February 17, 2006 | General

Regional Roundup

BioCycle February 2006, Vol. 47, No. 2, p. 14

New York, New York
Chefs Harvest A Green Roof/strong>
Earth Pledge is a nonprofit organization in New York City that identifies and promotes innovative techniques and technologies to restore the balance between human and natural systems. Among its programs is the Farm to Table Initiative, which educates the public about food and agriculture issues, and guides and supports farmers in their transition to sustainable practices. The Initiative includes an online resource ( to help identify local farmers using sustainable practices, and the restaurants and markets that deliver local product into the marketplace. Sustainable Cuisine Cooking Classes are offered to share the benefits of supporting local food producers, maximizing the use of ingredients when shopping and cooking and making informed choices regarding what to eat and how to prepare it. The cooking classes tie directly into Earth Pledge’s Green Roof project (see page 38 of this issue for an article on its green roof storm water modeling program). Chefs gather ingredients for the class from the green roof on Earth Pledge’s office! More information on the range of Earth Pledge programs and projects, including compost tea research, can be found at
Topeka, Kansas
State Conference Stresses Leadership In Recycling And Composting
The 12th annual Kansas Works! Conference on Recycling, Composting and Household Hazardous Waste will be held in Great Bend, Kansas on March 28-30, 2006 in the Highland Hotel & Conference Center. Sponsored by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the theme of this year’s conference is “Building Leadership in Recycling, Composting, and Household Hazardous Waste.” Attendees will hear “How To Get Anyone To Follow You Anywhere” from Mark Johnson who spent 20 years as a Special Forces, Green Beret officer in over 50 nations on four continents. In addition, Will Brinton, Bob Rynk and Nellie Brown will be available to train compost facility operators. For more information on Works! 2006, contact Ken Powell at (785)296-1121 or e-mail:
Bellingham, Washington
Student Composting Programs Build On Success Of Working Models
“It’s going to be important for the kids to learn about waste and where it goes,” comments Bellingham Schools Superintendent Dale Kinsey in a newspaper report on school food recycling. Students at Alderwood Elementary are separating food residuals as part of the project with Sanitary Service Company (SSC). Materials are collected by SSC, then turned into compost at Green Earth Technologies in nearby Lynden; three local elementary schools are participating. The district currently spends $185,000/year on trash removal. “Our goal is to shoot for 20 to 25 percent net savings for schools that are participating,” notes an SSC recycling manager. Explains a second-grader as she separates her lunch remainders: “I like recycling so I compost … because it could help the garden outside.” The Bellingham program is modeled after the “Food to Flower!” system developed by Tamar Hurwitz, Environmental Education Manager, for the San Francisco Department of the Environment. An estimated 500 tons of organic residuals are diverted there each school year from the landfill.
Fort Collins, Colorado
HIGH School Gets LEED Certification For Green Building Standards
Colorado is now home to one of the greenest schools in the nation when Fossil Ridge High School in Fort Collins was awarded the “Silver” standard under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification system. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) “This building sets a new standard,” notes Victor Olgyay of Rocky Mountain Institute’s Built Environment Team which consulted on the project. “It uses only one ton of cooling for each 1,000 sq ft of floor space, approximately one-third the amount of energy used to cool a typical high school.”
More than 80 percent of the building’s interior space is naturally lit while helping the school achieve a 50 percent reduction in energy usage. The school, which is a 288,685 sq ft facility with 1,800 students, includes irrigation systems that allow building site runoff stored for watering; use of natural swales (with contaminant-removing plants) to capture water draining off parking lots; dispersed parking lots with planted islands; and partial green roofing.
Plover, Wisconsin
What The Future Looks Like For Recycling In Wisconsin
“I believe the future will have increased recycling both in terms of the number of materials and the quantities recovered,” writes John Reindl of Dane County’s Public Works Department in the Associated Recyclers of Wisconsin newsletter (Dec. 2005). Reindl lists these factors for his prediction at the international and national levels:
Worldwide economic growth with higher prices for materials and energy, plus more large-scale manufacturing plants based on recyclables; European (and Canadian) requirements for more recycling and product redesign; Recovering materials such as C&D debris, mixed paper, food – with simultaneous development of new recycling technologies; Limits and outright bans on landfilling organics in the European Union.
Reindl cites additional factors on the state level, building on the international and national issues. State rules for hauler notification of requirements for recycling; Greater focus on the state’s Environmental Management System for solid waste and recycling; More attention to the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Waste Materials Recovery.
Sums up Reindl: “While I believe that the future on balance is favorable to increase recycling, I also believe that this will only be accomplished with continued work, resolution of conflicts among competing interests and the active involvement of us all.”
Ocean County, New Jersey
Two Milestones – Best Program And Renewal Of Composting Agreements
