ISSUE #6  |  February 12, 2020
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Veteran Compost Hits 10-Year Milestone
Compost manufacturer collects commercial and residential food waste
in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metro areas.
It all started when Justen Garrity looked at a pie chart of how U.S. solid waste was managed. Garrity, an Army officer, had returned home from the war in Iraq in 2009, and was having difficulty finding a job. He decided to take matters into his own hands, and start a green enterprise. “I looked at a pie chart of municipal solid waste generated in the U.S. and saw that two-thirds of the pie is compostable,” Garrity told BioCycle in 2013. “Composting seemed like a huge opportunity, with a big demand for the products on the back end. It made sense from both a sustainability perspective and a money-making enterprise.”
Growing The Dairy
Biogas-To-RNG Supply

On Dec. 11, 2019, Dominion Energy (Dominion) and Vanguard Renewables (Vanguard) announced a more than $200 million, nationwide strategic partnership to build manure-only anaerobic digesters that produce renewable natural gas (RNG) on U.S. dairy farms. Under the strategic partnership, Dominion Energy will own the projects and market the RNG; Vanguard Renewables Ag, a subsidiary of Vanguard, will design, develop and operate the projects.

Dominion and Vanguard have a strategic alliance with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA). The first round of projects are being developed in Georgia, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. “DFA was integral in our decision to target these states, which have the density of dairies we need for digester development and RNG production,” explains Kevin Chase, Vanguard’s cofounder and chief investment officer. “We are seeking clusters of dairies with a minimum combined total of 20,000 to 30,000 cows to capture the amount of manure needed to make the infrastructure investment.”

Ann Arbor Keeps Residents Informed About PFAS

The City of Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Compost Facility PFAS Fact Sheet —“Keeping Our Customers Informed About PFAS” — includes frequently asked questions about PFAS in compost. Ann Arbor offers residents curbside food scraps and yard trimmings collection service from April to December; yard trimmings can also be dropped off at the city’s composting facility. The fact sheet reports results of recent tests that the city conducted on Ann Arbor’s compost. “Results tested positive for low levels of 13 types of PFAS ranging from 0.040 parts per billion (ppb) to 17 ppb,” notes the city.

LCFS Accredited Verifiers Announced
California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) is designed to decrease the carbon intensity of the state's transportation fuel pool and provide an increasing range of low carbon and renewable alternatives (including from renewable natural gas), which reduce petroleum dependency and achieve air quality benefits. The LCFS, administered by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) relies on accurate data monitoring, reporting, and verification to support implementation and tracking of effectiveness. In 2018, the Board approved amendments to add third-party verification requirements to the LCFS to ensure data completeness, accuracy, and conformance with the regulation — consistent with the verification programs under California’s Cap-and-Trade Program and international best practices.
Economic Return On
AD Investments
Researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and the University of Wisconsin, Madison have developed a computational model that could boost investment in farm-based sustainable energy projects by allowing investors to more accurately predict whether a project will turn a profit. The model accounts for a variety of known factors, such as which species a farm is raising, the size of each farm and where each farm is located. But what sets the model apart is the way it accounts for uncertainty, explains Mahmoud Sharara, an assistant professor of biological and agricultural engineering at NCSU, telling users where a system should be located, what its capacity should be, and participation level (cluster size).
Can Scalable Organics Diversion Happen?

Rhodes Yepsen
Executive Director, Biodegradable Products Institute, Inc. 

As a BioCycle alumnus and lifelong devotee, I appreciate your latest Editorial, “The 2020 Compostable Packaging Narrative.” I could not agree more that it is high time for a new narrative on compostable packaging within our broader collective industry.  I’ve written about this more than a few times in the pages of BioCycle, and have led the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) down a path of being more engaged, responsive to big challenges impacting composters like PFAS and labeling, and even updating our organization’s bylaws at the end of 2019 to not just open our Membership to composters and municipalities, but also create a few seats for them on our Board of Directors. 
I believe the situation outlined in the Editorial is bigger than narrative, or a simple decision about packaging.  It’s really about whether scalable organics diversion is going to happen or not, as the companies working on compostable packaging as part of their food waste mix sit right in the crosshairs. This gets at why I joined BPI back in 2015, to build on the roots of the residential food scraps surveys I helped conduct as a BioCycle staff member.

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