Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume VI, Issue 12, March 23, 2016
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Spring sprung last Saturday, and now that Spring has sprung … we find that Society is trying hard to get a grip on what we continue to do to our lively, lovely home planet. We can argue the merits of the many attempts at Climate Change, Coal Plants, Carbon Sequestration, energy this and water that. Yet through it all, one thing remains constant: Trash.

You can count on Trash. The political parties may have dissembled to spitting matches; the hopes and fears on El Nino may have been reduced to El Nada. Forests shrivel and crisp awaiting the next firestorm. Beetle infestations are diggin’ the dry wood – they hated that sticky sap anyway. Work has slowed to a crawl; the Money remains in hiding for all but the most lucrative projects. But at least there are some things that you can count on: you can count on an overwhelming, continuous supply of Trash.

The popularity of the Circular Economy concept is based in part on acceptance of the reality that we just might run out of something we really, really want and need (horrors!), at the very least causing New Stuff to cost more. We are learning to give marketing kudos to companies who show more Corporate Responsibility, not just Going Green with fleets of biofueled trucks, not just Utility agreements with wind farms and acres of solar panels, but companies who work to send nothing to be landfilled. Think of that for a moment: massive factories touting Zero Waste to Landfill.

It isn’t that those corporate giants don’t make Trash; we all do that: we all acquire new stuff and generate old stuff that has to go somewhere else. Yes, it is very important to find new uses for old stuff: it really does make a difference if we make things last longer, then find secondary ‘repurposed’ uses. But at the magical point when we no longer consider things of use, can’t find secondary uses for them, and can’t even give them away to someone else to use, those items can rightfully be called discards, detritus, trash . The crux then is not with the trash we make, it is what we do with it.

Waste Conversion systems are bottom-feeders. After everything possible has postponed the making of Trash, systems that can take that old crud and tear it apart to foundation chemicals can step in and recover the remaining resources. The alternative to recovery is disposal. Waste conversion for resource recovery puts the resources back into that circular materials flow, while disposal takes those same resources out of the flow and sends them to landfill.

Resource projects need three basic elements: a reliable long term supply of feedstock, a clean and economical process, and solid long-term off-take agreements. In a world where materials to make new things are constantly becoming harder to find, that front-end feedstock becomes increasingly important. But when other materials sources fail, we can always rely on Trash.

Hey Rube!

It seems that everybody is arranging Workshops right now, and a great many of those sessions are provided at no charge. Some preface up-coming Requests for Proposals, others offer timely training on crucial concepts and critical programs. Workshops are two-way in nature: those that host them also want feedback. Step up, tune in, and engage.

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The Week's Top Story

Hertfordshire Council Accepts Veolia's Revised Waste Recovery Proposal

Hertfordshire County Council has accepted in principle a revised project plan put forward by Veolia ES Hertfordshire Limited for the treatment of the county’s residual waste. 03/15/2016

The Week's News

CEC Workshop Seeks Stakeholder Input on Biofuels Program Investments

California Energy Commission (CEC) staff will conduct a public workshop on March 30, 2016 from 9am to 1pm in Sacramento for the Biofuels Program of the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP). 03/18/2016

EPA Hosts Workshop on Biomass in Stationary Source Carbon Strategies

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is hosting a public workshop for states and stakeholders to share their successes, experiences, and approaches to deploying biomass in ways that have been, and can be, carbon beneficial. 03/18/2016

BNDC Hosts Biomass Heating for Remote and Rural Communities Workshop

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's Biomass North Development Centre (BNDC) is presenting a workshop focused on biomass heating for rural and remote communities. 03/17/2016

Researchers Look at Generating Electricity from Tomato Waste

A team of scientists is exploring an unusual source of electricity that uses damaged tomatoes that are unsuitable for sale at the grocery store. 03/16/2016

WRAP Unveils Courtauld Agreement 2025 to Reduce Food Waste

The United Kingdom's (UK) resource efficiency charity WRAP has unveiled a pioneering commitment, which brings together organizations from across the food system for the first time to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable for the future. 03/15/2016

BIODEX-SA First Company in Tunisia to Earn RSB Certification

The Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) has announced that BIODEX-SA, the first company to collect waste oils and transform them into biodiesel in Africa is also the first in Tunisia to earn RSB certification. 03/14/2016

IBI Now Offers Online Training Course on Biochar

International Biochar Initiative (IBI) has announced its online biochar course, Biochar Training for Environmental Sustainability and Economic Development, an intensive training series on all aspects of biochar, presented by leading biochar experts. 03/14/2016

The Week's Action Items

Due 04/06/2016: Response to DOE's RFI on Integrated Biorefinery Optimization

The US Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) has issued Request for Information (RFI) DE-FOA-0001481 to request feedback on issues related to "challenges encountered with the successful scale-up and reliable operation of integrated biorefinery plants (IBRs)." 03/14/2016

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Featured Events:
7th Biomass Pellets Trade & Power, May 16-19, 2016, Tokyo, Japan

 Waste Conversion Technology Conference & Trade Show, Aug 15-17, 2016, San Diego. CA



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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