Waste-to-watts, trash-to-cash ideas and more

Trash, unglamorous a topic as any around, the matter, and matter trash is obviously, needs to be dealt with. Challenging is finding viable and eco-friendly ways of its disposing of.

Perth, Western Australia, landfill
Perth, Western Australia, landfill

Some of the more attention-grabbing stories

I remember once watching a documentary called “Trashed.” In one part, the conversation turns to trash (solid waste) shipped from Toronto, Canada by truck across the Ambassador Bridge for disposing of in Michigan in the U.S. At the going rate of $37 per ton, the sending of this trash south no doubt has more to do with the economics than it does with the “eco-logics.”

Oh, and speaking of remembering stuff, I recall way back when a story about a barge stuffed to the gills with trash from New York City that no municipal landfill anywhere, it seemed, was willing to accept, its fate or disposal left to be figured out the details of which remained to be worked out, and ultimately making national news. The presumption is that there was insufficient landfill space available to accommodate it and hence onto the barge it went. My suspicion is the barge-full of trash went back to the place from whence it came.

Maybe less notable, no less newsworthy

Meanwhile, in one languishing, 28-year effort to rail-transport Los Angeles’ trash to an abandoned mine at Eagle Mountain in California’s high desert east of Indio and the Coachella Valley, whatever forward momentum there was made was in one fell swoop, figuratively cut off at the pass, the plan finally being laid to rest once and for all.

As Susan Grigsby writing for the Daily Kos explained it, “Kaiser Ventures wanted to use the mine as a massive garbage dump for the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County. The intent was to ship trash 150 miles east of Los Angeles via rail. In order to accommodate the proposed sale, Kaiser worked a deal with the Bureau of Land Management to swap land along its railroad between the mine and the Salton Sea to the south, for land surrounding the mine.

“The proposed use of land adjacent to the park [Joshua Tree National Park] as a landfill was fiercely contested by environmentalists who filed multiple lawsuits to stop the project. The Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles [County] found an alternate smaller site in Imperial County and the plan was dropped in 2013.”

The point here being a satisfactory solution was found.

Other more arcane, less widely-known endeavors can be found if one looks.

Watts from waste

One of the more interesting and innovative programs is the AERS, which stands for “Advanced Energy Recovery System.” The brainchild of Gills Onions, AERS is explained in a Jul. 16, 2009 company press release. It’s all spelled out here.

For much more on the waste matter, check out:

Air Quality Matters – 2014 in review: Stationary sources – Part 5: Business, industry, home

Air Quality Matters – 2014 in review: Stationary sources – Part 2: Waste

CATS: Trash – it’s the ‘stuff’ of biomass and documentaries

For one praiseworthy program business is ‘cleaning up’

Garbage disposal: Rubbish not just for burning and dumping anymore

No slam dunk on spent American car batteries getting recycled sustainably

No slam dunk on spent American car batteries getting recycled sustainably – one year on

Putting pollution in its place about town, at home, on the job

Image above: Ashley Felton

– Alan Kandel