Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume V, Issue 6, February 9, 2015 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

With a rumble, a big truck moves on down the block bearing away about 50 pounds of this week's accumulation of garbage you set out for the trash man. Most times, that's the last you'll even think about the stuff you put in that big container. Once it a while you just might wonder where all that stuff goes and what actually happens to it. Never fear, we're here to help ... Let's review the basic Fate of Your Trash, and see how this waste game works.

Some jurisdictions have you separate the yard trimmings or green waste into the green bin, the stuff they identify as your recyclables into the blue one, and all the rest of that stinky miss into the black bin. Where we live it all goes into One Big Bin. Either way, the next stop may be the transfer station on its way straight to the landfill or the regional Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). Some of those pick-apart plants are huge, handling thousands of tons of raw trash each day. The big trucks roll onto a concrete pads and dump their load; tractors with front-end scoops push things this way and that. Really nasty wastes get pulled out and secured off to one side. Really clean stuff goes off in the opposite direction. The bulk starts up inclined conveyor belts and on into the guts of the facility.

MRFs employ people to stand along those conveyors. Wearing masks and gloves, they methodically pull goodies off the line: this guy grabs plastic bottles, those two ladies are after the cans. Somebody focuses on cardboard, wire has its place, newspapers go somewhere else. When everything works smoothly the crew can reclaim almost half of the amount that hit the "tipping pad" out front. Too often, the rate is around 25%. The rest falls off the end of those conveyors and gets shipped out to the local landfill. California's regulations require 50% be diverted from the landfill and are hoping for 75%. They call it recycling.

Funny thing though: if cardboard sells for a half cent a ton higher today, more cardboard comes off the line. When raw goods don't have a decent market, it doesn't make sense to spend the time and money to pull it off the line, and the whole lot can end up in the dump. Most areas need more regional reprocessing plants to keep the reclaimed stuff local; more than likely, those recovered raw materials (and jobs) are exported overseas. Our Circular Economy of make, use, reuse / recycle / remanufacture is still a work in progress.

Hey Rube!

There's these big drums with fins on the inside called Dense Media Separators. Mining companies use them to sift out minute amounts of precious metals from mountains of dirt. The grainy, moist, smelly grit that falls off the end of an urban MRF's conveyors is the residue from everything upstream, including broken up electronics. Chances are, we are consistently "tossing out the baby with the bath water", disposing of particles of silver and gold, with the grit. There are always more opportunities for resource recovery from waste.

This Week's Extra Reading

The International Council on Clean Transportation has released a report entitled "Potential low carbon fuel supply to the Pacific Coast region of North America." The study evaluates potential low-carbon fuel deployment in the 2015–2030 timeframe and finds that the policy goals of British Columbia, California, Oregon, and Washington are simultaneously achievable.

This Week's Top Story

Maine MRC Selects Fiberight to Develop Hampden Waste Handling Facility

At its February 4, 2015 meeting, the Municipal Review Committee (MRC) Board of Directors approved a development agreement with Fiberight, LLC after receiving a report on a peer review of its technology performed by the University of Maine Engineering Department. 02/06/2015

The Week's News

AnaeCo Secures $4.6M Bridge Funding to Complete WMRC Project

Australian company AnaeCo Limited has announced that it has secured a $4.6 million loan to fund completion of the Western Metropolitan Regional Council (WMRC) Project at the JFR McGeough Resource Recovery Facility (RRF) in Shenton Park, Western Australia. 02/06/2015

EPA Issues Final Clean Air Standards for New Residential Wood Heaters

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that as of February 3, 2015, its final New Source Performance Standards for residential wood heaters are in effect to make new heaters significantly cleaner and improve air quality in communities where people burn wood for heat. 02/05/2015

GLOBAL BIOENERGIES Reaches First Milestone in BioMA+ Project

France based GLOBAL BIOENERGIES announced that it has reached the first milestone of the BioMA+ project.  02/05/2015

CH2M HILL Designs Innovative Bioenergy Pilot Project in Abu Dhabi

Colorado headquartered CH2M HILL is providing technical support on a new research project at Masdar City-the world's first bioenergy pilot-scale facility to use seawater irrigated desert land to produce both bioenergy and food in the water. 02/05/2015

All Power Labs Is Selected for $2M CEC Grant to Commercialize Powertainer

California based All Power Labs (APL) has been selected to receive a grant award of $2 million from the California Energy Commission (CEC) under funding opportunity PON-14-303 to complete commercialization and deployment of the Powertainer. 02/03/2015

Research Documents Low Cost Tubular Digester Works in Cold Climate

Elsevier Publications' ScienceDirect web service has released a recent publication by South American researchers focused on cold climate co-digestion of varied manure types. 02/03/2015

UK Green Investment Bank Launches Small-Scale Advanced Waste Fund

The United Kingdom (UK) Green Investment Bank (GIB) has announced a £50 million investment into a new fund targeting smaller-scale recycling and waste projects across the UK. 02/03/2015

UK Adds £25M to Auctions to Support Low Carbon Energy Projects

The United Kingdom (UK) government is making an extra £25 million of funding available through auctions for low carbon support, following high levels of demand for contracts. 02/02/2015

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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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