BioCycle September 2007, Vol. 48, No. 9, p. 12
Raleigh, North Carolina
WORMS DO THEIR THING RECYCLING RESIDUALS AT LEGISLATIVE BUILDING
Red wigglers – 50,000 of them – live in special bins at the North Carolina Legislative Building shipped in to consume 25 percent of the food from the cafeterias. “They can eat office paper, love cardboard, and are always up front,” says Brian Rosa, the region’s organic recycling specialist. “All government facilities could have something like this large enough to handle food waste.” Adds Christa Wagner, a lobbyist for the local Sierra Club: “It all goes back to practicing what you preach. Ultimately, it’s going to show how easy it is to save money by designing green.”
BIOCYCLE REACHES OUT TO RENEWABLE ENERGY ADVOCATES
A new subscription campaign from BioCycle magazine stresses how its special reports build expertise in making educated choices to advance renewable energy goals. In every issue of the magazine, data is presented on such topics as: Converting waste streams to sustainable power; Venturing into biofuels and biomass energy; Fueling up on landfill methane; Using community digesters for new recovery approaches; Managing carbon and renewable fuels; Converting culinary grease into biodiesel; Creating transportation fuel from solid waste; How microturbines and gas engines link biogas to the grid; Establishing carbon credit certification; Wet separation and fermentation for biowaste; and Creating fuel from locally available feedstocks.
From creating high quality composts out of anaerobic digestion residuals to balancing carbon management and setting greenhouse reduction goals, the latest information is always presented. For subscription details, contact BioCycle at: email@example.com, or call 610-967-4135, ext. 22. Or mail the subscription card inside this issue of BioCycle.
And, there is still time to register for the 7th Annual BioCycle Conference on: Renewable Energy From Organics Recycling, to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 1-3, 2007 at the Sheraton Hotel City Centre. To register, go to: www.biocycle.net; or call 610-967-4135, ext. 22. Hope to see you there!
COURSE EXPLAINS HOW TO TURN STORMWATER CHALLENGES INTO AN ASSET
A one-day course on October 17, 2007 will present a special design workshop for professionals on turning storm water problems into an asset. “Low impact development techniques will focus on large and small projects that include permeable paving options, bioretention swales, soil improvement and plant selection.” Upcoming storm water regulations will require many of these practices. Sessions last from 8 am to 4:30 pm, cost $50, and are sponsored by Seattle Public Utilities and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens. For information, phone 206-685-8033; Register with UW Botanic Gardens – ProHort, Box 354115, Seattle, WA 98195.
HOMEGROWN BIODIESEL TO CONCENTRATE ON LOCAL FEEDSTOCKS
A plant is planned to refine biodiesel for Maui Electric Company (MECO) to be completed by 2009. It will be jointly owned by Hawaiian Electric Company and BlueEarth Fuels. Says MECO president Ed Reinhardt: “This biodiesel plant will be a first step toward allowing Maalaea Power Plant to generate all of its electricity without fossil fuels.”
The biodiesel sales agreement between Maui Electric and BlueEarth will specify that all biodiesel imported to Maui must come from environmentally responsible sources. HECO is working with the Natural Resources Defense Council to craft an effective and enforceable sourcing model.
BlueEarth and partners have pledged to work closely with other local biofuels producers to build more production of biodiesel. The utility supplies electricity to about 95 percent of the state’s 1.2 million residents. All profits from this enterprise will go to a public trust fund to support biofuels development in Hawaii. Eventually, the refinery could generate 120 million gallons in 2011, and there are plans to use it at Hawaiian Electric plants on Oahu and on the Big Island.
Syracuse, New York
FIRST SCHOOL DISTRICT IN STATE HAS 100 PERCENT GREEN PARTICIPATION
“Every school in the Syracuse district is now participating in promoting environmental stewardship,” says Jill Buck, executive director of the Go Green Initiative based in California. “We hope other school districts in the state will follow your example.” Special recycling stations will be created in each classroom, complete with two well-labeled blue bins for dual stream recycling to make it easier than ever. Syracuse Green teams will also be working to educate their campus community on proper recycling.
Many Syracuse schools are also taking steps to reduce cafeteria waste. By utilizing recyclable paper bags instead of styrofoam trays for breakfast, the districts save money in purchasing and disposal fees. The Go Green Initiative is the nation’s fastest growing environmental action plan for schools. Go Green works to involve families, businesses and local governments.
WINNING THE WATER WAR FOR A COUNTRY’S FUTURE
Interviewed by Sarah van Gelder, executive editor of Yes! magazine, Oscar Olivera – president of the Cochabamba Federation of Factory Workers said that “we kept our sources of water from becoming the property of a foreign investor. The water war was a fight for democracy, because democracy is about who decides.”
