Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume IV, Issue 26, June 30, 2014 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

It's Pet Peeve Week! and this week I'm peeved about two common Food Waste problems: those little oval plastic stickers on every single apple, pear, plum, and pomegranate - and the Best By dates on everything else.

Those plastic stickers make the cashier's job easier, especially for those behind the register who are newbies to Food Identification, and can't tell an Asian Pear from a Daikon Radish (really!). For the past year or so, I've been trying hard to remember to pry those thingies off my vegetables and fruits because I'd prefer not to have them show up in my own backyard compost a year later. Sometimes they come off clean enough to stick 'em on a handy bit of plastic in the recycle bin - usually I end up gouging out a chuck of apple. I had to laugh though, when I knew that the new brand of bagged compost I had purchased was indeed made from Food Waste because (yup) there were those little plastic ovals, now bleached of ink. But take heart! Stickers made from bioplastics are starting to reach our produce shelves. Chat up your local Produce Manager, and Support Compostable Fruit Stickers.

Now on to a more serious vexation that is disturbing the international food-tech community enough to warrant a scientifically-based assessment (see news item below). It is an industry standard practice to print "Best By", "Sell By", or "Buy By" dates on any food item that could eventually spoil. Milk cartons sure have 'em, as well as bread, butter, crackers, boxes of cereal, packaged meats, frozen vegetables, soup to nuts. Note that these dates do not say "Eat Before this Date or Puke." In reality there is very little to correlate that date with when that item is too old to still be Food. C'mon folks: this is simply a stock rotation helper to make sure that the food manufacturers keep new packages on the shelves. Gee, stores might not throw NEARLY as much food in the dumpster on such a regular basis without them. Here's to the long-standing practice of Planned Obsolescence!

Communities are becoming aware that the food that gets thrown out costs for disposal, yet has value that can be recovered with a concerted effort. Yes, a well designed Anaerobic Digester can economically turn pulverized food scraps into biogas and fertilizer. Folks need non-fossil fuel and energy, but the global need for wholesome food even trumps the need for Renewables. We need to manage the entire flow to really implement a Circular Economy and that includes addressing all the little vexations - including plastic food stickers and Best By dates.

Hey Rube!

International guidance pertinent to clean waste conversion and effective resource recovery often translates curiously when we attempt to apply them to local concerns, but at least they can provide key points to consider. From such deep thinking, we can develop Best Management Practices in lieu of being force-fed another layer of regulations.

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This Week's Top Story

Supermarket Runs on Power Generated Solely from Its Own Food Waste

United Kingdom (UK) based industry partners Biffa and Sainsbury’s have announced that they are celebrating an innovative facility that will allow Sainsbury’s Cannock store to run on power generated solely from the supermarket’s own food waste. 06/25/2014

The Week's News

ESA Releases Draft Fire Guidance for Waste Storage and Processing

The increase in the United Kingdom (UK) in storage and processing of biomass and refuse derived feedstock has been accompanied by a dramatic rise in the number and severity of fires at waste storage and processing facilities. 06/27/2014

Celtic Renewables to Start Next Stage Testing of Whisky Waste to Biofuel

Edinburgh based Celtic Renewables has announced signing an agreement with the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant (BBEPP) in Ghent to undergo next stage testing of its process to turn whisky by-products into biofuel. 06/26/2014

Increased Food Waste Results from Confusing Date Labeling

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) has announced a new scientific review paper entitled "Applications and Perceptions of Date Labeling of Food." in the July 2014 issue of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 06/26/2014

US DOE Awards $100 Million for Innovative Energy Frontier Research Centers

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced a second round of funding totaling $100 million for support of the Energy Frontier Research Center program. 06/26/2014

Vega Biofuels Will Ship 50K Tons of Torrefied Bio-Coal per Year to Europe

US based Vega Biofuels has announced receiving an order to ship its Bio-Coal product to European Power Companies. 6/25/2014

Cleanergy Launches "GasBox" Low-Btu Fuelled Stirling Engine for CHP

Swedish company Cleanergy has announced advanced testing and commercial availability of its modular Stirling-cycle engine generator set, designed to convert low-grade landfill and biogas to combined heat and power. 06/24/2014

CHO Morcenx Thermal Waste Conversion Plant Completes Successful Testing

French parent company Europlasma Group has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary CHO-Power has secured a Preliminary Take-Over Certificate (TOD) for operations at its Morcenx waste and biomass gasification facility. 06/24/2014

ECUA Requests Cost Proposals for Florida Alternative Energy Facility

The Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) located in northeastern Florida has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a waste conversion facility to three previously pre-qualified developers. 06/23/2014

PyroPure Awarded UK Smart Grant Funding for Medical Waste Solution

PyroPure Ltd has announced receipt of an award of £165,200 in Smart grant funding from the United Kingdom's (UK) Technology Strategy Board (TSB) to advance the collection and disposal of clinical waste. 06/23/2014 

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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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