October 25, 2007 | General

Regional Roundup

BioCycle October 2007, Vol. 48, No. 10, p. 14
San Diego, California: City Captures, Composts Ballpark Organics
With seating for 42,000, the San Diego Padres baseball team at PETCO Park has plenty of partially consumed hot dogs, peanut shells, popcorn and other food residuals. For the 2005 season the city’s Environmental Services Department and partners – including the facility management firm Hines – launched a food material recovery program. The first year it processed about 60 tons of residuals, sending them to San Diego’s 29-acre composting facility (Miramar Greenery). In 2006, there was a decrease to 31 tons, but the 2007 season looks like it will reach 90 tons.
“We are aiming for 150 tons in the 2008 season!” proclaims an enthusiastic Alina Aguilar, Assistant General Manager employed by Hines, and overseer of the recycling program. PETCO Park is the firm’s first stadium management contract, and in terms of resource management, things appear to be going well. Under Aguilar’s lead, the ballpark is also recycling commingled glass, plastics and mixed paper, cardboard, cooking oil, grass clippings from the playing field, e-waste, wood pallets, printer and copier toner cartridges, dry cell batteries, light bulbs and light ballasts.
Since the expanded program began in August, the ballpark has been averaging 10-12 tons of diverted food residuals per homestand, or approximately 1.5-2 tons of material per game. Both pre and postconsumer organics are collected from the commissary, food prep kitchens, concession stands and suites (private box seats in the ballpark). Currently there are eighty 35-gallon toters, hot-stamped “Food Waste Only,” used for collection. Another 20 toters will be employed as Aguilar expands the program to the restaurants.
Organics are tipped into a compactor with a 10-ton capacity and transported to Miramar on a weekly basis. At each collection location a staff member is assigned to deliver the toter to the trash-sorting area. A designated lift operator receives and checks the material for contamination, then loads it into the compactor. The operator then passes it back to the same staff person, who takes it to the washroom to be rinsed. Once rinsed, the toter is taken back to its original location. Plans for the future include assigning a rinsing station attendant. The recently added compactor with a hydraulic lift helps tip toters into the vessel. Previously, lifting heavy, food-laden bins was a problem.
The challenges experienced and modifications implemented to overcome them are beginning to payoff. PETCO Park saves about $1,200 each home stand in avoided waste hauling fees, and that number is sure to increase as local landfill capacity dwindles and rates go up. San Diego’s landfill has been projected to close in 2012, depending on the outcome of a proposed permit expansion.
An expansion of the Miramar Greenery, located on a closed section of the city-operated landfill, is in the works as well. Currently permitted for a maximum design capacity of 40,000 cubic yards of material undergoing the composting process at anyone time, the city’s Environmental Services Department has applied to the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) to increase capacity to 200,000 cubic yards of feedstock, active compost and product on site at anyone time, and an annual capacity of 144,000 tons. In addition to PETCO Park’s material, the facility currently accepts food residuals from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego State University, the Del Mar Fairgrounds and a handful of other smaller generators.
“Our next goal is to make use of the compost created from our food scraps,” concludes Aguilar. “We’ll be speaking with our landscaping company to explore using compost here at the ballpark, effectively closing the recycling loop.”
Greenwood, South Carolina: Methane From Local Landfill Will Fuel 40 Percent Of Operations At Fujifilm Complex
Through an arrangement with Greenwood County and Methane Credit LLC, methane gas will be extracted from the local landfill and piped into the Fujifilm complex where it will be used in two of the facility’s four boilers. The company will use approximately 197 billion BTUs of methane each year – the amount of energy used to heat more than 5,000 homes. This project will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent, reduce our energy costs and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, says a company director. By 2010, Fujifilm intends to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent from its 1990 numbers.
Waseca, Minnesota: Auri Projects Are Becoming Potentially Large-Impact Realities
Whether the ideas come from inside or outside the organization, initiatives from staff at the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI) are not attached to a commercial business, but they warrant research because they are potentially large-impact projects, writes Dan Lemke, who is Communications Director. “We have been developing these industry-wide initiatives and find them helpful in examining trends that have the potential to use commodities in a new way or develop a new use that hasn’t been identified,” says Michael Sparby, AURI project director. “Unlike other AURI projects that are proprietary and provide information only to the entity we are working with, whatever we discover from these initiatives becomes public.”
Previous initiatives yielding valuable information include using liquid leftovers from ethanol production for fertilizer, evaluating agricultural biomass for use in deep-bed compost and determining economic realities of pelleting biomass for energy.
Two years ago, Minnesota farmers jumped into the biodiesel market by opening three refineries producing more than 60 million gallons annually. Minnesota also became the first state to require that two percent biodiesel be added to every gallon of diesel, creating an instant market for about 18 million gallons of biodiesel.
“AURI was created to be proactive,” says executive director Teresa Spaeth. “A large portion of our project portfolio allows us to set trends on a broadscale.” Some 2008 initiatives include: Phosphorus and potassium availability from ash as a fertilizer source; Evaluation of biomass dryer technologies, costs and efficiencies; Utilization of waste water for value-added processing; Assessment of syngas production and utilization; Small-volume ethanol plants; and Investigating biosurfactant organisms found in biodiesel.
