Chesapeake Utilities Corp. Partners with BioDevCo to Inject RNG into Pipeline

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Bioenergy DevCo (BDC), which designs, builds and operates anaerobic digestion facilities, is set to deliver up to 300,000 million British Thermal units of renewable natural gas annually to Chesapeake Utilities Corp. (CUC), sourced from organic waste to be processed at an anaerobic digestion plant in Delaware.

The $30 million to $40 million plant is slated to launch at the end of 2020, and the plan is to begin injecting carbon-negative renewable natural gas into the utility’s pipeline in the first quarter of 2021.

Marlin Gas Services will transport the fuel to Eastern Shore Natuaral Gas, Chesapeake Utilities Corporation’s interstate pipeline, where it will be introduced into Chesapeake’s distribution system.

“These are relatively new types of partnerships, created to inject RNG into the pipeline,”says Shawn Kreloff, CEO of Bioenergy DevCo. “Companies like CUC traditionally buy fracked gas from the South or Midwest. It’s great to see a utility step up to do the right thing in buying RNG instead. And we think this is a sign of things to come.”

California has led the way in advancing renewable natural gas among U.S. utilities. But now some utilities on the East Coast, especially in environmentally sensitive areas with high emissions, are following suit to provide a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, Kreloff says.

Among East Coast utilities that have made an effort to invest in RNG over the last few years are Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Energy and D.C.-based Washington Gas Light.

For Chesapeake Utilities, the partnership with BDC will be its first venture injectingrenewable natural gas into its pipeline, though the corporation has a natural gas distribution system serving Delaware, Maryland, Florida and Ohio.

The utility is purchasing biogas created via the BDC anaerobic digester and will invest in and manage the gas cleaning and refining processes to create utility-quality renewable natural gas.

Chesapeake Utilities Corp. CEO Jeffry Householder says his company was drawn to this project because of its interest in finding solutions for agricultural waste.

“We think it’s a good idea to put this waste into a digester and convert it to biogas,” Householder says. “It’s important to us because we serve customers in regions where there is a lot of agricultural waste, including from our customers who have chicken facilities. We are interested in trying to find environmental solutions for that material. And we think there is business in cleaning up methane gas and converting it to biofuel to go into the pipeline, whether to burn in a stove, water heater, or in vehicles, for example.”

Householder says CUC’s entry into the renewable natural gas market is a way to do the right thing while getting financial results that keep shareholders happy.

“Two years ago, when we looked at our strategy moving forward, we believed that RNG would be a significant business opportunity and part of the natural gas market,” he says. “If you can capture chicken waste and methane in an anaerobic digester, you are significantly reducing greenhouse gases. But now we have to do something with that captured methane. I can do something simple, like put electricity in a generator that’s a lower-quality gas. Or I can clean it up to make RNG going into your water heater or car. Now we can use this gas, and our customers can too. We are making a business out of it.”

CUC plans to do projects in multiple states and will continue to focus on the agricultural waste market as that market expands.

“There’s a lot of waste out there,” Householder says. “It’s pulling a deal together that makes sense for us, the agricultural industry, and our customers.”

BDC, based in Annapolis, Md., has several projects in the discussion stage or in various stages of development on the Eastern shore of Maryland, which is in CUC’s service area.

“In some cases, we’ve identified sites,” Kreloff says. “Some are research projects where we don’t have land yet but are looking for feedstock and a location that is close to the pipeline and to the generator.”

BDC has built over 220 anaerobic digestion plants in seven countries and operates 150 plants.

“For us, we are not inventing anything new,” says Kreloff. “This will be a standard plant design. We learned that the biology is complicated, and, given our experience, we understand what it takes to operate a plant at scale.”

According to Kreloff, making renewable natural gas from agricultural waste, including organic byproducts from the poultry industry, could replace 7 billion gallons of diesel fuel and generate 70,000 new jobs.

Need to Know

NWRA Requests One Category for Waste and Recycling Industry From DHS

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Arlington, VA – In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) urged CISA to create one category for the waste and recycling industry in addition to the five different “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” designations currently used.

