BioCycle September 2008, Vol. 49, No. 9, p. 16
LANDFILL GENERATES MORE INCOME FROM RECYCLING AND COMPOSTING THAN DISPOSAL
The Oneida County Sanitary Landfill, in Rhinelander, generated more income last year from composting and recycling than from disposal, says Bart Sexton, the landfill’s solid waste director. Sexton, who announced he would be leaving the position in December, took the job in 1993 and is credited with bringing about significant beneficial changes to the county’s operations. “We sort, bale and sell recyclables,” explains Sexton in the Rhinelander Daily News. “Paper sludge is allowed to break down for one and a half years, then mixed with other materials to make topsoil and yard compost.” The paper sludge compost produces over 400,000 gallons of effluent, which is applied to hybrid poplars grown on an experimental 2.5-acre section of the landfill. “It’s called phytoremediation,” continues Sexton. “The nitrogen and phosphorus are taken up by the trees; it’s fertilizer to them. We’re looking at making another 20 acres available for this project in the future.”
REFUSE AND RECYCLING HAULER TAKES ON FOOD WASTE
John’s Refuse and Recycling, a family-owned waste hauler operating in the New Haven, Connecticut area since 1963, recently started Global Environmental Services (GES), a subsidiary for collecting food waste and yard trimmings. GES initiated food waste collection a few months ago on a pilot scale basis, and already has about 50 customers in the commercial sector, including restaurants, universities and private schools. “We use a vacuum truck to collect material from the bins, and then haul it to New Milford Farms, a composting operation owned by Garick Corp.,” says Andy Bozzuto, President of GES and co-owner of John’s Refuse and Recycling. “We chose a vacuum truck because we won’t have to worry about leakage problems, and if there is a spill, the truck is equipped with street cleaning capabilities. Also, we’re able to vacuum up leaves and grass clippings during the same route, creating an awesome mix and diversifying our hauling contracts.”
John’s Refuse and Recycling has 3,500 commercial customers in the New Haven County area, and all have been offered organics collection by GES. “I own a 70-acre organic farm with my brothers, where we raise beef, swine, goats, as well as fruits and vegetables,” says Bozzuto. “We know the value of composting and recycling, so when sending food waste to New Milford Farms became an option, we started an organics collection company to increase the amount we recycle, and return nutrients back to the soil.”
A scale on the truck weighs the 65-gallon toters (for smaller customers), and numbers are tracked at every collection. One private boarding school has nine 65-gallon toters for food waste collected every other day, weighing approximately one ton. “Garbage tip fees in Connecticut are $80/ton or more, compared to $50/ton for food waste, so that school is saving $30 every other day, not to mention the educational benefit,” explains Bozzuto.
He would like to expand organics collection statewide, but says that would require more composting facilities. “Right now we haul about 60 miles to New Milford Farms,” he says. “To expand across the state, we’ll need several locations, to limit hauling distances and to make sure the predicted volume of material can be processed. I think our customer base and corporate America are ready to add food waste collection to their program. Now the market just needs to catch up with us.”
UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL STADIUM TACKLES RENEWABLE ENERGY AND COMPOSTING
University of Colorado’s football stadium will move towards being a zero waste destination this year, with the hope of recycling or composting at least 90 percent of the waste generated – the equivalent of a approximately nine tons per home game. The nonprofit Bonneville Environmental Foundation will offset 100 percent of the stadium’s electricity during home games with renewable energy. And, the Colorado Carbon Fund, a program of the Governor’s Energy Office, will be used to offset football team travel and other football related energy use. These iniatives are part of WhiteWave Foods Company’s “Green Stampede,” a program at University of Colorado intended to reduce waste and increase renewable energy use.
RECYCLING SPOILED PRODUCE FROM FOOD BANK
Foodshare, the regional food bank for the Hartford, Connecticut area diverts food waste from its waste stream for composting. Roughly one-third of the food distributed by Foodshare annually to food pantries, community kitchens, shelters and other organizations is fresh produce, not all of which can be used. It therefore conducted a three-year pilot program, installing a grinding mill, holding tank, blower and peripheral equipment to recycle the spoiled produce. The resulting slurry is stored in a tank on site, and then shipped to local farms for composting. During the three years, 377 tons of spoiled produce were composted, saving Foodshare $32,497 in avoided disposal costs.
Since the completion of the pilot program, Foodshare has made some equipment upgrades (for example, replacing the grinder with a chopper pump), and continued operations. A more detailed article about the pilot program operations and equipment is forthcoming in BioCycle.
PIZZERIA USES ON-SITE VERMICOMPOSTING TO REDUCE WASTE
The Red Grape Pizzeria, in Sonoma Valley California, began vermicomposting on its back patio to divert the restaurant’s food waste. Started by 19-year old waitress Starielle Newman, the restaurant bought 6,000 worms, placed them in a 24-cubic foot redwood box, and fed them 15 pounds/week of fruit and vegetable scraps. Newman notes that the worms will multiply quickly, and that hopefully in just a few months the Red Grape Pizzeria will be able to compost all 300 pounds/month of scraps it collects. “Why not use this at every restaurant? It’s so easy,” she says.