San Francisco, California: Designing Buildings On The Front End To Reduce Waste“Reusing valuable building materials conserves resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions,” said Susan Bodine, assistant EPA administrator, at a green awards ceremony here, of the Lifecycle Building Challenge competition. Lifecycle building maximizes material recovery to reverse the trend of disposing of C&D debris.
In the United States, buildings consume 60 percent of total materials flow and account for 33 percent of the solid waste stream. Building renovation and demolition accounts for 91 percent of the C&D debris generated each year, while new construction accounts for only nine percent. Between 2000 and 2030, 27 percent of existing buildings will be replaced and 50 percent of total building stock will be constructed.
The challenge grew out of a project that EPA helped fund at the Chartwell School in Seaside, California. The school tested new systems including nail-free paneling, centralized raceways, structural insulated panel roofing and cold joint sidewalks that can be easily moved for reuse.
Clackamas County, Oregon: Recycling Office Teams Up With Local Growers To Launch Reusable Containers
A small grant was given to a local organic grower by the county’s solid waste office to reduce waste through replacing throw away waxed boxes with reusable produce containers. The project is part of the Portland area commitment to eliminate waste and lower greenhouse gas emissions in delivery of fresh food. The goal is to “close the loops” by reusing rather than throwing away materials. In a lifecycle assessment, the average reusable application creates 95 percent less total solid waste, generates 29 percent less total greenhouse gas emissions and requires 39 percent less total energy than common corrugated boxes. The region’s effort’s expected to have eliminated about 8,000 waxed boxes from the disposal stream this past summer alone.
Ramsey, Minnesota: City Trails Constructed With Tire Chips Outperform Trails With Traditional Fills
As reported by Scrap Tire News (STN), tire shreds have proven themselves. Says Ramsey Mayor Tom Gamec: “You can tell which sections of trail have tire shreds and which don’t because the parts with tires are showing no signs of wear.” Roughly 24,000 recycled tires were used to bridge soft soils under a trail that circles the park. The tire chips work like a snow shoe, suspending the trail on top of the soft soils. The trail is mostly for walkers and bikers.
According to the STN account, a geotextile fabric was placed under and over the tire shreds. The fabric allows water to go through and drain freely through the shreds, but it keeps out soil. Tire chips are a couple inches to a few inches in size.
“In a well designed application, the performance has met or exceeded that of other materials,” explains Monte Niemi of the Recycled-Tire Engineered Aggregate company. “And, it’s more cost effective.” Two main benefits are that they provide a stable base and have insulating properties which keep frost from causing the surface to heave or settle.
Spencer, Wisconsin: Sewage Treatment Plant Solution
The Village of Spencer, Wisconsin manages sewage for a population of 1,800 people plus sludge from a few surrounding large industries. In order to prevent freezing problems, the community needed a building to cover two sewage tanks which would hold 165,000 gallons each, enough storage to last 180 days. To produce a consistent fertilizer and minimize maintenance, the Village board purchased a 55-by 62-foot Cover-All Legend building which would create a solar effect and keep the heat in. Notes Gerald Marden, plant operator: “Our aeration process to keep bacteria alive works at full capacity, every day of the year now – without freezing. Installation of the building was done over the sewage tanks while the tanks were still in use.”
St. Louis, Missouri: State Issues 325 Cleanup Certificates For Brownfields Advances
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has issued 325 site cleanups for its Brownfields/Voluntary participation program. Underused or abandoned commercial sites, brownfields are located primarily in urban areas that are either contaminated or thought to be contaminated. Through the Brownfields/ Voluntary cleanup program, private parties agree to clean up a contaminated site and are offered some protection from future state and federal enforcement. Certificates of Completion from the state were give to the following sites:
At the Morgan Linen Building, in St. Louis, cleanup included asbestos containing materials, lead based paint and ballasts with polychlorinated biphenyls in a building constructed in 1930. The main portion has been used for commercial laundry operations including dry cleaning, pet and tool shops.
Another site in St. Louis – a seven-story building home to financial institutions known as the Bankers Lofts – had asbestos containing materials and lead-based paint removed. It will be developed for commercial or retail use on the first floor and residential loft apartments on the upper floors.
Cleanup of petroleum hydrocarbons in soil and closure of a fuel oil underground storage tank took place at the Future Solae Headquarters. In accordance with a remedial action plan, the storage tank was removed, soil was removed and remediation reduced chemicals of concern to levels appropriate for unrestricted land use. The site will be developed for soy-based food products.
For more information, call the Brownfields Voluntary Cleanup Section at 1-800-361-4827.
Asheville, North Carolina: High Demand Reported In Study For Locally Grown Food
The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP) provides a detailed look at the food and farming economy of Western North Carolina and explores the potential to expand local markets for local farm products. The 320-page report, Growing Local: Expanding the Western North Carolina Food and Farm Economy, is the culmination of a multiyear research project funded by the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SSARE) program. The research details: 1) what food and farm products are currently produced in the region; 2) how much of what is produced is also consumed in the region; 3) the potential for increasing local consumption of locally produced food and farm products as a way to strengthen the regional farm economy; and 4) where investment of resources and other actions could eliminate barriers currently impeding the purchase of local food. The report may be downloaded from the ASAP Web site

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