Gilroy, California-based Z-Best Products (California's largest producer of 100% organic certified compost), is bringing to market "Z-Best Organic Mulch," following certification by the California Department of Food & Agriculture and Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) on May 19. Gilroy is a sister company to San Jose, California-based Zanker Recycling, a specialist in construction and demolition (C&D) materials processing systems and recycling.
Recycling Alternative: a true innovator in building recycling programs for the IC&I sector
YVR international airport among major commercial clients using on-site food waste composting technology
In the late 1980s Vancouver-based Recycling Alternative founder Louise Schwarz was driven by the ambition to help change the culture surrounding waste management and advance the transition away from a "throw-away" society. She still is. She began by collecting office paper from local businesses in a hatchback car, and co-founder Robert Weatherbe soon joined as a partner.
When they started as a non-profit, Schwarz was a teacher and Weatherbe was working as a mechanical engineer. "We were managing the business ‘from the side of our desks' at the start, for quite a few years," explains Schwarz. "The hatchback grew into a van, then a larger truck, and then multiple trucks.
Schwarz and Weatherbe can now look back at three decades of serving the IC&I (industrial, commercial and institutional) sector with waste management solutions, and the establishment of multiple community-partnership based programs and initiatives in Vancouver's downtown core.
Their business is now a for-profit operation co-located with the non-profit charitable organization United We Can, a bottle depot which serves Vancouver's inner-city lower-income population with employment opportunities and a safe place to deliver returnable containers for refund. Recycling Alternative is also itself an inclusive employer for people with barriers to employment.
Recycling Alternative's clients include offices and retailers, restaurants and hotels, shopping centres, events and festivals, multi-tenant apartment buildings, high-rises, and, recently, Vancouver International Airport. Materials processed range from food waste, wood waste, paper and cardboard to glass, metals, plastics, e-waste, EPS, batteries and lights.
According to Weatherbe, one of the biggest challenges in IC&I waste management is not the collection, it's the engagement and education of the staff in a given organization.
"Waste management for businesses is like an engine. You need to maintain it," he says. "A lot of what we do is on the consulting side. We've moved into providing better education programs and engaging our clients' staff to help them understand how to design their waste management systems so that they have better recovery models in the back end.
"Our clients are not in the business of waste," he continues. "At the same time, they want to trust that they're getting the best bang for their buck from a waste partner. They don't know what the best, most cost-effective diversion options are. We come in and we help mitigate that challenge."
As an example, Weatherbe says they work with clients on upstream procurement, helping them understand what their supply chain looks like in terms of sustainability, including how to make better procurement choices and streamline their supply chain.
"Community impact is also very important to us," adds Schwarz. "How can we create community models that provide employment and deal with waste? We need circular models.
"In our case, why I think we've been very successful with this is that we're trusted as an organization that has always been very focused on diversion, on waste reduction, on reuse and recycling. We're focused on best practices for how to manage waste and on introducing new programs. Our ‘wheelhouse' is innovation and pushing the envelope in waste management.
"Our clients understand that we are very much in the trenches working directly with waste materials. We are collecting and moving materials, processing and brokering. Our consulting, as well as our education and engagement with clients and the community, comes from a real place of knowledge and a foundation in reality. We're not consultants that don't have our hands dirty. We know what's happening with markets and on the ground, we know what's working, what is not."
On-site composting technology
Recycling Alternative has most recently turned a large portion of its attention to food waste management. In 2015, Metro Vancouver officially introduced a ban on food waste to landfill. Prior to the ban, Weatherbe and Schwarz started looking around for technology that could provide a viable solution to businesses - one that could help them manage this very challenging, heavy and contaminated stream.
"We use machines that are essentially compact, in-vessel food waste decomposers," explains Weatherbe. "The technology dehydrates material and turns it to compost, greatly reducing material volume in 24 hours. "We now provide these machines, customized for our clients, to turn wet food waste into a dry residual, partially composted material. They are ideal for food courts in shopping centres, for example. One of our most successful installations is at YVR (Vancouver International Airport), the first North American airport to introduce this technology."
He continues, "When we started out in food waste, we realized that contamination levels were really high in programs where consumers were left to sort waste themselves. We have since developed hosted sort station programs for food courts, where food waste is separated by an organization's custodial staff instead of the actual consumers. Once we did that, some of our food-court clients went from 25 percent diversion up to 90 percent, which is dramatic."
