June 26, 2006 | General

Regional Roundup

BioCycle June 2006, Vol. 47, No. 6, p. 18

Montpelier, Vermont
Writes Cathy Donohue of the Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District: “Forty percent of the ‘waste’ Vermonters produce every day is organic material, and half of that is food scraps. With figures like that, we realized that getting organics out of the waste stream was a critical first step to working toward Zero Waste in the District. We developed a three-part organics program aimed at businesses (restaurants, workplace cafeterias/grocery stores), schools (kitchens and cafeterias), and residents (on-site home organics diversion). To date, 31 businesses and schools have diverted nearly 620 tons of food waste and eight more schools have signed to begin the program this fall.”
Critical program components included training, storage and hauling. A coming issue of BioCycle will provide case studies on setting up compost sites, program costs, and how hauling routes were organized, including specifics of totes used, vehicles adapted to serve the needs of small delis, medium-sized grocery stores, and school districts. Interviews with program managers will be included.
Des Moines, Iowa
Iowa’s disposed solid waste stream continues to have high amounts of materials that can be reused, recycled and composted – with a great need to divert old corrugated cardboard and mixed paper from landfills. The 2005 statewide study estimates that nearly 40 percent – more than 1 million tons – fall into that category. Jeff Geerts, Iowa DNR program planner calls the amounts “surprising in light of the state’s well-developed infrastructure.”
The 225,000 tons of food waste and 138,000 tons of compostable paper at Iowa’s landfills represent the greatest opportunity for composting. “There is huge potential to divert these materials, and a variety of approaches show what can be done with collection, processing and end use,” says Geerts. He cites Cedar Rapids, which collects residential food residuals at the curb with yard trimmings; Chamness Technology in Eddyville, which composts by-products from food processors; and the DNR work with a municipal facility to study how anaerobic digestion can produce energy from food processing and animal feed residuals.
DNR Deputy Director Liz Christiansen calls for a targeted approach: “We need to go deep into the commercial and industrial sector … to divert commercial and industrial compostables. With limited resources, we need to focus on OCC, papers, plastic wraps, C&D materials and compsotables.” View the study at Or e-mail
Modesto, California
Helped by a $50,000 EPA grant, the city of Modesto will start a pilot program this summer with 30 of the 1,000 restaurants to recycle food residuals. Food waste and yard trimmings comprise 30 percent of the 40 million tons of MSW generated each year in California. Modesto officials estimate that restaurants there produce roughly 15,000 tons of food scraps each year. As of 2004, the city is recycling or composting 51 percent, hoping to increase that rate by 1,000 tons/year.
Under the pilot, the city’s contracted haulers will transport food residuals from participating restaurants to the Jennings Road composting site. Once there, workers will sort feedstocks into piles and begin the aeration process. “Modesto’s partnership with the restaurant industry, garbage haulers and EPA is another example of the business community’s commitment to improving the quality of life here,” says City Councilmember Kristin Olsen. “These are the kind of partnerships we need in Modesto – public and private sectors working together to make a better community.”
The California Restaurant Association agreed to partner to get eating places involved after being approached by the city in March. “Collaborations such as this are beneficial to everyone involved,” adds Jot Condie, the association’s president and CEO. Adds Modesto Solid Waste Manager Jocelyn Reed: “Diversion of organic materials like food waste is essential for the city to meet state waste reduction mandates.”
LaGrange, Georgia
This community has a new revenue stream, extended the life of the landfill, and reduced air pollutants while creating a new fuel source for local businesses including carpet manufacturer Interface, Inc. This month, a special Conference is being held at LaGrange College on “Leveraging Landfills,” which includes a presentation by an Interface engineer, David Gustashaw, who brought the idea of methane capture to the city’s attention while searching for alternative fuel sources for the petroleum-intensive manufacturing processes used in making carpets. The landfill now powers boilers at the Interface plant as well as for other manufacturers in the county. Interface has also been a leader in the voluntary purchase of carbon offsets and the purchase of green electricity. (See the article in May 2006 BioCycle, p. 50) on “Biobased Fabric Composting Trial,” that discusses recycling biobased feedstocks.)
Boston, Massachusetts
