director of the Planning and Environmental Management Division in the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The research done in a joint study with R.W. Beck Inc. calculated the trash sent to MSW landfills from residences and businesses. Statistics showed these amounts going to landfills as well: old newspapers – 322,000 tons; rigid plastics – 292,000 tons; textiles – 267,000 tons. The seven categories cited above comprise about 54 percent of the almost 6.5 million tons discarded in Georgia annually. What to do with the organic fractions – and the other feedstocks – will be thoroughly discussed at the BioCycle, Southeast Conference, November 13-16 in Charlotte, North Carolina. See page 16 and 17 of this issue for more information.
Wausau, Wisconsin
The Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin (AROW) held a workshop on Making Quality Compost last month at the WI Counties Solid Waste Management Association’s summer conference, writes Kathy Powell of Recycling Connections Corp. Demand for quality compost is growing in Wisconsin in the commercial and residential sectors. AROW’s Organic Workgroup held the workshop to promote the value of quality compost and need for testing to municipalities, private composters, educators and government staff.
Seven composts were tested prior to the workshops by A&L Great Lakes Lab in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Composts were tested from a small and medium sized city, a county and a private local composter. Two private composters also shared their recent compost results. Feedstocks were primarily yard materials; however, two composts used fiberboard by-products or fibercake from papermills.
Samples of all composts and their test results were on display. Presentations focused on different uses for different qualities of compost; why test; soil labs vs. labs that test compost and how to sample. Information on the USCC’s STA Compost Assurance program and tests for compost used in erosion control projects were presented. Test results were shared along with preferred test ranges. One speaker, a private composter, discussed how he is also working with small municipal compost sites to help them improve their quality and manage their volumes in order to jointly sell compost that is in demand in the area.
Dallas, Texas
A July, 2005 BioCycle report explained how Boston’s Hyatt Regency hotel launched its “greening initiative” by separating food residuals for composting. Also described are its other recycling programs, bulk toiletry dispensers, sheet and towel reuse options, etc. It also joined the Green Hotel Association to research other steps to gain an Energy Star rating.
Now we learn about the Hyatt Regency Dallas at Reunion and the Hyatt Regency at the airport which are buying all their electricity from Green Mountain Energy Company. Green Mountain uses wind, geothermal, solar and biomass to create cleaner energy choices. According to Scott Hart, president of commercial services for Green Mountain, “choice of a cleaner electricity product is yet another example of the growing preference for renewable energy. The two Dallas Hyatt properties have set the bar high.”
Ottawa Valley, Ontario
“Here at Engineered Compost Systems (ECS) based in Seattle, we seem to be forever confused with Green Mountain Technologies (GMT),” writes Steve Diddy, Project Development Manager at ECS. His reference is to Table 2 in a May 2005 BioCycle article that mistakenly has a footnote that cites GMT as the supplier of the box based in-vessel processing system at Ottawa Valley. Explains Diddy in his clarification message: “Tim O’Neill, president of ECS, was formerly cofounder and vice president of Green Mountain Technologies, In 1999, O’Neill left GMT and founded ECS. In 2001, ECS provided the Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre with a turnkey CV Composter in-vessel composting system. Since installation and start-up, ECS continues to supply the Ottawa facility with service and technical support.”
At the plant, source separated organics are unloaded on a tipping floor, bucket-loaded into a coarse shredder, then passed down a negative sorting line and a magnetic separator. The organic product is collected in a bunker and transferred by a front-end loader to a heavy-duty mixer, where it is blended with wood chips, sawdust and water to achieve desired mix characteristics.
Sacramento, California
“Tire-Derived Sustainable Building Product Design Competition” is being sponsored by the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) at this year’s State Fair to get companies and individuals to create products using waste tires. “In 2002, California generated 33.5 million waste tires,” says Rosario Marin, CIWMB Chair. “Fortunately, about three-quarters of those tires were diverted to constructive uses, but 8.4 million tires were shredded and disposed of in our state’s landfills. Our goal is to turn every used tire into a viable and usable product.”
The design competition is focused on developing prototypes of building or landscape products crafted with tires, crumb rubber, and/or other tire derived materials from California’s waste stream. The desired outcome of this competition is to develop markets for the new products. For complete details visit
Abbotsford, British Columbia
The September 2005 issue of Biosolids Bulletin, the newsletter of the Northwest Biosolids Management Association (NBMA) has a report on the Val-E-Gro soil products fabrication facility located in the Fraser River Valley near Abbotsford. Class A biosolids from the J.A.M.E.S. Wastewater Treatment Plant are used to produce Val-E-Gro which is being sold to commercial landscapers and regional governments. At a field day on October 27, 2005, development of the biosolids growing medium and its marketing program will be described. For details, contact Maile Lono of the NBMA via e-mail at:

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