March 23, 2007 | General

Regional Roundup

BioCycle March 2007, Vol. 48, No. 3, p. 16

La Crosse, Wisconsin
Two facilities that produce renewable energy for Dairyland Power Cooperative were featured in early February on Iowa and Wisconsin Public Television’s Market to Market Program. The segment showed the Norswiss Dairy near Rice Lake, Wisconsin and Waste Management, Inc.’s Timberline Trail landfill gas-to-energy plant near Bruce, Wisconsin.
Norswiss Dairy is one of three “cow power” facilities on the Dairyland system, with methane as the energy resource. The plant generates 848 kW of electricity, enough to power approximately 600 homes and is serviced by Barron Electric Cooperative. The Timberline Trail site is a 3.2 megawatt facility that can power approximately 2,700 homes. It is served by Jump River Electric Cooperative.
Dairyland provides wholesale electricity to 25 member distribution cooperatives and 19 municipal utilities. A Touchstone Energy Coop, Dairyland’s service area encompasses 62 counties in four states – Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.
Del Mar, California
Through recycling more than 24,000 tons of discarded materials in 2006, the Del Mar Fairgrounds has achieved a diversion rate of nearly 90 percent, realizing over $1.1 million in financial gain from avoided tipping fees and recyclable material marketing. In its 22nd year of operation, the Fairgrounds has won 16 awards for its resource conservation efforts. In addition to source reduction and recycling programs, the 400-acre park uses reclaimed water for grounds irrigation, has removed all of the facility’s garbage disposals to reduce impact on local sewer systems, and through conservation has cut its average energy consumption by 15 percent.
Included in the inventory of recycled items at the park are concrete and asphalt, food waste, landscape trimmings, horse manure and bedding, and rendering, along with traditional materials such as corrugated cardboard, newsprint, mixed paper, glass, aluminum and other metals. Home to a multitude of meetings, conventions, conferences, trade or consumer shows, music festivals, weddings, and other social events, the facility employs a full-time, year-round staff of approximately 160 people, and provides seasonal employment for more than 3,000. The park has hosted the San Diego County Fair, one of the largest events of its kind in the country, since 1936, and the Del Mar National Horse Show as well, now in its 62nd year. In 2006, The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, the long-term lessee of the annual live horseracing meet, recycled nearly 11,000 tons of organics and recyclables, realizing a financial benefit of over $534,000. This represents almost half of the park’s total year-round discards diverted from the landfill.
Also in 2006, new construction of the Wyland and Expo Centers on the premises diverted materials amounting to a 76.5 percent recycling rate. For more information on the Enviro Fair and the facility’s continuing recycling efforts, contact Nancy Strauss, Resource Conservation Coordinator at (858) 792-4298, or visit their website,
Alberta, Canada
As reported in the Winter 2007 issue of the Connector, Recycling Council of Alberta Newsletter, the Cleanit Greenit Composting System which makes soil-based products has come up with a better way to manage Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste. Drywall is the waste material which mainly results from new home construction. Rather than landfilling, the C&D industry in the Edmonton region diverts it to a Cleanit Greenit (CG) site where it’s recycled.
When landfilled, there’s a potential for the gypsum in drywall to generate hydrogen sulfide gas – potentially toxic at high concentrations with a rotten-egg odor. Conversely, Cleanit Greenit uses drywall in its soil manufacturing process. The gypsum provides calcium and sulfur, and is valuable in the process. CG uses drywall for many soil-based products including NatureMade Rootzone.
Seattle, Washington
On February 7, 2007, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed an executive order setting specific goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions – reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, cutting another 25 percent by 2035, and a 50 percent drop by 2050. The Governor also set a target of increasing the number of clean energy sector jobs to 25,000 from the 2004 level of 8,400 jobs. Her order also directs two agencies – the Ecology Department and the Community, Trade and Economic Development staff to meet with business and environmental leaders to review strategies. “Washington is uniquely vulnerable to the changing climate, but we also are positioned to succeed in the clean energy economy,” summed up Gregoire.
Cleveland, Ohio
Founded in 1988 by brothers Pat and Daniel Conway, the Great Lakes Brewing Co. (GLBC) has made major commitments to recycling, vermicomposting, all-natural foods, high-quality beer and an urban greenhouse. Current projects include: For vermicomposting GLBC feeds kitchen scraps, office paper, grain and cardboard to worms, which produce castings which fertilize vegetables on their Brewpub menu; For an alternative fuel, GLBC operates a shuttle bus and beer delivery truck that run on restaurant vegetable oil; For energy efficiency, GLBC uses a cooling system in its brewery cooler that brings in cold air during winter to chill the beer; For its beer garden, GLBC recently introduced a retractable “Roman Curtain” roof that encloses the garden allowing use of this indoor/outdoor dining area all year; On its reuse goals, GLBC recycles cardboard, glass, plastic, paper and brewer’s barley to reduce trash removal fees by 40 percent. It prints menus, napkins and promotional items – also its ecocarton which holds a case of beer – on 100 percent recycled materials.