While businesses and consumers across Massachusetts are recycling “more than ever,” regulators still claim too many recyclables are being thrown away and are taking corrective action. Besides inspections at landfills, combustion facilities and transfer stations, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) is taking closer looks at generators and haulers. The agency wants to hold all parties equally accountable for complying with the waste bans, says Commissioner Robert Golledge Jr. Throwing recyclables away puts a strain on the state’s already limited waste disposal capacity and hurts manufacturers that rely on recycled feedstocks, Golledge stresses.
Materials currently prohibited from disposal include: Yard Waste – grass clippings, weeds, shrub trimmings, etc.; Leaves – Deciduous and coniferous; Recyclable paper – all paper, cardboard and paperboard products (with certain exclusions); Glass containers; Metal containers; Single resin plastics; White goods; Whole tires; and Batteries. Materials that will be banned from disposal as of July 1, 2006 are wood (treated and untreated, including wood waste); asphalt pavement, brick and concrete; and metal. For more details on disposal bans, visit MassDEP website –
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
A Design/Build/Operate in-vessel composting facility has been proposed for Hamilton, Ontario to help the city divert 65 percent of its waste stream by 2008. The technology would be an in-vessel aerated static pile or biocell process that has been used in Europe for 15 years. The process and automated filling system would be supplied by the Christiaens Group of the Netherlands.
As described in a company brochure, organic residuals would be collected in a “green cart” at the curb, and transported to the facility where it would be unloaded, shredded and conveyed to an empty compost tunnel through roof openings. An automated filling cassette travels the length of the tunnel to ensure even distribution.
Once the tunnel is filled, the composting process begins. Excess air is exhausted through a biofilter; after seven to 10 days, the tunnel is emptied and Phase 2 tunnels are filled. After composting for an additional seven to 10 days, loaders remove the material from the tunnel to be screened and refined to marketable size. Compost is then conveyed to an outside curing area, after which it is shipped to markets. More details to follow on future plans in Hamilton.
Sheldon, Vermont
Terry and Joanne Magnan own and operate Diamond Hill Custom Heifers, raising approximately 2,000 stock for custom boarding or sale. They crop 1,000 acres of hay and corn. Their farm has constructed a composting barn to better use the organic matter and nutrients in the livestock manure, designed to produce quality compost. The composting system is also built to recover the heated vapor from the piles. Heat energy from the compost is used to preheat hot water for raising calves as well as in radiant heat flooring.
The Magnan’s project construction has been cost-shared through a USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VTAAFM) Best Management Practice (BMP) funds and in-kind engineering and patent license contributions from the Agrilab Division of Acrolab, Ltd of Windsor, Ontario. A second grant project through the VT NRCS Alternative Manure Management program will track the nutrient and organic matter dynamics in the composting system and demonstrate the use of farm-produced compost in erosion control. Erosion control demonstrations will be on-farm and on municipal, commercial and construction sites.
Grove City, Ohio
The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) has taken delivery of its first hybrid vehicle that is powered by landfill gas. The 2005 Ford Sterling truck with a 12.7 Detroit series 60 diesel engine has been retrofitted to be a dual-fuel system powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) and biodiesel. Within a few months, the CNG will come from landfill gas refined at the Franklin County Landfill, and the biodiesel could be a blend of Ohio-produced soybean oil and methanol that would come from the methane at the same landfill.
SWACO Executive Director Mike Long sees this first step toward alternate fuels bringing multiple benefits. “Landfills as a source of over-the-road energy are an untapped market. This process will allow us to make use of one of society’s by-products. It will also allow us to save taxpayer dollars and cut emissions.” The dual-fuel system is one of three power systems to be studied on SWACO vehicles. Another SWACO transfer truck will be run on pure biodiesel.
The fueling system next to the Franklin County Landfill is part of the Green Energy Center to be built by FirmGreen Fuels LLC of Newport Beach, California. The Center is expected to produce up to 20 million gallons per year of methanol, which would provide up to 100 million gallons per year of B20 biodiesel to the marketplace. Landfill gas will also be used to generate 1.6 MW from an engine and microturbines. Additionally, waste heat from the microturbines will provide space heat and hot water for the administrative office building and maintenance facilities of SWACO, the adjacent landfill operator. Annual reduction of greenhouse gases attributable to this project has the same effect as removing the emissions of nearly 12,000 cars from the road for a year, reducing oil consumption by more than 142,000 barrels per year, or planting 16,704 acres of trees.

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