He says by installing their food waste composting machine, the volumes on-site that need to be collected and removed from the business are dramatically reduced. Material is dried into an inert product, eliminating odour, fruit flies, maggots and other problems, and the output can be utilized for landscaping and other composting applications. As the material is dehydrated, it becomes densified. It can be stored for longer periods of time and be efficiently transported to a composting site if needed. Moisture is exhausted through a venting system and the machines have a built-in bio-filter to manage odour.
"There's no water used in the system and no waste water is discharged into the sewer systems," explains Weatherbe.
"These machines also handle contamination very well." Once material is dried and reduced, he says it is easy to manually pick out contamination, or it can easily be screened out. "ROI in most cases is less than three years," he adds. "And again, it's not just about the composting machine, it's also about the program that goes with it - the education of the staff."
According to Schwarz, once large corporations and businesses start to deal with their food waste, they realize they can increase their diversion rates and save money on disposal and transport. She says the application of on-site systems such as theirs isn't just ideal for large, commercial generators of food waste such as food courts and airports.
"Multi-unit residential buildings and high-rises, where residents are generating high-volumes of food waste, are ideal for this technology as well," she says. Both Schwarz and Weatherbe agree that on-site waste processing technology is going to be a big trend for food waste management in the coming years - and they are very happy to be at the forefront of this development.
The case for Vancouver airport
Since October 2016, Recycling Alternative has been running an on-site composting program at Vancouver International Airport. "We've established an entirely new sorting system for food waste at YVR's international food court," says Weatherbe.
"Passengers, after they finish their meal, drop off their tray and YVR staff sort material into garbage waste destined for the landfill and food waste that goes into our on-site composter."
Since the YVR program was started, Schwarz and Weatherbe estimate that there's been an 80 percent reduction in food waste to landfill from their international food court. "This project has been a great success, and we need to keep expanding these kind of initiatives so that we can direct waste away from the landfill," says Weatherbe. "It is only going to become more and more important as the number of passengers that use the terminal increases."
He says YVR plans to add two more machines in the near future, and the goal is to have all food waste managed on-site at YVR, with no food waste being sent off-site.
"Instead of food waste having to be hauled to a composting facility, we're actually going to process it on site, for use on site," he says. "At YVR, what we want to do now is map out their whole waste material flow, for all of the location points of food generation, and see how we can implement a full on-site composting process - not using a windrow in the back lot somewhere, but actually inside the airport."
He says YVR would be one of the first airports in North America that is fully composting internally, with multiple machines around the airport, and with no more food waste removed from the site.
"Our system not only provides an 80 percent reduction of waste, and produces closed-loop compost which can be used for landscaping, it also means our clients such as YVR have less need to source fertilizers for their landscaping," adds Schwarz. "And the material being produced is extremely nutrient-rich. It's inert, pathogens are killed, and it's quality tested. It can be used for the landscaping on-site and there are no odour issues."
A future in de-centralized food waste management
When food scraps are sent to landfill they take up valuable space and break down over a long period of time, releasing huge amounts of methane gas. "It essentially closes the loop on all of the nutrients they contain," comments Weatherbe.
"Alternatively, by composting, we can loop those nutrients back through another cycle for growing more food. "When our machines have finished composting, if the resulting material is not being used on-site directly, we take the compost material out and send it to a local processing facility," he continues.
"Once it's there, they'll mix it with other compost products to create agricultural-grade soil amendments as well as biofuel."
Schwarz emphasizes another important factor that makes composting so important is that organics disposal rates continue to escalate, with major increases over the last few years.
"Over the last two years the disposal cost for food waste has more than doubled, and is almost three times what it was in 2017," she says. "We have seen even higher increases in Calgary. The cost of dealing with food waste is going up rapidly."
"To decrease these costs, we want to be able to provide our on-site systems in all kinds of locations - in food courts as well as multi-resident towers."
Schwarz says whether organics are sent to landfill or a large centralized composting facility, one of the biggest benefits for any application of on-site composting is simply that it eliminates the need for hauling a very heavy material, often long distances. Recently, the commercial composter Harvest Power decided to close its composting site in Richmond, B.C., largely due to regulatory uncertainty around odour and other compliance issues. With this kind of large compost facility closure, combined with the region-wide ban on food waste to landfill, there is no reasonably located, cost-effective option for managing food waste, outside of on-site processing.
"We can have these same conversations around what's happening with wood waste, or what's happening with plastics and fibre, now that markets have crumbled," says Schwarz.
