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Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 36, September 8, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

What we really want to be developing is a Net Zero Waste policy. That makes more sense (and cents) than thinking our communities can somehow stop generating trash. Trying to plug the flow of that 40,000 tons per day of garbage generated is a Gross Zero Waste policy.

It’s the total amount left over that counts. Communities should continue to encourage their citizens to Reduce, Re-Use, and Recycle; up to that stage there’s a pretty good Path carved out. Then things get tricky. We can collect and sort trash. We can clean and sell recyclables. Beyond that we lack local markets for those recognizable, recyclable materials. There are even fewer ways to pull things apart to their basic components. We pay for the Input of new goods, we pay to send valuable Output Resources out of the area, out of the local economy, and then we pay to store the rest in a dump. Those bits are Potential Resource Assets, not just Trashy Liabilities.

It’s the rest of the Materials that need our focus, the recoverable fibers, the basic structural commodities, the foundation chemicals that need to be recovered from the post-recycling left-overs. The goal is to cleanly take our trash apart near where it is generated, and remanufacture the goods we need, also near our own communities. Separating and cleaning the raw materials from trash and getting it ready for remanufacturing is recycling by legal definition. If we pick away at our discards, adding resource recovery and remanufacturing infrastructure as needed, over time the amount going to the dump will be reduced to zero.

Humans are inventive creatures, and when a need presents itself, someone will find a way to meet that need. In the last couple centuries, we have found incredible ways to make such an amazing diversity of New Goods. This century, we are making progress in creating tools that can then take those goods back apart. By now globally, there are very few manufactured goods that cannot be cleanly converted back to the basics and be manufactured into something again.

We must count everything, identify the pieces and parts, and figure out what makes up the input-output flow of resources in our region, in each region. See what take-apart tools are already there, and what remanufacturing complements are nearby. From that knowledge we can attract in the locally missing pieces and integrate those needed systems within our community commerce. When we can start with 40K a day of garbage and recover the resources from everything, that’s when we will achieve Net Zero Waste.

Hey Rube!

The new AB 341 Report to the Legislature is out from CalRecycle (see news item below). Concept 11 says “Develop a technology-neutral standard for post-recycled residuals that promotes removal of a sufficient amount of recyclables before residuals are used for energy recovery.” Well, that’s at least partly right. If we make some form of Energy out of those residuals, we’re Recycling, not Disposing. What is defined as Energy? What about foundation materials? Here we go again, getting lost in the definitions and buzz-words. Read the report, think about Zero Waste. We’re not there yet. 

This Week's Top Story

Hoosier Energy, Randolph Farms Partner for Landfill Gas to Energy Project

Hoosier Energy and Randolph Farms Landfill have announced a partnership that will turn landfill gas into a renewable energy resource for Randolph County, Indiana. 09/01/2015

The Week's News

CalRecycle Releases AB 341 Report to Legislature, Supports Waste Conversion

California's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has released its Report required under Assembly Bill (AB) 341 to the Legislature on strategies to achieve the goal of 75% waste to landfill reduction. 09/05/2015

New York Governor Announces Food Waste to Energy Project on Long Island

New York Governor Cuomo has announced the launch of a clean energy project on Long Island, the first large-scale anaerobic digester in the New York City metropolitan area. 09/05/2015

New Report Guides Rural Electric Co-ops in Financing Distributed Renewables

The 25x'25 Alliance has released a new research report designed to assist rural electric cooperatives in attracting local funding to build distributed scale renewable energy generation projects. 09/04/2015

Studstrup Power Station Reaches Milestone in Coal to Biomass Conversion

DONG Energy's Studstrup Power Station in Denmark supplies district heating to approximately 225,000 Aarhus residents. 09/04/2015

IBI Launches 2015 Surveys of Biochar Businesses and Volumes

Building on the feedback and results from its 2013 and 2014 State of the Biochar Industry reports, the International Biochar Initiative (IBI) has launched an online survey to collect data in order to continue reporting on 2015 biochar industry trends. 09/04/2015

Bio-on Invests $1.4M for Biomass-to-Bioplastic Research with UH, Mānoa

Italian company Bio-on S.p.A. and the University of Hawaii at Mānoa (UH, Mānoa) have signed an exclusive global research contract to further develop the technology for the production of bioplastic polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) using lignocellulosic materials (wood processing waste) and domestic or agricultural waste as the raw material. 09/02/2015

Royal Inauguration Was Held for Valmet Biomass CHP Plant in Sweden

The inauguration of Oskarshamn Energi's new biomass-fired power plant was held on last Friday, August 28th, 2015. 09/01/2015

The Week's Action Items

Due 09/21/2015: Concept Papers for US DOE Bioenergy Technologies Grants

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced up to $10 million in funding to advance the production of advanced biofuels, substitutes for petroleum-based feedstocks and bioproducts made from renewable, non-food-based biomass, such as algae, agricultural residues, and woody biomass. 09/01/2015

Due 10/14/2015: Applications for Canada's SDTC Tech and Gas Fund Grants

Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) of Ottawa, Canada, is offering the opportunity to get funding for cleantech development projects. 09/01/2015

Due 12/15/2015: Proposals to CEC on Three Concurrent Grant Opportunities

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has announced three concurrent Request for Proposals (RFP) for grant opportunities, with pre-bid conferences and question due dates also scheduled to occur together. 09/03/2015

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Featured Events:
6th Biomass Pellets Trade & Power, Sep 14-16, 2015, Seoul  
 2015 SCWMF Waste Management Conference, November 18, 2015, Pomona, California

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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