Mansfield, New Jersey
NEW FIRM TO OPERATE COMPOSTING FACILITY IN BURLINGTON COUNTY
WeCare Organics, based in Jordan, New York, was awarded the contract to operate the composting facility located at the Burlington County Resource Recovery complex, formerly operated by Synagro. “WeCare is capable of efficient operation of the composting facility and compliance with environmental regulations,” says County Freeholder Bill Haines. The facility processes biosolids and wood chips, and is permitted to receive food waste. The compost is sold to landscapers and soil manufacturers. WeCare will be paid a $1 million base operating fee for the first year of the contract, which also specifies that the county will receive 20 percent of the compost sales revenues. The contract also calls for $3.8 million in capital improvements. Under the improvement plan, corrosion on the building’s metal beams will be removed and the interior will be covered with a corrosive-proof coating. The county will also purchase new aeration blowers. For more information, contact Jeff LeBlanc, President of WeCare, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-866-SOIL-2-GO.
IN-VESSEL COMPOSTING UNIT DELIVERED TO UNIVERSITY
Ohio University’s (OU) long awaited in-vessel composter was delivered in August. The Wright Environmental Management unit can process two tons/day. A building is being constructed to house the unit, and a solar array will be installed on the roof in mid-September to provide a portion of the required power. OU started waste audits last year in preparation for the in-vessel composter (see “Laying Groundwork for Campus Composting,” BioCycle June 2007), and will divert pre and postconsumer food waste from campus dining halls, as well as biodegradable plastic products.
Lunenberg, Nova Scotia
COMPOSTING FACILITY TO MANAGE CORROSION PROBLEMS WITH NEW BUILDING
The Lunenberg Regional Community Recycling Facility is in the process of deconstructing the building that houses its composting operation, while simultaneously continuing to compost. The facility opened in 1994, with an Ebara wide-bed composting system housed in a 44,000-square foot metal building. Due to gases released during the composting process, corrosion issues were discovered soon afterwards in 1996. Since then, corrosion has led to health and safety issues, and ultimately, a recent decision to replace the building with a Cover-All structure. The Cover-All is a polyethylene fabric stretched over a steel structure, which is expected be much more resistant to corrosion. This project will be part of BioCycle’s October “Operator Insights” series on Buildings and Corrosion Control.
VERMONT COMPOST COMPANY GRANTED TEMPORARY REPRIEVE
An agreement was reached in late August between Vermont Compost Company and the state Natural Resources Board that will allow Vermont Compost to continue its operation until July 2010. Both parties agreed with the Environmental Court’s decision to place charges on hold, as long as Vermont Compost abides by certain restrictions. The composter was previously charged with being a compost manufacturing facility without an Act 250 permit, instead of a farm. In a related development, legislation was passed requiring the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources to set up a committee to examine whether there are better ways to regulate composting, and to report its recommendations by January 15, 2009. “The settlement is a constructive, forward-looking solution that balances the state’s mandate to protect Vermont’s environment with its desire to promote composting,” says Karl Hammer, President of Vermont Compost Company.
UNIVERSITY COMPOSTING PROGRAM CREATED BY GRADUATE STUDENT
Missouri University (MU) graduate student Adam Saunders started a 10-week composting program as a part of a service learning class. Leftovers at Rollins Dining Hall are pulped, and then students and volunteers use a bicycle trailer to haul the material to Saint Joseph Community Garden, where it is composted with manure. They estimate that one ton/week of food waste has been diverted from the waste stream. The class is funded by a $4,000 Information Technology grant from MU, and uses scales, thermometers and portable computers to track weights and temperatures. Saunders has applied for additional funding to conduct a three-year soil study, analyzing the nutrient content of the compost. He also has considered expanding the program to include other dining halls, but notes that each would have to have a food pulper, a justified expense when considering both the environmental benefit and savings in tip fees.
Oak Park, Illinois
ZERO WASTE BREW FEST ACHIEVES 80 PERCENT DIVERSION RATE
The Oak Park Microbrew and Food Review, which attracted over 500 attendees on August 23, achieved an 80 percent diversion rate through composting and recycling. Working with Seven Generations Ahead, a local nonprofit focused on environmental sustainability, the event used Clear Stream receptacles for recyclables and compostables, and placed Zero Waste volunteers at each station to make sure waste was sorted properly. Compostable plates and napkins were provided, as well as potato starch forks. Reusable glasses were supplied for the beer.
GRANTS OFFERED FOR LARGE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS
Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, is offering $1.3 million in grants to finance the installation of large innovative renewable energy systems. Grants will be awarded to projects in several categories: Industrial or Municipal Anaerobic Digesters; Biomass Combustion; Solar Water Heating; Solar Electric; and Wind Energy. “These grants offer a one time opportunity for businesses and nonprofits to apply for projects that are twice as large as those normally accepted by Focus on Energy,” says Don Wichert, Program Director for Focus on Energy’s Renewable Energy Program. “We believe there is an emerging demand for renewable energy systems at this larger level, offering businesses a way to mitigate the effects of fossil fuel-based energy use, reduce pollution and lessen America’s dependence on energy from overseas.” For more information, call (800) 762-7077, or visit www.focusonenergy.com.
September 22, 2008 | General
BioCycle September 2008, Vol. 49, No. 9, p. 16