"For food waste, with large centralized models where waste needs to be transported an hour or more, out of urban areas, the carbon impact alone is significant. And these large facilities are having huge challenges with capacity and managing odour. Another local, large-scale facility in the area is run by GFL/Enviro-Smart.
"They're in the middle of a large infrastructure development, and are spending millions of dollars to put the operation undercover so that they can continue to operate," says Schwarz. "These are the challenges of dealing with food waste and organic materials. The cost to generators, compost processors and to the environment can be immense when using centralized models that require long-distance transportation of materials.
"We have been looking for and implementing solutions for this stream now for many years," she continues. "On-site composting is an excellent, efficient solution. Going forward, businesses need to start thinking and acting on implementing these kinds of alternative solutions for food waste - and all waste generated by the IC&I sector.
"The solutions are definitely available. It's a matter of spreading the word, educating the industry, changing the culture surrounding waste management and continuing to advance the transition away from our ‘throw-away' society. We are very happy to be part of it." RPN
This article was originally published in the April 2019 edition of Recycling Product News, Volume 27, Number 3.
More from Composting
The National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa and the Hon. Catherine McKenna, Canadian Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, this week, Compost Awareness Week 2019, unveiled an innovative program that will introduce plant-based food and drink containers and transform them into rich compost to be put into herb gardens at the NAC. The move will divert 500,000 containers from the landfill annually.
International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) is the largest and most comprehensive education initiative of the compost industry. It is celebrated in many countries throughout the world annually during the first full week of May. Started in Canada in 1995, ICAW has continued to grow as more people, businesses, municipalities, schools and organizations are recognizing the importance of compost and the long-term benefits from organics recycling.
Composting facilities in Texas and Tennessee, a non-profit program in San Diego, California, and an energetic organics program in Minneapolis, were among those who were honoured by their peers by the US Composting Council at a January ceremony. Awardees are nominated and honoured each year at the US Composting Council's (USCC) Annual Conference and Tradeshow. This year's program was held at the Renaissance Hotel, Glendale, Arizona, from January 28-31.
Tidy Planet ships Rocket Composter to island in Paris's River Seine for large-scale food waste composting project
Organic waste expert Tidy Planet has expanded its globally-acclaimed range of Rocket Composters, with the creation of the B1400 - a machine specially commissioned for its French distributor, Les Alchimistes' large-scale composting project in the middle of the River Seine. The French social enterprise is dedicated to increasing the value of food wastes on a localised and social scale - with community reintegration at the heart of its projects - collecting the food waste stream by bicycle, from supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels, from across the French capital.
Diamond Z's high-capacity, low maintenance DZH 7000 Series horizontal grinder is designed for any large-scale wood waste and land clearing grinding operation. The latest models are equipped with an internal drive feed roller which allows for less moving parts, quick and easy screen change and maintenance access, very aggressive feed and one of the largest crush roller and hammer mills in the industry. With 1,200 horsepower and proven production capacities in excess of 1,000 yards per hour, Diamond Z's DZH 7000 Series is ideal for the most difficult jobs. No other horizontal grinder can imitate this machines compliment of power, unparalleled production capabilities, versatility in difficult environments, innovation, and the attention to detail that stands out in every DZH 7000.
Bandit Industries, through a newly established partnership with Poland-based company, Pronar, Sp. z o.o., will commence offering select trommel screens and conveyor stackers. Bandit will unveil and demonstrate the Model 60 GT-HD stacker and the Model 7.24 GT trommel screen at the U.S. Composting Council's Conference and Tradeshow in Glendale, Arizona, from January 28-31.
Compost contains a multitude of essential nutrients for plant growth, such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), and can also be a source of organic matter. However, recent concerns and criticisms have been directed toward composts with a high concentration of soluble salts. Soluble salts refer to the amount of soluble ions, such as calcium (Ca2+), potassium (K+), magnesium (Mg2+) and sodium (Na+), present in compost. Soluble salts are measured indirectly and cumulatively through electrical conductivity (EC).
Stora Enso and Sulapac continue to combat the global problem of plastic waste by introducing a demo of a sustainable straw at Slush 2018, a global leading startup event gathering of 20,000 tech enthusiasts. The demo, targeting industrial scale production, is designed to replace traditional plastic straws with renewable ones. The straws are based on Sulapac's biocomposite material – made of wood and natural binders – designed to be recycled via industrial composting and biodegrade in marine environment.
