Teru Talk News

Teru Talk Newsletter

Volume VI, Issue 4, January 25, 2016 
Teru Talk by Michael Theroux (pronounced "Terú")  

Teru's Trash Talk

Here’s a concept for us to contemplate: a product has an inherent ‘social impact’. Whatever that shiny widget or bucket of useful goo might be, a product can be characterized by its ‘footprint’ on not only its surrounding environment, but on society as a whole. Everything impacts something else, either positively or negatively, and that resource connectivity occurs and repeats along a circular path.

In the case of the products we make and use, raw material extraction is connected to its transport to a processing plant, processing is connected to manufacturing, which connects to distribution, purchase, use, and eventually to that product's ultimate disposal. We have been harping on the need to NOT just dump the discards, but to put them back into the flow of materials. The initial raw resource extraction, for example, is almost always a messy and impactful exercise. And we can certainly point to specific problems associated with disposal: greenhouse gas release, leachate contaminating groundwater, for example. Those are known damages; those are environmental impacts of making and using things.

Social impacts run along parallel to environmental impacts. The social impacts of bringing a particular food product to a specific market for example, might include changes in the health, jobs, and wages of the workers and users all along the ‘value chain’ from tilling, planting, and harvesting, through processing and delivery, to product use and finally its end-of-use social interactions.

Shipping recyclates away causes loss of the resource, and loss of the ability to manage its reprocessing environmental impacts. But there is a loss of the jobs along with the lost resource. Job displacement and its impact on the local economy is a measurable social impact, and assigning and standardizing the measurement of such social impacts is quickly becoming a crucial metric for consideration of Sustainability. Taking that kind of sustainability assessment right down to the product level is relatively new. That aspect can be a tough area to measure, and is often an area of impact for which society has had a blind spot.

Concerning ourselves with the sustainability of our activities means we must consider the entire pathway of those activities. As we strive to shift our materials usage into a circular rather than linear flow, we need to consider both the environmental and the social impacts of every product made, used, un-made, remade, and used again.

Hey Rube!

California’s waste management department CalRecycle is preparing to launch the 2016 California Climate Investments, Greenhouse Gas Reduction grant and loan programs. The Governor’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016-17 would allocate $100 million in greenhouse gas reduction funds (GGRF) if passed. Sign up now for the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs Listserv to receive timely notifications.

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This Week's Extra Reading

New Report Offers Blueprint for a Circular Future for Plastic Packaging

Applying circular economy principles to global plastic packaging flows could transform the plastics economy and drastically reduce negative externalities such as leakage into oceans, according to the latest report by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with analytical support from McKinsey & Company. 01/20/2016

This Week's Top Story

Tesoro Supports Development of Renewable Biocrude for Its Refineries

Texas based Tesoro Corporation has announced its plan to foster the development of biocrude made from renewable biomass, which can be co-processed in its existing refineries, along with traditional crude oil. 01/22/2016

The Week's News

Clariant’s Sunliquid® Technology Receives 2015 German Innovation Prize

Switzerland based Clariant International Ltd was awarded first place in the Process Innovations category of the 2015 German Innovation Prize for Climate and Environment (IKU) for its innovative sunliquid technology. 01/23/2016

New York State Launches 10 Year, $5 Billion Clean Energy Fund

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced the New York State Public Service Commission's approval of a 10-year, $5 billion Clean Energy Fund to accelerate the growth of New York's clean energy economy, address climate change, strengthen resiliency in the face of extreme weather, and lower energy bills for New Yorkers starting this year. 01/23/2016 

California ARB Schedules 1st Workshop on Carbon Capture and Sequestration

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has scheduled a public workshop to launch development of ARB’s Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) program. 01/22/2016

Oslo Airport Is First in the World to Offer Neste's Renewable Aviation Fuel

Oslo Airport Gardermoen is the world's first airport to offer renewable aviation fuel refined by Neste for refueling airplanes. 01/22/2016

Global Bioenergies to Commercialize Isobutene Process with €6.5M Placement

Paris based Global Bioenergies (Company) has announced successful completion of a private placement with qualified French and international investors. 01/21/2016

LanzaTech Wins Circular Economy Award at the World Economic Forum

On January 20, 2016, the Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Accenture, hosted The Circulars 2016, the first annual Circular Economy Awards, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. 01/21/2016

Secretaries of US Navy, Agriculture Launch Deployment of Great Green Fleet

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack kicked off the Great Green Fleet with the deployment of the USS John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCS CSG) during a ceremony at Naval Air Station North Island. 01/20/2016

New Energy Plant Helping Peterborough Towards Its Zero Waste Ambitions

Viridor has announced the startup of Peterborough’s state-of-the-art Energy Recovery Facility (ERF), now operational on the city’s Fengate industrial estate. 01/19/2016

Foresight Invests £3.9M in 4th Northern Ireland On-Farm AD Plant

Foresight Group has announced the investment of £3.9 million from the Foresight AD EIS Fund to construct an Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plant in County Down, Northern Ireland. 01/19/2016

ANDRITZ Supplies Equipment for Recycled Fiber System at Finnish Mill

ANDRITZ has received an order from Sonoco-Alcore to supply pulping and de-trashing equipment for the OCC stock preparation line at its Karhula paper mill in Finland. 01/18/2016

RPSM Releases Revised Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment

The Netherlands-based Roundtable for Product Social Metrics (RPSM), a multi-stakeholder organization led by PRé Sustainability consulting, has released Version 3.0 of their Handbook for Product Social Impact Assessment. 01/18/2016

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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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