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Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 18, May 4, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "TerĂº")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Produce prejudice, that's what it is! Let's hear it for misbegotten melons, too-lumpy tomatoes, twisted carrots - let's all join the ugly fruit and vegetable movement. Rebel, we say, against the picture perfect produce that graces our store isles, and seek out those misfit apples whose only crime has been to not be pretty enough to make the marketability cut.

This is big-time wastage. The United Nations last year estimated that about one half of all food crops never make it to market for primarily cosmetic reasons; the tally of just the edible parts sent to disposal accounts for literally billions of tons of waste annually.

There's Good Food, ready to eat. There's truly bad stuff that probably once was food, the inedible trimmings and rapidly rotting muck that's not fit fodder for man nor beast - but well suited for conversion to compost or biogas. And then there's all those odd apples and lumpy potatoes, too small beets and too big lemons that never make it to market due to this persistent aesthetic of what Food is supposed to look like - bigotry of the bounty; produce prejudice.

But c'mon: nobody's gonna buy a three-legged carrot. How would you peel it? Au contraire: French supermarket Intermarche finds that there are ready markets for inglorious groceries. A restaurant in Greenwich Village temporarily reinvented itself as wastED and gloried in feeding the kale ribs and potato peels to their high-end patrons. And in Washington D.C, two college kids, er, students , have started MISFIT Juicery to turn misshapen fruits and veggies into their sought-after bottled juice blends: their motto: Drink Ugly Produce.

Conversion technology platforms include the microbial approaches, the thermal treatments, and yes, the kinetic processing systems. Kinetics: the carefully combined acts of selecting, collecting, washing, grinding, squishing, spinning, and separating that can turn food nightmares into salable food goods. To actually manage the burgeoning wall of food waste, we need to recover what we can from the perfectly acceptable, wholesome and nutritious, yet cosmetically disadvantaged produce and make sure it gets used as Food. Some, we simply need to intercept, collect, wash, and distribute to people (and other critters) that are hungry. Lots more can be kinetically processed into haut cuisine, or at least, Juice.

Right now in the United Kingdom, people are starting to worry that there might not be enough food waste and other rotting organics to keep their ever-growing number of anaerobic digesters burping up biomethane. Before we ever get to that oddly disturbing state of waste conversion, let's make sure we remember and apply our axiom of Highest and Best Use. Feed the hungry first, then the microbes.

Hey Rube!

Details, details: when we really try to understand anything, it takes a lot of work to pick apart the minutiae, sorting what is of high value from that of lesser status. The European Union tasked itself with seeing what "indirect land use change" means for biofuel production. They've now capped land-based biofuels at 7% to lessen the environmental burden from crop conversion to fuel, while proclaiming waste- and residual-sourced biofuel as supreme. Told ya.

This Week's Top Story

European Parliament Supports 2nd Generation Waste and Residual Biofuels

The European Parliament has voted to put a 7% maximum cap on land based biofuels, those made from maize, sugar cane, corn or rapeseed. 04/28/2015

The Week's News

Republic, DTE and Aria Partner on California Landfill Gas to Energy Facility

Republic Services, Inc has announced a new landfill gas-to-energy (LFGTE) project located at Sunshine Canyon Landfill in Sylmar near Los Angeles, California. 05/01/2015

CEC Schedules Workshop on IEPR Renewable Action Plan Progress

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has announced a commissioner workshop scheduled for Monday, May 11, 2015 to discuss progress on actions identified in the 2012 IEPR Update Renewable Action Plan. 05/01/2015

Viridor's Beddington EfW Plant Gets Judicial Approval to Proceed

Viridor has announced that the final judicial ruling has been issued confirming that due process was followed by the London Borough of Sutton when deciding to grant planning permission for the company’s proposed Energy Recovery Facility in Beddington. 04/29/2015

RSB Releases Draft Standard for Low Indirect Impact iLUC Biofuels

The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) has released the draft “Low iLUC Risk Biomass Criteria and Compliance Indicators.” 04/29/2015

Global Bioenergies Receives Tech40 Designation from French Ministry

France headquartered Global Bioenergies reports that it has been selected as only one of two French companies in the field of biotechnology to receive the Tech40 designation. 04/28/2015

Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant to Celebrate 5 Years, Dedicate New Bioreactors

Bio Base Europe has released an invitation to attend the organization's celebration of 5 years of Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant and the Inauguration of 15,000 Liter Bioreactors. 04/28/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 05/21/2015: Proposals to City of Palo Alto for Renewable Electric Power

The City of Palo Alto, California has released a Request for Proposals RFP 156876 to provide electric power generated by renewable resources to meet the City’s long-term renewable portfolio needs. 04/29/2015

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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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