Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 51, December 28, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

We're staring down the barrel of 2016. Have we learned anything about this whole business of waste conversion? Do we need to stop and maybe rethink how we spend our time and money?

We know we should be recovering resources instead of destroying them. We need to recycle, reconstitute, and remanufacture the resources we recover. We've spent a lot of time and money understanding and implementing the front end of that cycle. Communally, we can collect, sort, clean, and pretreat discards. Now we need to turn those resources back into goods. That sounds logical, environmentally sound, and maybe even economical. So what's stopping us?

Over the course of our civilized lives, we have 'de-industrialized' our beautiful communities. The 'constituents' (that's us) complain, and our chosen leaders make the laws, regulations, and policies that push, push, push all those nasty industries further and further away. Now when we look around for things to do with the resources we have recovered, there is precious little local remanufacturing. About all we can do is put the stuff in shipping containers on trains and boats and trucks, and wave goodbye. Without localized industrial infrastructure we have no say in keeping that last reconstituting and remanufacturing stage clean. We've added on thousands of miles of transport emissions. We've also given up the jobs along with the resources.

We can fix this: we have the tools; we have the know-how. We just need the social and political will necessary to carve a functional, purposeful pathway through the regulatory maze. What does this new circular pathway look like, if overlain on our pretty non-industrial community structure?

Think 'infill': lots and lots of smaller, lower volume back-end processing and remanufacturing complements, imbedded in the fabric of our day-to-day lives. We need to put the Unmaking and  Remaking plants right in close to the pick-apart stations, adding in the clean reconstituting and remanufacturing to the places where we collect, sort, and clean the stuff in the trash. Think 'short-haul': let's learn to reduce the number of miles old stuff has to be transported before it can be taken apart and remade into new goods. Think co-location: put the take-apart and remake plants at scales and in locations matched to the types and quantities of old stuff we throw away, and match up the remanufacturing to the very areas where the new stuff is needed.

If the only raw materials we could get our hands on were in the stuff we were throwing away, we'd figure this out and get this done. Let's pretend that's the case: that we can't just import all those special resources we need to make new goods. We would have to start looking around for local resources, and then we'd find our sources of resources in the things we throw away. Pretty soon we'd stem that tsunami of trash and be recycling, constituting, remaking, and reusing just about everything. When we really Value Resources, we will remember that we have these ready-made local mountains of raw materials, just waiting to be mined. Right now, we call them Landfills.

Hey Rube!

California's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is trying to find a new way to pay for its own existence. If your job is to get everyone to not dispose of as much trash but your paycheck required that they keep dumping, the better your effort, the less money you have to do the work with. You must somehow have to uncouple your agency's survival from per-ton disposal fees. Watch this one; it is getting interesting.

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This Week's Extra Reading

New Pretreatment Process Improves Conversion of Woody Biomass to Biofuels

Researchers at Chonnam National University, South Korea, have published a study on a new pretreatment process for woody biomass that enables efficient and cost-effective separation of lignin from cellulose and hemi-cellulose materials. 12/26/2015

This Week's Top Story

RES Polyflow Will Build Commercial Waste Plastics-to-Fuel Plant in Indiana

Ohio based RES Polyflow LLC has announced that Ashley, Indiana has been selected as the location for its Midwest plastics-to-fuel production facility. 12/22/2015

The Week's News

Bio-on and Gruppo Plan Facility in Italy to Produce Bio-Plastic from Glycerol

An agreement signed by Bio-on and S.E.C.I. S.p.A, part of Gruppo Industriale Maccaferri, will see Italy's and world's first facility for the production of PHAs bioplastic from glycerol, a biodiesel production co-product. 12/26/2015

California Air Resources Board Posts FAQ on New Alternative Diesel Regs

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has posted a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to assist regulated parties in complying with the Regulation on the Commercialization of Alternative Diesel Fuels (ADF regulation) that was adopted by the Board in September 2015. 12/23/2015

NIB Finances Biomass Combined Heat and Power Plant in Sweden

Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and the municipality of Jönköping have agreed on a long-term loan for SEK 100 million (EUR 10.8 million) for the construction of a combined heat and power (CHP) plant, and the expansion of the local fiber optic cable network. 12/23/2015

BETO Announces NOI to Develop Pathways to Biofuels and Bioproducts

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has announced its intent to issue a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) entitled "MEGA-BIO: Bioproducts to Enable Biofuels." 12/23/2015

Ramboll Environ Shows Dairy Digesters are a Good Investment for California

According to a new study by Ramboll Environ, dairy methane digesters are among the most cost-effective investments the State of California can make to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and help achieve the state's climate change prevention goals. 12/23/2015

US Biodiesel Production and Blender's Tax Credit Reinstatement Approved

The US Biodiesel Production and Blending Tax Credit (BTC) was passed on December 18, 2015 by Congress as part of the budget package just before their holiday recess. 12/21/2015

Mitsui and Avantium to Commercialize bio-based FDCA and PEF in Asia

The Netherlands company Avantium has signed an agreement with Mitsui & Co., Ltd, to commercialize 100% biobased chemicals FDCA (2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid) and PEF (Polyethylene Furanoate) in Asia. 12/21/2015

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Recommended Reading:

 CHAGALL: The Recycling Dragon
CHAGALL: The Recycling Dragon
by Marty Strauss

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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