As it moves closer to zero waste, the Conway brothers have built a manufacturing enterprise that makes financial and environmental sense. “In the process, we’ve been able to cut operating costs,” says Dan Conway. “It’s simply a matter of taking the time and making the commitment up front to explore the technology that’s out there, and find a way to do it that makes environmental, financial and social sense.” Adds Pat Conway: “Our objective is to make full use of the by-products generated from the brewing process.” Currently Great Lakes Brewing Co. sells in an eight-state region, is growing by more than 30 percent annually with sales over $10 million annually. Visit their website at:
Lakeside, California
The Van Ommering Dairy Farm consists of a milking herd of 500 and has been operating on 200 acres in Lakeside, California, San Diego County since 1960. In the summer of 2005, the dairy commenced processing of cow manure in a 24-30-day cycle using a plug-flow digestion unit designed by RCM Digesters, Inc. The project was funded in part by the California Energy Commissioner’s Dairy Power Production Program. The digester feeds a CAT 3406 natural gas generator that produces 90-130 kilowatts of continuous electrical output and supplies the farm with twice as much power as it needs. California’s net metering rules only require the utility to credit the dairy for the generating charge (approximately 45 percent of the total electric cost), and not for power produced in excess of what the dairy uses from the utility.
While the system is designed to handle 10,000 gallons per day of manure, some excess capacity exists, as only 6,000-8,000 gallons are currently handled. Digested solids are moved into windrows in a separate area of the farm, composted aerobically to ensure pathogen reduction, cured, and sold to local farms and landscapers. Van Ommering has dedicated 3-5 acres for composting, and uses front-end loaders and a PTO-driven compost turner to move and process the substrate. Future plans include researching the use of food residuals in the digestion process and ramping up marketing efforts for the finished compost product. The dairy also hopes to enter into a more favorable power purchase agreement with the utility in 2007 – one that would pay them for all the power produced or allow them to receive a premium from consumers wanting to support “cow power.”
The Dairy Power Production Program, administered for the California Energy Commission by Western United Resource Development, provides financial assistance in two ways: buydown grants that cover a percentage of the capital costs of the biogas system; or incentive payments for generated electricity. Additional funding has been provided by the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service through their Environmental Quality Improvement Program.
Orlando, Florida
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has arranged an organics public meeting to review composting limits under current rules. The date and time at the Orange County Public Library in Orlando are May 9, 2007 from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm in the Albertson Room, l0l East Central Boulevard. Phone is (407) 835-7481. The link is
Lemon Grove, California
To meet the growing demand for C&D recycling in San Diego County, SANCO Resource Recovery (SRR), a member of the EDCO family of companies, opened for business in January 2007. The operation is part of a planned resource recovery facility that includes a high volume recycling processing component for commingled materials and a high volume buy-back area for members of the public as well. Permitted to handle 1,000 tons per day, SRR uses a Lubo sorting system with a combination of disc screens and magnets to separate a mixed stream of construction, demolition and inert materials.
With the neighboring City of San Diego as the primary source of material for the facility, throughput thus far has remained low. “Unfortunately, at this time the facility is operating at only a fraction of its operating capacity due to the current fee structure in the City of San Diego,” said Steve South, President of EDCO.
“The current City of San Diego non-exclusive franchise system assesses franchise and recycling fees on material collected, rather than disposed of, tragically making it more cost-effective to landfill it than divert it,” South stated. “We are having dialogue with the city to correct this situation and ensure that the life of the city-operated Miramar landfill, which currently will reach capacity in 2012, will be extended by not taxing recycled material.”
With an approximate enclosed processing area of 38,000 square feet, SRR employs about 25 people and diverts an average of 75 percent of the mixed materials it receives. The facility is permitted to operate 24 hours a day, but currently accepts material Monday through Saturday from 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Markets for end products include scrap reuse for steel, power and retail applications for lumber, base material produced from concrete, composting and alternate daily cover for green materials, land application and agricultural soil enhancement for drywall, and alternate daily cover and retail sale for reuse of soil.
SB 1374, signed into law in 2002, requires California cities with a “moderately significant portion of the waste stream” comprised of C&D, to adopt recycling programs and ordinances based on the California Integrated Waste Management Board’s model.

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