“During this global health pandemic, NWRA members have been classified as ‘essential’ and are listed in five different categories. NWRA requests that CISA establish a new category for our industry, the Waste and Recycling Collection Services and Processing Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers category. We believe that as other national emergencies or natural disasters occur, a clear designation for the industry will help ensure our member companies can continue to operate safely,” said NWRA President and CEO Darrell Smith.

NWRA member companies have continued providing waste and recycling services to their customers and communities in order to protect the public’s health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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ABOUT NWRA

The National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) represents the private sector waste and recycling services industry. Association members conduct business in all 50 states and include companies that manage waste, recycling and medical waste, equipment manufacturers and distributors, and a variety of other service providers. For more information about NWRA, please visit www.wasterecycling.org.

Contact:
Brandon Wright
National Waste and Recycling Association
bwright@wasterecycling.org
202-364-3706

Need to Know

SWANA Announces Professional Achievement Award Winners

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Silver Spring, MD – The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is pleased to announce the recipients of its annual Professional Achievement Awards. The Professional Achievement Awards recognize SWANA members for their valuable and distinguished contributions to SWANA, the solid waste and recycling industry, and the public. These award winners were nominated by their peers for their dedication to their organizations, the industry, the public, and environment.

“SWANA’s annual Professional Achievement Awards recognize leaders, and this year is no exception,” stated David Biderman, SWANA’s Executive Director and CEO. “The three individuals selected for these awards have been long-time leaders seeking to improve solid waste and recycling systems at the local, state, and national levels,” he added.

Robert L. Lawrence Distinguished Service Award: Enrique C. Zaldivar, Director and General Manager, LA Sanitation and Environment

The Robert L. Lawrence Distinguished Service Award is SWANA’s highest recognition of an individual in the field of solid waste management. It is awarded to a member or non-member who, by their service to the field of solid waste management, has demonstrated unusually noteworthy achievements and/or highly significant contributions.

Mr. Zaldivar has been at the helm of the City of Los Angeles LA Sanitation & Environment Department (LASAN) as Director and General Manager since 2007. Through his leadership, LASAN oversees the City’s Clean Water program, the Solid Resources program, and the Watershed Protection program. LASAN’s achievements in solid waste under Mr. Zaldivar’s direction include the recently implemented recycLA Franchise Initiative with the adoption of the Solid Waste Private Hauler Exclusive Franchise Initiative. Ongoing programs and initiatives include work to improve recycling markets via the new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA); a commitment to electrification of the refuse collection truck fleet to move toward Zero Emission goals; and implementation of a long-term Zero Waste Plan for the period through 2030.

Association Life Member Award: Harvey Levitt, retired, Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority

SWANA confers a Life Member Award to a current member based on the member’s length of service, contributions, and commitment to the Association and/or a chapter; superior commitment and service to their employer; long-term involvement in the solid waste management, and significant contributions to the field of solid waste management.

Mr. Harvey Levitt joined SWANA and the Georgia Chapter in 1995 and is still an active member 25 years later. As a long-time member, he served on the Chapter Board of Directors for 20 years, helped develop Georgia’s landfill operator training and certification, and then served as an instructor for about 13 years. Mr. Levitt won SWANA’s Professional Achievement Award for Public Sector Members in 2013. He is retired from the Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority.

Upon being notified of his recognition, Mr. Levitt said, “SWANA is all about training and bonding and sharing training with your peers.”

Robert L. Lawrence Lecture Award: Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director, National Stewardship Action Council (NSAC)

The Lawrence Lecture Award is given annually to an individual recognized as a leader in the field of solid waste or resource management or another aspect of environmental protection. It is awarded in recognition of substantial, significant, and sustained contributions. The Lawrence Lecture is typically delivered at WASTECON®, which this year has a theme of “Embracing Disruption.”

