Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 18, May 5, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Ahem. I say, "An Economy based on Waste of its Resources is a False Economy." Whew… that's so easy to preach; not so easy to understand, and difficult to do anything about. Indeed, we are a wasteful society by choice, and that's a hard truth to swallow.

When I choose one apple off the produce counter over another because the first has fewer spots, that's my choice. When the Produce Man makes that cut before I get there and the bruised and lop-sided fruits and veggies never get to the sales shelf, that's a business decision. Then there's the cull that takes away all the packaged goods that are past their "Sell By'" date - not bad, not dangerous, just pulled. It is common practice for a large market to send a half ton of perfectly useable foodstuff to the dumpster each day, and that's a conservative estimate. The same selection for the best of the best takes place from Harvest forward. Farmers won't spend the time and money to collect what they can't sell, and buyers won't think twice about rejecting a truck full of off-specification produce.

Hey, that's OK, right? We can just put all that second-rate organic stuff into Anaerobic Digesters, and make energy out of what we decide isn't up to par. So, are we at risk of justifying our food wastefulness by patting our communal selves on the back for Waste Conversion? There's got to be a proper balance, yet it all comes back to the idea and practice of Highest and Best Use, the opposite of which is "waste".

The idea of resource reuse and recovery is dandy. To make the concept a reality, the proper tools have to be conveniently available to put it into practice. If your market doesn't have any process set up to send the day-old bread to a homeless shelter, and there isn't any food waste collection program that can get those carbohydrates into a digester, that bread's destined for the landfill.

To put the choice of Highest and Best Use into daily practice, we have to intercept resources before they become waste. OK, so I probably will continue to pick unblemished apples, and to check the "Use By" date on the yogurt. I can also ask my local bakery what they do with their day-old bread, and see if maybe there is an excess food redistribution program in my community. Then I can push my county Board of Supervisors toward adding food waste processing infrastructure with an expanded digester able to take in organic goo at our local wastewater treatment plant. But mostly, I can pay more attention.

Hey Rube!

The vast internet-enabled flood of information many of us wade in on a daily basis provides a cornucopia we can use, or one that can bury us. There are bright people everywhere working on the problems presented by the overwhelming need to not waste resources, but we need to be selective in what we glean. Teru Talk works at that "gleaning" process, but we really like to hear back from our dear readers about the waste you recognize, the resource recovery challenges you face, and the solutions you would promote. Stand Up for Resource Recovery!

This Week's Top Story

Akermin to Demo BioCatalyst to Upgrade Biogas at Copenhagen WWTP

Missouri based Akermin has announced entering into a Cooperative Agreement for a commercial-scale demonstration project that will incorporate its biocatalyst technology. 05/03/2014

The Week's News

Pecan Row Landfill Gas to Energy Facility in Georgia Is Officially Open

Energy Systems Group (ESG) has announced the official opening of the Pecan Row Landfill Gas-to-Electricity facility at the Pecan Row Landfill in Valdosta, Georgia. 05/04/2014

Registration of Sustainable Biomass Fuel Begins Under UK’s RHI

The United Kingdom's (UK) Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) has announced that wood fuel suppliers will now be able to register their fuels as sustainable by applying to the Biomass Suppliers List (BSL). 05/04/2014

Proposed Organic Waste Bill AB 1826 Opposed by LA County Task Force

California Assembly Bill (AB) 1826, introduced by State Assembly Member Wes Chesbro this past February, would significantly increase mandatory organic waste separation by commercial enterprises. 05/03/2014

ACORE Releases 'Renewable Energy in Latin America and the Caribbean'

The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) has released a white paper on issues and opportunities in the Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) region renewable energy markets. 04/30/2014

NRCS California Launches Air Quality Chipping Initiative to Assist Growers

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California has announced an initiative to assist farmers in Fresno, Kings, Kern, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus and Tulare counties with fallowed orchards and vineyards impacted by California's ongoing drought. 04/30/2014

TEG Group's Combined AD / Composting Plant Officially Opens in London

The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) has announced that its first investment project has been completed on time, within budget and is generating power. 04/30/2014

Global Bioenergies Granted Key US Patent for Bio-Butadiene Process

France based Global Bioenergies has announced that a patent protecting an essential step in its process to produce bio-sourced butadiene has been granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 04/29/2014

New Valmet Boiler Will Convert 50 Year Old Finnish Coal Plant to Biomass

Finland based Valmet Corporation has announced that it has been chosen by Turun Seudun Energiantuotanto Oy (TSE) as the boiler supplier for their upcoming power plant upgrade in Naantali. 04/28/2014

Thames Water Selects AECOM and Cambi for Sludge Digestion Plant Upgrade

Norway based Cambi has announced that Thames Water has selected AECOM as prime contractor with Cambi as specialist sub-contractor to build an upgrade to the sludge digestion plant at Long Reach STW, in NW Kent, United Kingdom. 04/28/2014

The Week's Action Items

Due 06/10/2014: GHG Reduction Organics Grant Applications to CalRecycle

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has issued the Notice of Funding Availability for Fiscal Year 2014/15 and posted the online application for the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction Organics Grant Program. 

Due 06/16/2014: Consolidated Funding Applications to New York State

New York's Empire State Development (ESD) has announced that the state is now accepting Consolidated Funding Applications (CFA) from businesses, municipalities, not-for-profits, and the public for Round IV of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) initiative. June 16, 2014. 05/03/2014

Due 07/01/2014: Proposals for Commercialization of Cellulosic Nanomaterials

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities has released a Request for Proposals intended to advance development of cellulosic nanomaterials. 04/30/2014

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Recommended Reading:

Waste to energy conversion technology
Waste to energy conversion technology (Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy 2013)


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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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