Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 40, October 5, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

This is a major Infrastructure Play, this business of a new Zero Waste Circular Economy. We’ve been doing things one way forever and now we want to shift our whole materials management infrastructure significantly, away from disposal and toward resource recovery, reclamation, remanufacturing, toward a Zero Waste environmental sanity. Whew.

Usually we look at the Zero Waste pathway from the front door, from the first few steps down that Yellow Brick Road. That’s a daunting view, uphill most of the way, no end in sight, just an enormous amount of trash. Bolstered by the convenience of No Change, there’s a stodgy, entrenched waste management infrastructure that has been making a decent living, thank you, just with way things are. Meanwhile, our communities push that machine with constant input, with a steady stream of discards that back up quickly if something isn’t done with all that stuff.

Waste management is a push-pull process. Our trashy input pushes, but for resource recovery to work there must be a pull, a demand, for the output. A functional zero waste pathway must match the constant input with an equal demand for the output. The proceeds, the “recyclates” generated by all that sorting, separating, cleaning, pre-treating, and deconstruction back to basic foundation resources need to meet the specifications of those that would put the recovered bits back together into new goods. Resource recovery efforts need to produce materials that “meet spec” of remanufacturing, to ensure off-take agreements. Conversely, we must establish and adhere to recyclate product quality protocols to attract and establish local remanufacturing.

Europe’s all over this one, releasing a whole raft of Quality Protocols or QPs last June. There are QPs for non-packaging plastics. There are QPs for recycled gypsum generated from waste plasterboard, for “flat glass”, for crumbs made from waste tires. Compost QPs differentiate between just ground up woody stuff, and well-degraded, clean, ready-to-use soils amendment. The industry and the government have worked out a set of QPs for the digestate left over from anaerobic digestion (AD), and for the quality and purity of the methane rich gases produced by those AD plants.

North America needs a standardized framework that explains how to achieve an acceptable, dependable, “end-of-waste” status for the recyclate materials we generate. High quality output from the Value Chain of recycling promotes greater use of those materials, reduces industry’s risk-based cost of remanufacturing, and generally increases acceptance across all stakeholders. Quality Protocols help the public understand what is being done with their trash. Industry can depend on measurable metrics upon which to price their off-take agreements. And with a standardized suite of QPs in place, agencies can attend to their own Best Management Practice of implementing and enforcing a Recyclate Quality environmental safety net.

Hey Rube!

Starting out, we all need guidance. Imagine the uphill road Google faces, as they embark on a path to “eradicate waste through smart design”. They’ve partnered with the EU’s most notable Circular Economy gurus at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Those crazy kids at Google say they have already begun to "cut the crap": cutting back on their waste energy, waste materials, waste food, and waste water. Go, Google! Go, Google!

This Week's Extra Reading

Ocean Conservancy Releases Report on Solutions to Plastic Waste in Oceans

The Ocean Conservancy has announced release of Stemming the Tide: Land-based strategies for a plastic-free ocean – a first-of-its-kind, solutions-oriented report that outlines a path toward reducing ocean plastic waste by 45 percent by 2025. 10/02/2015

This Week's Top Story

Stanford Researchers Say Plastic-Eating Worms May Offer Waste Solution

Stanford University engineers, in collaboration with researchers in China, have announced an ongoing study showing that common mealworms can safely biodegrade various types of plastic. 09/30/2015

The Week's News

Google Partners with Ellen MacArthur Foundation to Eradicate Corporate Waste

Google has announced a new partnership with the United Kingdom (UK) based Ellen MacArthur Foundation, whose mission is to accelerate the transition to a regenerative “circular economy” -- an economy that eradicates waste through smart design. 10/02/2015

CEC Posts WebEx of Multiple EPIC Funding Solicitation Pre-App Workshop

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has posted the Pre-Application Workshop WebEx recording to the CEC website for the following three solicitations: GFO-15-306: Regional Energy Innovation Clusters, RFP-15-305: Sustainable Energy Entrepreneur Development (SEED) Initiative, and RFP-15-304: Connecting Emerging Energy Technologies to Market Needs and Opportunities. 10/02/2015

Community Power's Biomax Walnut-Shell Biochar Receives IBI Certification

The International Biochar Initiative (IBI) has announced that the Colorado company Community Power Corporation (CPC) has received IBI certification for its walnut-shell biochar through the IBI Biochar Certification Program. 10/01/2015

Joule Achieves US EPA Registration for Ethanol from Recycled CO2

Massachusetts based Joule Unlimited, Inc has announced that its fuel grade Sunflow®-E ethanol has been registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for commercial use in E10 and E15 gasoline blends. 10/01/2015

ADB Will Double Annual Climate Financing to $6 Billion for Asia-Pacific by 2020

The Manila based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has announced that it will double the annual amount of financing for support of climate change mitigation in the Asia-Pacific regions. 09/28/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 10/21/2015: Applications to LBNL Cyclotron Road for 2nd Cohort Program

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's (LBNL or Berkeley Lab) Cyclotron Road energy innovation program has opened registration for applications to participate as members of its second Cohort. 10/01/2015

Due 01/08/2016: Applications for Next Generation Pellet Stove Challenge

The Alliance for Green Heat (AGH) has announced start of application acceptance for innovative biomass pellet fueled stove designs. 10/01/2015

Due 01/15/2016: Proposals to SCE for Second Preferred Resources Pilot

Southern California Edison (SCE) has announced the launch of its Second Preferred Resources Pilot Request for Offers (PRP RFO 2) in central Orange County. 09/28/2015

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 2015 SCWMF Waste Management Conference, November 18, 2015, Pomona, California
 
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Recommended Reading:

Out of the Wasteland: Stories from the Environmental Frontier by Paul Relis  
Out of the Wasteland: Stories from the Environmental Frontier by Paul Relis

 

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Teru Talk is an online publication of JDMT, Inc with the goal of opening the dialogue and providing current news and commentary on issues and successes associated with waste conversion to renewable energy, biofuels and other bio-based products for resource recovery.

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