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CA Study of "Conversion Technologies"

Apologies for Cross-Postings

Pasted in below is a letter (without its attachments) just sent from the GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN) to the CIWMB regarding their upcoming studies of the Life Cycle Assessment and Market Impacts of "conversion technologies." For purposes of these studies, "conversion technologies" mean the processing, through non-combustion thermal, chemical, or biological processes, other than composting, of residual solid waste to produce electricity, alternative fuels, chemicals, or other products that meet quality standards for use in the marketplace. Processes include, but are not limited to, gasification/pyrolysis; hydrolysis (acid and enzyme); fermentation, distillation, and digestion; catalytic cracking; plasma arc; and steam sterilization. 

Please let me know of other proposals that are being made in your areas regarding these technologies in the U.S., and other studies that have been done or are underway that assess the environmental or market impacts of these technologies.


If you would like a copy of the attachments to the GRRN letter, and/or would like to be included in an email discussion group about these issues, please email me. 

If you would like more info or background on the CIWMB studies underway, please contact Fernando Berton at <FBerton@CIWMB.ca.gov>.  If you would like an overview of these issues, go to: http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/Organics/Conversion/

Gary Liss
August 18, 2003

Fernando Berton
CA Integrated Waste Management Board
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: Conversion Technologies Studies

Dear Fernando:

I am writing on behalf of the GrassRoots Recycling Network (GRRN).  As you know, GRRN is a network of waste reduction activists and professionals dedicated to achieving a sustainable economy based on the principle of Zero Waste (for more info, see www.grrn.org). We see our task as encouraging a combination of community responsibility and industrial responsibility towards the way materials pass through our society. Where "waste" is currently produced, we would like the emphasis placed on better industrial design to eliminate its production, wherever humanly possible, rather than finding a technology to make the material disappear.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide input on the proposed methodology for the Life Cycle Assessment and Market Impact studies on emerging conversion technologies being done for the California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB).  Gary Liss reported that you had an active discussion of many issues at the focus group meeting on August 11, 2003.  We are pleased that you are taking great care to make sure your research is asking the right questions, with appropriate methodologies that will best accomplish your objectives.

GRRN would like to highlight some key points of concern to our network: Moreover, please find attached additional concerns that we ask you to address in the scoping of this project, as well as additional detail relative to those briefly referenced above.

We believe that some conversion technologies may help us to develop the Carbohydrate Economy that eliminates our society's reliance on scarce oil and gas supplies. However technologies used must be designed first and foremost to protect the public's health and safety, and the environment as well as ensuring that we remain focused on truly sustainable practices.

Thank you for including our concerns in the scoping for this project.  We look forward to continuing to participate in the review of the results of this research, and the development of policies governing conversion technologies in California.

If you have any questions about our concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Gary Liss at 916-652-7850 or me at 608-232-1830.

David E. Wood
Executive Director

Gary Liss
Fax: 916-652-0485