The upcoming 3rd Annual Composting & Organics Recycling Conference at WasteExpo will provide critical information on organics management and the progress being made to expand the organics infrastructure in the U.S.
The conference focuses on work being done by various organizations that are developing innovative solutions despite financing and regulatory barriers to move the industry forward by building facilities, encouraging legislation to increase diversion of organics from landfills and incinerators and implementing model programs for zero waste, composting, source separation and collection of organics.
The conference will offer solutions to existing obstacles and discuss how collaboration within the waste management community can help to expand the organics infrastructure by reducing food waste, recovering edible food for the needy and diverting non-edible food and other organics to anaerobic digestion and composting.
The conference opens with a keynote session featuring three industry heavyweights.
Eric Herbert, CEO of Zero Waste Energy, will discuss how organics processing and management, including energy conversion, will be as widely practiced in the near future as other forms of recycling. He will outline advancements in organic waste processing technologies that can effectively near a closed-loop, zero-waste cycle while providing environmental and financial benefits. He will also examine legislation and grant funding and the development of infrastructure that supports biogas technologies such as compressed natural gas and renewable energy in the electric power and transportation sectors.
The next keynote speaker is Carla Castegnaro, president of AgRecycle Inc., who will discuss how her veteran compost company has grown by partnering with food scrap generators in corporate, academic, public and sports venues. The firm’s partners have included Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates and Whole Foods, as well as restaurants, food processors and grocery stores to produce high quality compost products for a diversity of markets.
The third keynote speaker is Dr. Sally Brown, research professor from the University of Washington, who will present an analysis of food scraps management options using a variety of metrics, including carbon accounting and sustainability. When different residuals management options are assessed, the results suggest that it’s time for a paradigm shift in how food scraps are managed.
Throughout the conference, attendees will hear from other anaerobic digestion providers who have successfully implemented projects for a variety feedstocks. Case studies that will be presented include digestion of 60,000 tons per year of source separated food and yard waste; co-digestion of 130,000 tons per year of municipal biosolids, grease trap waste, source-separated organics and other institutional, commercial and industrial food wastes into heat and electrical energy, and Class AA fertilizer products; an anaerobic digestion (AD) system integrated with a wastewater treatment plant in a public/private partnership to generate electricity, heat, natural gas and/or renewable fuel while also producing a natural, nutrient-rich soil supplement; a hybrid AD system that processes mixed waste streams such as source separated organics and manure with particulates including sand, rocks, plastic and metal; a system that separates the organic fraction of municipal solid waste to produce a high solids organic feedstock with less than 1 percent contamination; and a dry AD system to process the organic waste fraction of MSW. There will also be a panel discussion on how the Biogas Opportunities Roadmap is changing the dynamics of organics management in the U.S.
In the composting sessions, case studies on aerated static pile (ASP), covered ASP systems, and in-vessel options will be presented. There will also be presentations comparing various systems and technologies, noting the pros and cons of each in selection for various feedstocks, facility throughput, location and other influential factors that determine optimal design and cost as well as presentations on best management practices, process management and odor control.
There will be a session dedicated to innovative financing options for organics recovery facilities and how to develop successful operating contracts to guarantee performance. Other sessions focus on strategies used by various public and private entities to increase food scraps diversion and organics in general. A comprehensive update on the status and growing interest in residential collection of food scraps and other organics will be provided. Case studies on commercial and institutional food scraps recycling will presented by private, public, academic, and health care system professionals. Attendees will learn about the operational aspects of program implementation and the benefits that are being realized by these diverse organizations.
This is just a sampling of the program that will be available at the conference. To view the entire conference program, click here. We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.
Stuart Buckner, Ph.D., is president of Buckner Environmental Associates LLC, a consulting firm specializing in organics management.