Tag Archives: trash

[NEWS] Turning Trash Into Gas May Finally Be A Thing

– by Kenneth Miller, July 22, 2016, Take Part

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Photo: Max Whittaker

At WasteExpo 2016, the annual conference of the National Waste & Recycling Association, some 600 exhibits fill three cavernous floors of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Gleaming garbage trucks are on display, along with scrap metal shredders, conveyor belt systems, and pumps for spritzing deodorizer onto fetid landfills. Video screens show trash being sorted or baled, compacted or pulverized, by machines that resemble oversize Tonka toys.

The exhibitors are mostly male, and their fashion sense runs to the functional. Company-logo polos in cheerful colors predominate, tucked into khakis over middle-age paunches. But at the booth operated by a company called Sierra Energy, the vibe is different. The men’s shirts are black, and the tails hang over skinny jeans. There are women, too, in arty black dresses. The booth itself conveys an air of Zen-like mystery. What the hipsters are selling is nowhere to be seen. Instead, tufts of grass sprout from sleek pots on blond-wood tables. A banner shows two views of a trash heap—one in its unlovely natural hues, the other in a soothing shade of green. Superimposed on the images is a kind of koan: “I AM NOT GARBAGE. I AM FUEL. MONEY. OPPORTUNITY.”

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[NEWS] Radioactive Waste Sent to Massachusetts Trash Incinerator

– by Peter Goonan, June 30, 2016, Springfield Republican

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Photo: Springfield Republican

Trash picked up in Sixteen Acres apparently included a small amount of “short-lived radioactive” waste of medical origin, triggering alarms at the Covanta trash incinerator at Bondi’s Island in Agawam on Wednesday, according to the city.

Marian Sullivan, communications director of the mayor’s office, said Thursday in a prepared statement that the waste was apparently brought in by a city trash truck from the curbside collection in Sixteen Acres.

This is not the first time radioactive materials have triggered alarms at the waste-to-energy plant. Each time there is an alarm activation, it costs the city an additional $2,000 in regulatory fees, Sullivan said. She urged residents to be careful in their disposal of waste.

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EPA Makes it Easier for Biomass Facilities to Burn Construction Debris, Railroad Ties

– by Anna Simet, February 16, 2016, Biomass Magazine

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Photo: Biomass Magazine

The U.S. EPA has finalized an amendment to its nonhazardous secondary materials (NHSM) rule that will add three sources of fuel to its list of categorical nonwaste fuels, potentially making it easier for biomass energy facilities to make use of them.

Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, NHSM rulemakings identify which nonhazardous secondary materials are or aren’t solid wastes when burned in combustion units. If material is a solid waste under RCRA, a combustion unit burning it is required to meet the Clean Air Act Section 129 emission standards for solid waste incineration units. If the material is not a solid waste, combustion units are required to meet the CAA Section 112 emission standards for commercial, industrial, and institutional boilers, much less stringent standards.

According to the EPA, the categorical listings make it easier to comply with the NHSM regulations, as facilities that generate or burn these NHSMs will not need to make individual determinations regarding their waste status.

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Arizona Supreme Court Clears Way for Controversial Trash Incinerator

– by Arlene Karidis, February 12, 2016, Waste Dive

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Photo: Waste Dive

The Arizona Supreme Court has upheld the earlier decision of Arizona state utility regulators, ruling that it is acceptable for Mohave Electric Cooperative to burn trash to generate power at a facility proposed by Reclamation Power Group plant near Surprise.

The Arizona Corporation Commission had given Mohave Electric Cooperative the go-ahead five years ago, which fueled heated debate, particularly from the Sierra Club who filed a lawsuit stating that energy from burned trash is not renewable. But the appellate judges left the call to the Commission, and now the highest court’s final rule opens the door for Mohave to meet its renewable energy mandate through incineration. It also opens the door for Reclamation Power Plant to charge Mohave to absorb some of the cost and build the facility. Mohave in turn can impose a surcharge on its 39,000 customers to recoup some of its cost to deliver this alternative energy source.