The latest newsletter of its Solid Waste Management Program notes that Ocean County “can now say it has the best recycling program in the nation” when the County received the 2005 Gold Award from the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA). “Over the years, our program continues to expand and provide convenience to our residents with a host of free services, education and outreach. Our residents are also doubly awarded with tremendous savings to their town since significant landfill costs have been avoided because of their recycling efforts,” said Freeholder James Lacy.
In September, the Board of Chosen Freeholders also authorized renewal of the County’s Leaf and Vegetative Waste composting agreements. The County processes leave and brush from its two sites at the Recycling Center and provides mobile composting equipment to process materials into compost and woodchips.
Lindsay, California
Digester Fuels Engine-Generating Sets, Interconnects With Southern California Edison/strong>
Hilarides Dairy began operating its 500 kW biogas power system in mid-October. The covered lagoon digester receives manure from a 6,000-head heifer and steer operation. The biogas is transported 1.5 miles by pipeline to the main dairy where it fuels four Caterpillar engine-generating sets. Generation meets the electricity needs of the dairy as well as additional irrigation pump demand. The system, which is interconnected with Southern California Edison, was designed by Sharp Energy. The project received buy down grants from the California Energy Commission Dairy Power Production Program. administered by Western United Resource Development.
Lorain County, Ohio
The Most Littered Item In America … And Other Miscellaneous Data/strong>
The latest issue of the Lorain County Solid Waste Management District newsletter provides this collection of facts: Number One Litter Problem – Several trillion cigarette butts are littered worldwide every year, representing billions of cigarettes flicked, one at a time, on our sidewalks, beaches, nature trails, gardens and other public places every single day. In fact, cigarettes are the most littered item in America and the world; Yard Waste Composting – A specialist at the Ohio State Extension Service who is also employed part-time by the District promotes better methods of composting and managing organic waste materials; Recycling Loan Fund – Funded by the District and administered by the Community Development Department, lending decisions are made by a special committee of administrators and private citizens; Working with Business – Staff is available to businesses in Lorain County to set up recycling programs for the work place or production line, also performing waste audits to reduce the stream; Scrap Tire Collection – To combat illegal dumping, the District sponsors a Scrap Tire Collection Day where 19 locations are available for Lorain County residents.
Chester County, Pennsylvania
Landfill Gas Project Transports Fuel To Local Industry
“The community has been very supportive of this environmentally friendly project,” says Granger Energy president Joel Zylstra, which has now developed 12 landfill gas projects in six states. Adds Bob Watts, the executive director of the landfill owned by the Chester County Waste Authority: “We have been able to take a wasted resource and put it to good use while preserving the environment and helping make our local industry more competitive.” A $235,000 state grant helped fund the project, whose annual use of landfill gas is equal to the energy created by 122,800 barrels of oil, notes Kathleen McGinty of the state Department of Environmental Protection. It also reduces greenhouse gases by the equivalent of removing 11,500 cars from the road.
Portland, Oregon
Article Clarification
Betty Patton, Resource Director of the Association of Oregon Recyclers, notes that the author of an article in the January 2006 issue of BioCycle, “Portland Businesses Continue Push for Food Residuals Recycling,” was not herself, but instead Ann Sihler, who is editor of the Association’s newsletter. The article first appeared in an edition of the AOR newsletter. Recently, Patton’s consulting firm, Environmental Practices, LLC, was selected by the AOR Board of Directors to provide resource and support services for the organization. For more information about AOR and its activities, visit
Hereford, Texas
Texas Manure Finds Big Market In Ethanol Production
Panda Energy International Inc. will begin construction of a plant in Hereford, Texas to produce 100 million gallons of ethanol from corn per year, using manure as fuel. Reports The Wall Street Journal (l/24/06): “The main local objection to the cow waste is simply that there is too much of it,” says Wayne Schilling, who runs a company in nearby Amarillo that brokers and bags composted manure. “Everybody has looked for the silver bullet, but nobody’s found it.” New high fuel prices may have finally brought Herford’s salvation. Panda Energy last month awarded a $120 million contract to build the ethanol plant, which the company’s president Todd Carter said will be one of the biggest in the U.S.
The plant will produce a residue known as distillers’ grain, which is rich in protein and can be recycled as cattle feed. “We’re taking the manure from one end, then feeding them the distillers’ grain,” explains Carter. “So there are synergies.”
As reported in December 2005 BioCycle (p. 18), Panda Energy is planning similar manure-powered plants in Haskell County, Kansas (also in Yuma, Colorado). When completed, the refinery will convert corn and milo into ethanol, replacing the need to import 100 million gallons of gasoline each year. Based in Dallas, the energy company is also reported to be developing biomass electric generating facilities and biodiesel projects.

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