Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume VI, Issue 3, January 18, 2016 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "TerĂº")  

Teru's Trash Talk

The new stuff we purchase usually comes in layers and layers of packaging material. Once purchased, off comes that packaging and into the trash it goes, never to be thought of again. Packaging is designed in eye-catching colors and in interesting shapes to make the item stand out from its competitors. The packaging is constructed to protect the goods during shipment and handling and usually to provide a degree of theft deterrent. One thing that the design of most product packaging does not help is the after-purchase recycling of that material for resource recovery. Considering that around 25% of the old stuff going into a landfill is packaging, that's a big deal, and reducing that amount is indeed a challenging task.

The global movement toward a Circular Economy must be concerned with the entire flow of goods from new stuff to old stuff and back again, and stimulating a change that redirects packaging away from landfill disposal and back into that materials flow helps close the loop. There are three main ways to cut that disposed tonnage down: (a) convince marketers to not wrap so much packaging around everything in the first place, (b) make sure that whatever packaging is used gets sorted out and recycled by the community, and (c) convince those same product manufacturers and brand owners that sold you the goods to take back their wrappers.

Maybe we all should gather up all the packaging material wastes and send them right back to the manufacturer. But THEN what? What are they going to do with all that paper and plastic? Scrunch all that plastic into big bales, and send it where? If the handling and transport emissions are more than the landfill pollution, what have we gained? The shorter the haul route along that circular pathway, the lower the emissions impact, so Keep It Local is the rule. True 'recycling' includes tearing stuff down to the foundation chemicals, and making those bits meet remanufacturing specifications. Homeowners may not be able to manage that, but with a company like Proctor & Gamble, on-site waste conversion to remanufacturing spec is a real possibility. One manufacturer gathered up their waste plastic and worked with a company to turn it into shoe soles. Now, that's walkin' the walk.

Market Draw occurs when there is more demand for something than supply. Paper is that way right now, with more global demand for recovered fiber than there is output from recovery operations. One way to decrease landfill disposal then is to boost market draw for to-specification raw materials recovered from waste. That works in reverse when policies and regulations get in the way of market-based waste conversion, resource recovery, and remanufacturing. We must envision the ingredients of our purchased goods making it all the way back to become new goods, and that circular pathway has to include both the product, and the wrapper.

Hey Rube!

Our readers are scattered all over the globe, and each of you lives within a community that does something with the cast-off packaging from the stuff you buy. Watch the amount and kinds of packaging you put in your trash this week. Read up on what California is thinking about reducing the tonnage of paper and plastic destined for the dump, and compare it to what is happening in your own area. Then take a few minutes and send CalRecycle your pithy thoughts and profound observations about how the agency should stimulate better packaging waste management.

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This Week's Extra Reading

BGL Research Article Addresses 'Rethinking Waste to Tackle Diversion'

A periodic research publication by Brown Gibbons Lang & Company (BGL) addresses capital markets and mergers and acquisitions activity, financial and operating performance of certain publicly-traded companies, and trends within the environmental services industry. 01/14/2016

This Week's Top Story

California Safe Soil to Open 1st Commercial Food Waste Composting Facility

California Safe Soil (CSS) is moving its aerobic, enzymatic digestion technology development from pilot stage to full scale commercialization with the announcement of a long-term lease at McClellan Business Park in Sacramento County, California. 01/12/2016

The Week's News

JBEI Researchers Develop 1st One-Pot Process to Produce Cellulosic Ethanol

The US Department of Energy's (DOE) Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) researchers have developed a "high-gravity" one-pot process for producing ethanol from cellulosic biomass that gives unprecedented yields while minimizing water use and waste disposal. 01/15/2016

1st Comprehensive Impact Assessment of Trash on Marine Wildlife Published

A first-of-its-kind analysis of the impact of 20 ocean trash items on seabirds, marine mammals, and sea turtles conducted using expert elicitation was published this week in Marine Policy by Ocean Conservancy and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). 01/14/2016

BioHiTech and Partners Convert Supermarket Food Waste to Energy

BioHiTech Global, Inc has announced that its subsidiary, BioHiTech America, has partnered with Natural Systems Utilities, Ridgewood Green RME, and the Village of Ridgewood, New Jersey to test a process that will allow BioHiTech's Eco-Safe Digester to digest, tank, and deliver the effluent from its Eco-Safe Digesters to Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facilities at other locations. 01/14/2016

DOE BETO Webinar: Presentation of 100 Award Winning Bioenergy Projects

The US Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (DOE BETO), the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will present a live webinar titled "Excellence in Bioenergy Innovation—A Presentation of 2015 R&D 100 Award Winning Projects" on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Eastern Time. 01/13/2016

Sierra Energy Sponsors $10,000 Prize For Syngas Business Challenge

A new $10,000 Syngas Challenge Award will be available at the Big Bang! Business Challenge hosted by the University of California at Davis. 01/13/2016

Anellotech and Suntory Advance Toward 100% Bio-Based Beverage Bottles

New York company Anellotech, Inc has announced entering into the next phase of its strategic partnership with Suntory Holdings Limited, one of the world’s leading consumer beverage companies. 01/13/2016


French company Global Bioenergies and US based LanzaTech have announced entering into a new collaboration agreement to broaden the feedstock flexibility of Global Bioenergies’ Isobutene process and the product-portfolio of LanzaTech’s carbon capture technology. 01/12/2016

The Week's Action Items

Due 02/12/2016: Comments to CalRecycle on 2016 Manufacturer's Challenge

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) conducted the 2016 Manufacturer's Challenge workshop on January 5, 2016. 01/16/2016

Due 02/12/2016: Proposals for Central Oregon Woody Biomass Supply Analysis

The Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC) has issued a Request for Quotes (RFQ) seeking expertise to develop a biomass supply analysis in support of the organization's Biomass Energy Cluster Development Project. 01/15/2016

Due 03/10/2016: Comments on Update to US Dairy Sustainability Indicators

The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy has scheduled an update to dairy sustainability indicators, and seeks stakeholder input by March 10, 2016. 01/12/2016

Due 03/18/2016: Proposals for High Diversion MRF in Baltimore Region

The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority (NMWDA) is requesting proposals from qualified companies to provide for the design, permitting, construction, and long-term operation of up to two High Diversion Material Recycling Facilities (HD MRF) in the Baltimore, Maryland region. 01/13/2016

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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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