Ms. Sanborn is an internationally recognized advocate for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and a circular economy. She is a dynamic and knowledgeable speaker who uses solid information, real-world stories and humor to share her message. NSAC is both an advocate and lobbyist on behalf of EPR and product stewardship at all levels of government. NSAC is known for its support of California’s landmark 2018 medicine and sharps take-back legislation, the first law in the United States to address both medicines and needles through EPR at the state level, among other bills.

“These individuals have had a tremendous impact on the communities they have served and on the solid waste profession,” said SWANA President Brenda Haney. “Their work will have a lasting impact. Congratulations!”

SWANA thanks Mr. Zaldivar, Mr. Levitt, and Ms. Sanborn for their work for the industry and SWANA.

To learn more about SWANA and the Professional Achievement Awards, visit https://swana.org/community/awards-scholarships/professional-achievement-awards.

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About SWANA:

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy, and research. For more than 50 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications, and a large offering of technical training courses. For more information, visit swana.org.

Sustainability Talks

Republic Services Releases its Sustainability Report

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This month, Republic Services (NYSE: RSG) released its 2019 Sustainability Report, highlighting progress toward its “Our Blue Planet 2030” sustainability goals, which are aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

In an accompanying message, chief executive officer Don Slager notes that, “As an industry leader, we've always been committed to keeping communities clean in a safe and environmentally responsible way, with a focus on preserving precious natural resources and extracting as much value as we can from the materials we collect. And, the health and safety of our employees and communities remain our number one priority and at the forefront of every decision we make.”

The report includes facts and figures highlighting Republic’s 2019 operations, including:

  • 36k employees
  • 5M average pickups per day
  • 79 recycling centers
  • 6M tons of recyclables processed
  • 189 active modern-day landfills
  • 340 hauling facilities
  • 10 compost facilities
  • 16k trucks, one of the industry’s largest fleets
  • 20% of fleet powered by natural gas

The company’s 2030 sustainability goals were designed to address critical global macro trends and Republic’s “most relevant sustainability risks and opportunities.” These goals were introduced in 2019 and center around five elements of sustainability:

  1. safety
  2. people
  3. operations
  4. materials management
  5. communities

The goals are also guided by and reinforce the “Five R’s” that make up Republic’s star-shaped logo: Respectful, Responsible, Reliable, Resourceful and Relentless.

The report details the specific goals within each element, and progress against each. Below are several examples:

Safety goal 2030: OSHA Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) of 2.0 or less

2019 results: TRIR of 3.7, down from 3.9 in 2018
 

People goal 2030: Achieve and maintain employee engagement scores at or above 88 percent

2019 results: Employee engagement score of 86%, up from 85% in 2018
 

Operations goal 2030: Reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent

2019 results: Initiated three expansion projects to further our commitment to use renewable natural gas as a bridging fuel to lower fleet emissions
 

Materials management goal 2030: Increase recovery of key materials by 40% on a combined basis by 2030

2019 results: Increased the recovery and resale of targeted commodities (cardboard, metals, plastics, organics, biogas and oil) to over 4.5 million tons; a 2.5 percent increase in recycling since 2017
 

Communities goal 2030: Positively impact 20 million people

2019 results: Contributed more than $2 million to support 23 neighborhood revitalization projects, impacting 1 million people
 

The report also includes a section on Republic’s response to COVID-19 and how it responded to unprecedented challenges with swift and comprehensive action to help protect and support their employees and communities.

“We believe our year-one [sustainability] achievements demonstrate a sustained ability to connect financial results with environmental and social performance, including addressing various risks and opportunities posed by climate change,” says Slager.

He also notes that he is “particularly proud of the progress we’re making in supporting the circular economy, generating renewable energy, and supporting our communities through the Republic Services Charitable Foundation. We’ve just started on our journey toward accomplishing our 2030 goals and are excited about the strides we’ll continue to make as we move forward.”

View the report here.

Need to Know

Waste Pro First to Join Autocar in Utilizing New Driver Safety Tech

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LONGWOOD, FL – July 27, 2020 – Waste Pro, in collaboration with Autocar Trucks, will lead the industry in safeguarding its most valuable asset: drivers.