The utility company would accept 500 tons of trash a day, recycle 25% of it, and burn what’s left to generate electricity.

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Maine Towns Debate Trash Incineration

– by Arlene Karidis, January 20, 2016, Waste Dive

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Photo: R.W. Estela/Bangor Daily News

Dive Brief:

About 187 Maine towns and cities are considering new trash services starting in 2018 and, as reported in Bangor Daily News, they have two serious candidates: the Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. (PERC) and Maryland-based Fibertight. PERC is Maine’s largest waste-to-energy facility, which receives trash from several Maine towns. Fibertight has not built their WTE plant yet.

Through their operations, PERC cut the load on Juniper Ridge Landfill in Old Town by 85% and produced enough electricity in 2013 to power 25,000 homes. But in 2018, the company will lose a power purchase agreement with Emera Maine, and its viability has resultantly come into question — though a recent analysis showed the facility can run efficiently till at least 2035. PERC would charge municipalities $89.57 per ton of waste for 10 years and $84.36 per ton for a 15-year commitment. The towns currently pay $79 per ton before rebates.

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Rutherford County, Tennessee Considers Trash Incineration

– January 19, 2016, Renewable Energy from Waste

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Photo: Tampabay.com

Officials in Rutherford County, Tennessee, who rely on a privately owned landfill for municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal, say they are considering waste-to-energy (WTE) alternatives as that landfill draws closer to reaching its capacity.

An online article by the Murfreesboro Post quotes Middle Point, Tennessee, Deputy Mayor Jeff Davidson as saying he gained insight into several WTE methods after attending the Renewable Energy from Waste (REW) Conference in Orlando, Florida, in November 2015.

Davidson and other officials from both Middle Point and nearby Murfreesboro tell the Post that a WTE alternative could “cost a million [or] a hundred million dollars.” They add that making the right decision is “critical to the future of our county.”

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Maryland Dumps Incineration

– by Mike Ewall, Energy Justice Network

VICTORY!!  For a second year in a row, pro-incinerator legislation in Maryland was defeated.  This stealthy legislation was written by Covanta (the nation’s largest trash incineration company) and would put Maryland on the path to burning nearly all of the waste that isn’t recycled.

The legislation takes the Renewable Portfolio Standard concept (which mandates a phase-in of renewable energy) and applies it to municipal solid waste (trash).  Without even mentioning incineration, this “Recycling and Landfill Diversion Portfolio Standard” would move the state toward increased recycling, but require that the remainder be diverted from direct dumping in landfills. Rather than move away from both landfills and incinerators, the bill would create the market for burning nearly all of the non-recycled waste in the state, before dumping the ash in landfills. This fits with efforts by many corporations and cities to hijack the concept of “zero waste” to make it mean “zero waste to landfill”— pushing incineration and pretending that the ash isn’t then dumped in landfills.

In 2011, Maryland was the first state to bump trash incineration into Tier I of their Renewable Portfolio Standard, putting it in competition with wind power. This awful idea, pioneered in Maryland, is now being pushed in several other states. Please look out in your state for these covert attempts to promote incineration in the guise of recycling and “landfill diversion.”

This bill in Maryland passed the Maryland House, but was stopped in the Senate when their Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee voted unanimously (11 to zero) to reject the bill. See www.energyjustice.net/md/ for more information on this and other pro-incineration bills we worked to stop (all of which are dead for this year).

Many thanks to all who helped stop this misguided legislation, most especially Greg Smith of Community Research and the following organizations: Assateague Coastal Trust, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility, Clean Water Action, Community Research, Crabshell Alliance, Energy Justice Network, Food & Water Watch, Free Your Voice, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, No Incinerator Alliance, Sierra Club, United Workers, Waste Not! Carroll, Wicomico Environmental Trust, and Zero Waste Prince George’s.

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