Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 29, July 20, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Some folks are confused about what happens when they throw something away and who owns it. The question of trash ownership has now reached the Seattle courts. If the stuff is still your stuff, you can expect other people, neighbors, vagrants, cops, and the local municipality to not poke around in it and respect your right of privacy: it is still your stuff. But if you give a box of old stuff to Aunt Betty, the Salvation Army or your town’s contracted trash collector, that box and all its contents then belong to that person, company, or agency.

The laws in most places are pretty clear about who owns the trash. If you don’t cause problems for others, you can keep your stuff and do with it what you want. But if you have crud you don’t want, you can (and many places must ) pay others to take it away. We call that stuff you discard Trash, and we call those we pay to come along and gather it up, Trash Collectors. For trash to be picked up, you set out the trash can at the curb. From there, managing that trash is up to their route timing and their collection labor.

Here’s the way it works: if you discard something and expect someone else to come along and deal with it, that stuff that was yours now becomes their stuff. You threw it away, remember? For trash to be picked up, you transfer ownership when you set out the trash can at the curb.

If you live somewhere with rules for what you throw away, play by the rules, change the rules, or move on. That sure goes for food waste, the source of the problem in Seattle. Some folks there want to change the rules, a little anyway: "I am ready to comply, so long as I am not inconvenienced." Yes, make the nasties go away, but don’t peek. How embarrassing … and pretty soon, costly. Fines are going to accompany bad choices about what you put into which can for the Trash Man. Yes, somebody is now looking in the cans so the system will work.

This is simple. If you don’t want others pawing through your stuff, don’t give it to them. At the very least, pay attention to what you toss, because until stuff is actually set out to the curb, it remains in your ownership, under your control. You transfer ownership to your waste hauler when you put the trash can out to the curb. You can indeed get rid of your objectionables by giving them up to your friendly local garbage service en route to pick-apart facilities and eventually that big local landfill, but once you release ownership of your trash, your "expectations of privacy" are gone.

Hey Rube!

We’ve had a Big Week for News. Folks all over are busy turning trash from being a Liability into being an Asset. Hospital food waste now gets converted on-site into their own heat and power. Coffee grounds become fuel pellets, while dreaming of becoming biodiesel. Petro Power Plants pay for Dairy Digesters, sort of. DOE’s ARPA-E wants to boost residential CHP, while the EPA shines the Bright Green Light on waste to biomaterials successes. Hawaii’s biodiesel family joins hands and parties, mahalo. The Aussies turn MSW to Biogas. Russia gets Waste to Energy; China gets Big Cellulosic Ethanol. Companies glom onto industrial refinery CO2 and even strip it right out of the air we breathe, all to make non-petro commodities. Ya gotta love it. 

This Week's Top Story

ArcelorMittal, LanzaTech, Primetals Partner to Construct €87m Biofuel Facility

ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel and mining company, LanzaTech, the carbon recycling company, and Primetals Technologies, a leading technology and service provider to the iron and steel industry have announced entering into a letter of intent to construct Europe’s first-ever commercial scale production facility to create bioethanol from waste gases produced during the steelmaking process. 07/13/2015

The Week's News

DuPont Signs Deal to Bring Cellulosic Ethanol Technology to China

DuPont and Jilin Province New Tianlong Industry Co., Ltd., (NTL) have announced a licensing agreement to begin the development of China’s largest cellulosic ethanol manufacturing plant, located in Siping City, Jilin Province, China. 07/17/2015

HZI to Furnish Swiss Technology to Russia for Energy from Waste Project

Zurich, Switzerland based Hitachi Zozen Inova AG (HZI) has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Government of the Moscow region of Russia and the Russian State Corporation Rostec for Energy from Waste (EfW) development. 07/17/2015

WELTEC Builds Biogas Plant on French Farm with Heat Benefit for Hospital

German manufacturer WELTEC BIOPOWER has announced that it will building a 255-kW biogas combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Mirecourt, Lorraine/France, together with its partner Domaix Energie. 07/16/2015

California Awards Cap-and-Trade Funds for 5 Dairy Digesters in Central Valley

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has selected five projects for approximately $11.1 million in grants to implement digester technology on California dairy operations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from dairy manure. 07/16/2015

Praxair Signs Long-Term Supply Agreement for Refinery’s Carbon Dioxide

Connecticut based Praxair, Inc has signed a long-term agreement with Delaware City Refining Company to purchase crude carbon dioxide from the refinery. 07/16/2015

UK Railway Stations and Bio-Bean Convert Coffee Waste to Biofuels

United Kingdom company Network Rail has signed an agreement with bio-bean for a new recycling project that is turning coffee waste into fuel and helping cut the cost of running the railway. 07/16/2015

Newlight Signs 20-Year Contract with Vinmar for 19B Lbs of AirCarbon PHA

California based Newlight Technologies, LLC has signed a master off-take agreement with Texas company Vinmar International Ltd for the sale of 100% of AirCarbon PHA from Newlight’s planned 50 million pound per year production facility for 20 years. 07/15/2015

AnaeCo Completes Biological Ramp-up Phase at WMRC Project in Australia

AnaeCo Limited has announced completion of the Biological Ramp-up phase of commissioning at the Western Metropolitan Regional Council (WMRC) Project in Western Australia, now that the biogas scrubber has been commissioned. 07/15/2015

Pacific Biodiesel Technologies and Big Island Biodiesel Unite

Members of Pacific Biodiesel Technologies, LLC (PBT) and Big Island Biodiesel, LLC (BIB), unanimously voted to combine the Companies, making BIB a wholly owned subsidiary of PBT as of July 1, 2015. 07/15/2015

EPA Honors 20th Annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awardees

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recognizing landmark green chemistry technologies developed by industrial pioneers and leading scientists that turn climate risk and other environmental problems into business opportunities. 07/13/2015

DEINOVE Reaches 3rd Milestone of DEINOL Program Using Waste Biomass

France based DEINOVE has announced that it has reached the third of four milestones of its DEINOL project, which is supported by Bpifrance, and validating the work of DEINOVE's proprietary platform. 07/13/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 08/17/2015: SBIR/STTR Applications to DOE for Residential CHP Systems

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has released Funding Opportunity Notice DE-FOA-0001380 for the second round solicitation for 'Generators for Small Electrical and Thermals Systems (GENSETS) -SBIR/STTR.' 07/17/2015

Due 09/10/2015: Response to New York City RFI on Renewable Power Supply

New York City has issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking responses from all entities involved in and supporting the renewable energy sector. 07/16/2015

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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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