University of Delaware completes life cycle assessment of BioHiTech Digesters for food waste management
BioHiTech Global, Inc., a technology and services company that provides cost-effective and sustainable waste management solutions, has announced the results of an independent Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of its aerobic digester solution for food waste conducted by the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Delaware.
Morbark hosts 12th Demo Days, debuting new 23X Chiparvestor and showing latest grinders and chippers
Morbark's Demo Days event always brings a great deal of excitement to the area and its guests, and this year was no exception! From September 26-28, Morbark welcomed more than 250 guests within the forestry, biomass, recycling, sawmill and tree care industries from 14 countries for its 12th Demo Days event!
Electrolux announced recently that it is investing in Sweden-based Karma, a leading startup that helps restaurants and supermarkets reduce food waste by selling unsold food to consumers. The investment is part of a wider USD 12 million round with other investors. Electrolux and Karma are also initiating a strategic partnership to explore common solutions in reducing food waste.
Two of Canada's largest food retailers have joined with local and provincial governments and agencies to launch a national Love Food Hate Waste campaign today, which aims to change Canadians' behaviours around food and dramatically reduce the significant amount of food wasted across the country every day.
Despite the rain, the second annual food rescue event, Feeding the 5000 (F5KYYC), was a huge success thanks to community partners and supporters. F5KYYC provided a free lunch to Calgarians on June 14 while teaching attendees about food waste. The event served 7500 portions of food and saved over 700 kg of food from the landfill.
A&W Canada has celebrated World Oceans Day 2018 by announcing it will remove plastic straws from its restaurants and instead offer its customers paper straws by the end of the year.
Morbark, LLC, a leading manufacturer of forestry, biomass, tree care, sawmill, and wood recycling equipment, recently debuted two new machines: the 6400XT Wood Hog Horizontal Grinder and the 50/48X Whole Tree Drum Chipper.
Guests at the 2018 Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Expo had the first-ever look at CBI's newest horizontal grinder: the Magnum Force 6800CT. CBI premiered the 6800CT along with the TSC 80T Tracked Conveyor May 11-12 at the Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Expo in Vermont. CBI equipment was paired with Terex Ecotec's TWH 226 Material Handler, showing the complementary value of both Terex Corporation brands in a single operation.
May 6 - 12, 2018 is International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW), the largest and most comprehensive education initiative of the compost industry. It is celebrated in Canada, the U.S. and in other countries each year during the first full week of May. Started in Canada in 1995, ICAW has continued to grow as more people, businesses, municipalities, schools and organizations are recognizing the importance of composting and the long-term benefits from organics recycling.
The National Zero Waste Council has introduced new guidelines aimed at providing clarity and advice to the Canadian food industry and organizations across the country that are looking to donate or receive high quality nutritious food that would otherwise go to waste.
Power Knot is debuting the company's fifth-generation LFC-V Liquid Food Composter that converts solid food waste into drain-safe wastewater through bio-digestion, at WasteExpo 2018, Booth 1245, in Las Vegas, April 23-26. Also being unveiled is Power Knot's SBT Bin Tipper that lifts and tips all popular waste skips and bins into the new composter.
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), out of Montreal, has released a comprehensive report on the state of food loss and waste in Canada, Mexico and the United States, developed through the CEC's North American Initiative on Food Waste Reduction and Recovery. Characterization and Management of Food Loss and Waste in North America documents adverse socio-economic and environmental impacts of food loss and waste, and actions that the industrial, commercial, institutional, government and nongovernmental sectors can implement to mitigate these impacts.
Peterson Pacific Corp., has introduced the new Peterson 3310B drum chipper. "The new-3310B drum chipper is smaller and lighter than our previous model, but still packs impressive performance," said Jody Volner, President of Peterson Pacific Corp. "The 3310B can operate on even tighter landings for biomass and land clearing operations. We are excited about the capabilities of this remarkable machine."
Doppstadt's INVENTHOR Type 9 shredder, from the SMART SHREDDING LINE, is a new high-performance machine that is setting new market benchmarks when it comes to quality and performance. By bringing together the most innovative mechanical developments, innovative control and regulation systems, and a brand new noise emissions concept, Doppstadt has created an environmentally friendly cost-effective one-stop solution for the recycling sector. Thanks to its modular service-oriented construction and range of suspension variants, this machine is equally suited to use as a stationary fixture or in the service industry sector.
Now available in North America from Ecoverse Industries, the Doppstadt SM 617 Flex trommel is state-of-the-art screening technology with a high price-to-performance ratio, providing all the functions required for composting and organics recycling operations.