Waste Pro and Autocar are jointly committed to producing a tool that not only protects drivers but also enables them to do the rough work the waste industry requires with safety, comfort, and efficiency.   

safWaste Pro is proud to announce it has purchased the Autocar ACX severe duty cabover, which sets a new standard for safety for drivers, customers, and communities. These new features include:

  • Electronic Stability Control System (ESC)
    • Actively intervenes when the vehicle is understeering or oversteering in order to maintain vehicle stability
  • Rollover Stability Control System (RSC)
    • Actively intervenes when the vehicle is at risk of a driver-induced, rollover event
  • Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEBS)
    • Vehicle detects impending collision and actively engages emergency brakes
  • Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
    • Driver visibly and audibly warned of impending collision
  • Stationary Lane Departure Warning (SLDW)
    • Steady light located on the A-pillar illuminates with audible warning
  • Blind Spot Detection (BSD)
    • Flashing light located on the A-pillar warns the driver of a vehicle in his blind spot

Waste Pro Founder John Jennings, along with President & CEO Sean Jennings, Senior Vice President & COO Keith Banasiak, and Vice President of Fleet & Maintenance Dave Kutschinski, feels strongly that continued investment in route vehicles with enhanced safety technologies goes hand-in-hand investing in our people and promoting from within. 

About Waste Pro USA

Waste Pro USA, Inc. is one of the country’s fastest growing privately-owned waste collection, recycling, processing and disposal companies, operating in ten southeastern states. Waste Pro, with revenues exceeding $700 million, serves more than two million residential and 40,000 commercial customers from over 75 operating locations. Waste Pro is headquartered in Longwood, Florida, and maintains approximately 300 exclusive municipal contracts and franchises.

Gallery: The Oddest Places Plastic Has Been Found

Did you know that there isn't a place on Earth that’s remained untouched by plastic? Check out some of the oddest places that plastic has been found...

Special thanks to Oceana for sharing these facts.

Need to Know

Sebastian, FL Toddler Starts Trash Can Retrieval Business

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Three-year old Roman Kane loves garbage. He loves garbage so much that he has started his own trash can retrieval business in Sebastian, FL.

It began with Roman watching the Waste Management trucks dumping the blue and green garbage cans into the refuse trucks and progressed to his bringing the empty garbage cans back up to the side of his house. Soon he was returning all of the empty garbage cans on the family’s block.

One of the neighbors gave Roman a quarter for returning her empty garbage cans and through word of mouth many of the neighbors followed suit. Roman’s quarters now total $40.00.

Roman has also befriended the sanitation workers and of course, trash day is his favorite day of the week.

Read the original story here

Need to Know

The Clean River Project Turns Trash into Art

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The Clean River Project based in Methuen, MA has a goal of cleaning and preserving the Merrimack River. The Clean River Project team regularly finds abandoned and broken bikes in the River. They recently started to upcycle them into art with eye-catching colors decorated with flowers. Each bike is sold for a $100 donation. To date, three bikes have been sold.

Read the original story here.

Need to Know

SWANA Submits Over 1,500 Facial Covering Orders to HHS

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Silver Spring, MD – The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has collected and submitted orders for cloth face coverings on behalf of the entire U.S. solid waste and recycling industry to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS, along with other federal partners, are providing cloth face coverings at no cost to essential critical infrastructure workers in the United States. SWANA was asked to assist in the distribution by promoting the program and collecting orders.

SWANA submitted more than 1,540 orders totaling over 2.4 million facial coverings on behalf of solid waste and recycling professionals across the United States. The face coverings will be going to public and private sector workers in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Companies and agencies who placed orders should expect to receive the facial coverings by mid-August.

“SWANA is proud to provide this important service to this great industry, which continues to work hard on a daily basis, collecting, processing, and disposing of solid waste and recyclables,” stated David Biderman, SWANA Executive Director and CEO. “The facial coverings to be provided by the federal government are an important supplement to the personal protective equipment (PPE) that front-line workers and others in the industry and at local governments are using to protect themselves from COVID-19. We look forward to additional collaborative opportunities with federal officials and others, including providing PPE and other materials,” Biderman added.

