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Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume II, Issue 23, June 4, 2012 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

MRF First! A "MRF" is a Materials Recovery Facility, which is a fancy name for a garbage pick-apart station. Before we send trash elsewhere, before we decide what else to do with the stuff we toss, we try to send it through a MRF first. A MRF is where all the stuff we've thrown away gets gathered together, dumped out on a "tipping floor", and pushed onto long conveyors. From there, integrated sensors and hand-eye coordination attempt to sort the mélange into the recognizable, recoverable, Recyclables. We call what doesn't get pulled off the conveyor, "Residual" and right now about half of the incoming trash remains after sorting, and almost all of that gritty, moist, confusing conglomeration of left-overs goes out the MRF Back Door and straight to the dump. 50% Diversion, or conversely, 50% Lost. The big MRFs handle up to 4,000 tons of Incoming Trash per day. At 50% diversion, that means about 2,000 tons of Residual gets dumped. The other 2,000 tons are pulled off the line as Recyclable Goods and kept from going to the landfill. That's good, but of that, an unknown quantity is bundled up and shipped to China. We don't know how much because nobody's counting, but it's substantial. Besides, if nobody counts, it's still Recycled, right? (sarcasm intended) Oh well, we've tried, we've done our best. We've Recovered Recyclables.


Sure, recycling is something most of us attempt to do on a daily basis, sorting out the newspapers, taking the flat cardboard boxes to those big dumpsters behind the market, trying to keep the yard trimmings out of the "black bin" and put into the "green". But those MRFs in the middle of our communities? They STILL take in and attempt to process literally thousands of tons of mixed waste every single day. It's hard to get your head around how much that is. There's only so much Machines and Humans combined can do to separate out that much constantly arriving trash, and the decisions of what to pull and what to leave directly reflect the Bottom Line for the MRF owners. Cardboard prices are up today; the Word goes out to pull more cardboard off the lines. All those soft and gooey food waste scraps mixed in with the ripped plastic bags and fine shards of broken glass? Off the end it goes.


Globally, we Humans are now trying to do Something Else with that Residual. Just what, exactly, is that stuff, and what else can we safely do with it to reclaim the resources it contains? We need to Convert that Waste back to useful goods. Try to Compost it, maybe, or ferment it for alcohols. Cook it slow, pull the molecules apart and make them back into Fuel and Chemicals. Even take it to the Big Burners, if any are still are operating, to turn to Energy. ANYTHING but the Landfill.

Hey Rube!

Sometimes what is done poorly can actually be re-done properly. Sometimes there really is time to correct misjudgments, right the wrong. There are bright folks working in our agencies, and well, everybody gets to make a mistake occasionally. So, keep yer proverbials crossed that CalRecycle can do the self-head-slap, say, "What were we Thinking!" and take care of the mess made last week with that misbegotten Plasco Salinas Valley Project Rescission Letter. Hey, come on. It could happen.

The Week's Extra Reading

We have recently added books to Teru's Bookshelf that we heard about from you, our readers. "Biogas Engineering and Application" is highly recommended by Paul Relis, CR&R. Kay Martin, Bioenergy Producers Association, tells us that " Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think" is a "good read on the promise of technological innovation." Take a look!

The Week's News

Los Angeles County Proposes New Waste Hierarchy for AB 341 Roll-Out

The Los Angeles County Integrated Waste Management Task Force has proposed an alternative to the waste hierarchy presented in the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) draft report "California's New Goal:  75 Percent Recycling. "     06/03/2012

Culinary Software Services Releases Food Waste Tracking Software

Colorado based Culinary Software Services has announced release of ChefTec Waste Tracking Module (WTM) to aid restaurants in accurately analyzing and tracking each element of food in their establishments through processing to disposal.  06/03/2012

Recycled Energy Development Announces Two CHP Projects for Dean Foods

Illinois based Recycled Energy Development (RED) has announced two new combined heat and power (CHP) projects for Dean Foods where integrated utilization of waste heat recovered from on-site power generation will increase efficiencies and reduce the company's overall greenhouse gas footprint.  06/03/2012

CEC AB 118 Awards Support Biodiesel, E85, and Waste Conversion to Biofuel

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has announced unanimous approval this week for award of more than $35 million in Assembly Bill 118 Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program funds (PON-11-601) from the annual program funding allotment of about $100 million. 06/01/2012

Interagency Committee Formed to Assess Clean Tech for Federal Facilities

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced formation of a new interagency advisory committee for accelerated deployment of "innovative products and technologies in the federal sector." 06/01/2012

TOMRA Acquires BEST to Improve Optical Sorting for Waste Processing

Norwegian waste processing specialist TOMRA Sorting Systems ASA (TOMRA) has announced an agreement for full acquisition of the Belgian firm BEST Kwadraat NV for EUR 138 million. 06/01/2012

Phoenix Energy Australia, John Holland Collaborate on Kwinana W2E Project

Melbourne-based Phoenix Energy Australia Pty Ltd has announced an agreement to collaborate with the John Holland engineering and construction firm on a $400 million (AUD) waste to energy (W2E) project in the Kwinana Industrial Area near Perth in Western Australia. 05/31/2012

GESI Enters $45MM Funding Round for Waste Railroad Ties-to-Energy Project

Houston, Texas based Green Energy Solution Industries Inc. (GESI), a renewable energy developer for Canadian projects, has announced that in collaboration with its strategic partner InREFCo, a project funding round of up to $45 million is now being launched. 05/31/2012

adaptiveARC Is Finalist for San Diego Business Journal Innovation Awards

California's thermal waste conversion company adaptiveARC has announced its selection as a Finalist in the San Diego Business Journal's first round Innovator's Award, developed to honor those that "stretch the boundaries." 05/31/2012

Novozymes Opens $200MM Enzyme Plant for Biofuels in Nebraska

Danish enzyme developer Novozymes announced the grand opening of its Blair, Nebraska biofuel-enzyme production facility, leveraging a $200 million investment with 48C manufacturing tax credits that brought the plant on-line quickly. 05/31/2012

National Biodiesel Board & Genscape Launch RIN Integrity Network

The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has announced a new tool intended to help stabilize the federal renewable fuels marketplace in collaboration with Genscape, Inc., with the launch of RIN Integrity Network on-line dashboard. 05/30/2012

PyroGenesis Receives Coup de Coeur Award for Waste Management Plan

Quebec-based plasma waste conversion company PyroGenesis Canada, Inc. has received the prestigious Coup de Coeur award for Partnership and Innovation in recognition of PyroGenesis' participation in development of an integrated waste management plan and unique solution for the Iles-de-la-Madeleine project. 05/30/2012

European Parliament Calls for Waste Recovery Instead of Landfills

Following the plenary session meetings last week of the European Parliament and the European Commission, the Parliament has announced passage of a resolution Thursday calling for member states to gradually phase out landfilling and incineration of any waste that can otherwise be recovered as a resource. 05/29/2012

City of Surrey BC Receives $165K Energy & Climate Action Grant

The City of Surrey, second largest municipality in British Columbia, Canada, announced receipt of a Green Municipal Fund government grant of $165,000 disbursed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FMC) from $550 million in national funds allocated for municipal assistance in "going green." 05/29/2012

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Recommended Reading:

Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamondis and Steven Kotler
Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter Diamondis and Steven Kotler

Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash by Edward Humes
Garbology: Our
Dirty Love Affair
with Trash
by Edward Humes
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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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The Teru Talk Newsletter is published weekly or more or less frequently, primarily depending on what is going on in the world of waste conversion or ours.