The LFC from Power Knot is a biodigester that automatically converts solid food waste into drain-safe waste water. The operation is free of odour, slashes the costs for the disposal of waste, and greatly benefits the environment. Continuous bio-digestion allows food waste to be added at any time.
The Topturn X-series is getting a new member. At IFAT 2018, taking place from May 14-18 in Munich, Germany, Komptech is presenting the Topturn X5000, a new self-propelled windrow turner that is ideal for the medium to high throughput range. Since introduced, the Topturn X4500 has proven itself as a starter machine for smaller compost facilities. The new Topturn X5000 model is the perfect machine for five metre-wide by two metre-tall windrows, as used at many larger facilities. If all of its performance potential is used to the fullest, the X5000 can turn up to 4,000 cubic metres of compost in an hour.
David Donaldson, Head of the Green Growth Unit at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) is one of the authors behind a recently released report outlining solutions to North America's organic waste issue. Recent statistics show that Canada, Mexico and the United States generate nearly 265 million tonnes of organic waste every year, with less than 75 million diverted through composting and anaerobic digestion, and approximately 190 million tonnes ending up in landfills.
Nine locations of The Bobcat of St. Louis dealer network across Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee have joined Bandit Industries' growing network of authorized dealers, increasing the reach of Bandit to offer the company's line of Beast Horizontal Grinders and other equipment to hardworking professionals involved in wood and organic waste recycling and processing.
Rotochopper owners and operators gathered at Rotochopper's manufacturing facility in St. Martin, MN for training during the last two weeks of February. The customer service department hosts Rotochopper University annually for companies that have purchased Rotochopper grinders the past year.
"Green Boost your business" is the motto under which Komptech is presenting its new communications technology Connect! at IFAT, along with all-new and updated machines for shredding, screening and turning. IFAT 2018 takes place in Munich Germany, from May 14-18.
The popular Vermeer CT718 compost turner can now be equipped with full-length steel tracks, an option best suited for rough and muddy ground conditions. The new full track option is one of four drive systems available for the CT718 compost turner that also include two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive and two-wheel plus two short tracks drive system.
The EDGE TRT516 Trommel Screener is a screening solution ideal for mid-size operations with on-site space restrictions and for those operators who wish to regularly reposition their screen onsite. The TRT516 Track Trommel combines a robust durable machine with a quick and easy transport design. It is ideal for the processing of compost, topsoil, domestic household waste and construction and demolition waste.
New report finds European mechanical biological treatment systems provide valuable lessons to North America
A new report issued by the Solid Waste Association of North America's (SWANA) Applied Research Foundation (ARF) presents valuable lessons that can be learned from the implementation and operation of Mechanical Biological Treatment (MBT) facilities in Europe.
Watch this: CBI and Terex Ecotec demo grinding, shredding and screening equipment at US Composting Council event
Continental Biomass Industries (CBI) and Terex Ecotec drew big crowds at the US Composting Council's 2018 Conference and Equipment Show, held in Atlanta, January 22 through 25. More than 1,200 guests attended the trade show with hundreds of industry professionals stopping by the demo site to see CBI and Ecotec machines run live. CBI showcased the 5800BT and 6800BT horizontal grinders. Terex Ecotec ran the TDS 820 Slow Speed Shredder, the Phoenix 2100 Trommel Screen, and the TWT 500 Windrow Turner throughout the day.
Komptech Americas secures Tyalta for distribution in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northwest Territories
Alberta-based company Tyalta Industries Inc., has been in the aggregate equipment industry for 22+ years and wanted to complement their aggregate product line with a high-quality manufacture of organic processing equipment. They recently partnered with Komptech Americas to offer screens, shredders, windrow turners and separation technology in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Northwest Territories.
Bandit Industries has added an additional option to The Beast horizontal grinder lineup by introducing the Model 2460XP. Available as a towable or track machine, the Model 2460XP is a machine built from the ground up, and is designed to outperform every other horizontal grinder in its class.
CBI and Terex Ecotec will be demonstrating equipment live at the United States Composting Council's annual equipment show on January 25th in Ellenwood, Georgia. CBI is running the 6800BT Horizontal Grinder and 5800BT Horizontal Grinder. Ecotec is demonstrating a TDS 820 Slow Speed Shredder, a Phoenix 2100 Trommel Screen, and a TWT 500 Windrow Turner.