Numerous municipalities, national solid waste companies, small and medium-sized haulers, and organizations that support the industry took advantage of the free face coverings and placed orders to help protect their employees and the public. Many states and local governments are requiring or recommending facial coverings for essential workers. The face coverings are 100% cotton and contain silver and copper, which FEMA says may help kill or stop the growth of viruses and germs.

“We are very thankful for SWANA’s support in keeping our men and women safe during these challenging times,” said Michael Fernandez, Director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management (DSWM). “DSWM was able to order 5,000 masks as a result of SWANA’s ongoing efforts during the pandemic. This order will help keep DSWM’s men and women safe while continuing to provide uninterrupted waste and recycling collection services to over 340,000 household customers and serve the disposal needs of approximately 1.7 million tons. I’m very proud of being a SWANA Member, Director of SWANA’s Collections and Transfer Technical Division, and part of the Board of Directors for SWANA’s Florida Sunshine Chapter.”

The solid waste and recycling industry is a critical and essential part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses start to reopen, it is as important as ever to keep essential workers protected and safe.

To learn more about SWANA and its work in the industry, visit https://swana.org/initiatives.

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About SWANA:

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy, and research. For more than 50 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications, and a large offering of technical training courses. For more information, visit swana.org.

Episode 69: Crystal Ball Insights on the Economics of Waste & Recycling

In our latest episode of NothingWasted!, we chat with Michael E. Hoffman, managing director and group head of diversified industrials, Stifel Financial Corp.

We spoke with Hoffman about the effect of COVID-19 on the waste industry, the status of M&A activity, what to expect going forward and more.

Here’s a sneak peek into the discussion:

Waste360: What is your take on the impact of COVID-19 on waste and recycling?

Hoffman: I would describe the past few months in three buckets: there’s a before, during, and after. If you were talking to companies at the end of March or early April, but didn’t know there was a pandemic, and you asked how the first three months of the year went, they’d say, “We’re off to a great start; better than last year.”

Of course the pandemic hit at the end of March; the worst was seen in April—and that’s the “during.”  What we’ve found is that the market pretty much found its bottom in April, with gradual recovery starting in early May. Every week it’s incrementally better with improving trends. But it really depends on a company’s geographic mix and what was the condition of and current state of economic restart. It’s really state- and locally driven. But the bottom wasn’t as deep or prolonged as feared.

Waste360: What will need to happen for you to feel like we’re out of the woods?

Hoffman: What I fear…there will be some businesses that won’t make it. And some garbage companies will have losses greater than the one percent they talked about in early May when they were doing first-quarter reporting. Through the “during” phase, the public companies ran at full steam, didn’t furlough anybody, maintained the integrity of services, took the right safety and PPE measures… The employee base rose to a level of excellence, showed up everyday, and what I believe we’ll see going through the next six months is that there will be some rightsizing of the economy. And the waste industry will have to adjust.

One positive is that the garbage industry learned a lot about how to adjust its business model quickly because of the Great Recession and will be able to repeat that as needed. And there won’t be any unit pricing pressure. From prior cycles, many smaller companies learned they are better at 80 percent full at 100 percent pricing than 100 percent full at a discount. And that will be a major difference as we come through this cycle.

Waste360: Could you tell listeners about the upcoming Waste360/Stifel Investor Summit coming up online on August 10th?

Hoffman: For participants who’ve come in the past, it will feel a lot like a normal Investor Summit in the sense that it’s a full day of getting caught up on solid waste, industrial waste, medical waste. We have four topical panels this year—on rail hauling, waste-to-energy lessons from the UK and Europe, safety, and private equity. We’ll also talk to Ron Mittelstaedt, Executive Chairman of Waste Connections and this will be his first big public appearance stepping back into the marketplace since taking his leave a year and a half ago, so we’re really excited to catch up with him.

And learn more about the Waste360/Stifel Investor Summit here.

Read transcript here.

#NothingWastedPodcast