A company called ARRRC International is initiating a “green infrastructure” project named ARRRC South Western Ontario (SWO) to achieve the goal of sustainable community development. The project will build on the company’s experience working with municipal governments, educational institutions and industry on innovative bio-products projects in the regions of Chatham-Kent, Windsor, Essex, and Sarnia-Lambton and will elevate the company’s interest in applied research in biotechnology, biomass energy recycling, biofuels, clean air, and biomaterials. The concept should be of interest to anyone interested in the integration of pollution prevention, waste elimination and green energy. The focus on waste energy products and produce will help take care of urban and rural concerns for nutriment management and 60 per cent waste diversion as mandated by the province.
ARRRC SWO is a pilot project and catalyst for the increased use of renewable energy technologies, better wastewater nutriment management and greater diversion of municipal solid waste and agricultural waste from landfill or land-application of waste.
The feedstock for the project is municipal and IC&I waste diverted from landfills, transfer stations and land application. Income derives from tip fees related to the incoming stream of agricultural organic wastes (plus greenhouses, fish processing, mushroom growing, etc.), food-processing waste and manures. Tip fees will also come from plastics and carbon-based waste (wood, wax cardboard, leaf and yard waste, and construction debris).
Further revenues will come from the sale of various products made from the wastes. These include plastic pellets, organic pellets, liquid fertilizers, “bio-fuel” pellets, electricity, steam and CO2, clean water, and organic produce. Optimizing all this recycling should help extend the lifespan of the region’s precious existing landfills and attract R&D funds for new technologies.
All the facets of system have been organized in order to maximize the creation of waste-derived or recycled products, and to minimize emissions and environmental impacts. Materials are also utilized within the recycling process to maximize process efficiency. (See diagram.)
The steam, electricity and CO2 from the ARRRC SWO process will be available to support several arms-length partners such as a “greenhouse mall” (comprised of research and commercial greenhouses) and other industry developing in a new “biotechnology park” being developed in partnership with the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus.
ARRRC International has developed a protocol that uses software systems to coordinate the actions of participants so they can save money, maximize recycling opportunities and avoid unnecessary landfilling or land application of waste. ARRRC SWO, where needed, will provide the bins and trucking from any representative’s facility and key materials will be rerouted to a “renewables” centre.
ARRRC SWO will coordinate with the Ridge Town College and the province’s environment ministry to test mixtures of feedstocks to qualify more products to be diverted. Examples include such difficult items as rugs and carpets, or different types of plastic film. Overall, wastes that can be diverted from landfill and used economically include the following:
Carbon-based: Agriculture, municipal and industry, curbside, yard and leave, tree, wet, greasy & wax cardboard, railroad ties;
Organics: Agriculture, municipal and industry, sludge, curbside, cull fruit, manures, expired grocery products, food processing, greenhouse cuttings;
Plastics Agriculture, municipal and industry, film, curbside, water bottles.
Landfills and transfer stations will still be able to charge their current fees and receive wastes, but they’ll send recyclable materials to the renewables centre. This will alleviate pressure on the cash-strapped waste system and preserve much-needed landfill capacity.
Guy Crittenden is editor of this magazine.