Olivera emphasized that a new kind of relationship is needed between people and nature. “We know that Mother Earth gives us life, and we must use oil, water, gas, biodiversity – not as commodities – but in a way that allows the generations of today and of the future to live lives of dignity. We can build and design a new world, a new society, based on this struggle for life.”
In a subsequent report on “Health Care for all in Cuba,” Van Gelder observes: “Even more revolutionary than the right to health care for all is the idea that an investment in health – or in clean water, adequate food or housing – could be more powerful, more effective at building security than bombers and aircraft carriers.”
STATE RECYCLING ASSOCIATION PROMOTES ORGANICS RECOVERY AND COMPOSTING
“The idea of composting food waste and other organic materials is catching on in Virginia,” says Christine McCoy of the Virginia Recycling Association. The Environmental Quality Department reports that value-added end markets for organics will be pushed with state agencies, retailers, farmers, cafeterias, etc. to reduce the flow to landfills. It will also reduce the generation of greenhouse gases as well as stimulate crop production through use of compost.
LOOKING FOR ANSWERS IN GREEN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION
In trying to come up with more specific guidelines for using PVC in green building construction, the Technical and Scientific Advisory Committee of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has run into more problems. After years of reviewing documents to assess if there should be a negative credit imposed on builders who use PVC, the committee ruled that the USGBC should use an approach that grants credits based on issues in its rating system.
“We would recommend that LEED have issue-based credits rather than material-based credits, that there be more emphasis on pollutants, and that they create incentives for improving materials and reducing toxic wastes,” declared the chairman of the advisory committee. The group had studied the four biggest uses of PVC in construction: siding, window frames, resilient flooring and drain, waste and vent pipe.
Elk River, Minnesota
TRIMONT WIND FARM HOSTS 67 TURBINES WITH 100 MEGAWATTS CAPACITY
Two years after Trimont Wind LLC transformed 22,000 acres of rural land into an energy-producing wind farm, power is being sold to Great River Energy Cooperative. The site is the first commercial-scale, landowner-developed wind farm in Minnesota, and hosts 67 turbines with a generating capacity of 100 megawatts. The HDR Management Group prepared the State Environmental Review permit application. It demonstrates the power from a successful renewable energy project: Landowners who receive ongoing easement payments; 29,000 homes powered by the project; Adjoining counties receive tax revenues; Reaching the mandated renewable portfolio standard of 25 percent by 2025. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that potential power from wind is significantly greater than total national electrical consumption.
The passage of state legislation calling for Wisconsin utilities to produce 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2015 was the driving force behind the We Energies (Wisconsin Energy Corporation) to pursue the Blue Sky Green Field 88-turbine, 145.2 megawatt capacity project. We Energies expects to begin making wind power available to its customer base of 1.1 million by mid-2008.
Jefferson City, Missouri
STATE NATURAL RESOURCES COMPLETES AUDITS ON FOUR SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT DISTRICTS
After conducting performance audits on four solid waste management districts, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources cited 20 findings, which showed need for improvement. Audits show whether districts have appropriate control over grant funds generated through fees and their compliance with regulations. Findings included unnecessary expenditures, weaknesses in accounting systems, conflicts of interest involving board members, and violations of the Missouri Sunshine Law. Solid waste management districts were created to help cities and counties work cooperatively to develop local waste prevention programs, provide resource recovery services and safe disposal options.
“The Department of Natural Resources believes the districts can play a vital role at the local level to develop alternatives to disposal,” said Director Doyle Childers. “It is important the districts move forward to better manage waste, provide more recycling services and use public funds appropriately.”
Meanwhile, EPA Region 7 formally approved two state plans to keep Kansas City air clean. “We are taking positive action to bring about emissions reductions in Kansas City,” says Administrator John Askew. “This approval gives Kansas and Missouri a green light to implement measures to protect public health. These actions, triggered by high ozone readings, include reducing emissions from power plants and development of regulations to reduce idling of vehicles.” Ground-level ozone is a man-made pollutant formed, in the presence of sunlight, from a chemical reaction between nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. It can irritate the eyes, nose and lungs, causing inflammation, chest pains and difficulty breathing.
Residents can reduce ozone by: Use mass transit and carpools, as well as bike or walk; Refuel after 7 pm, and don’t top off your gas tank; Use an electric or push lawn mower; Become more energy efficient – such as using compact fluorescent light bulbs.
September 12, 2007 | General
BioCycle September 2007, Vol. 48, No. 9, p. 12