Advancing a More Circular Economy and the Reinvention of the Waste-to-Energy Industry through Sustainable Business Park Development
Thomas P. Reardon, Senior Vice President and Jennifer Porter, Senior Project Manager, Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc.
Mr. Reardon has over 32 years of experience specializing on alternative energy, clean fuel and waste conversion. His extensive expertise, both as a consultant and as a senior executive in the private-sector, encompasses waste-to-energy (WTE) and alternative clean fuels project management; waste conversion / emerging technologies review, analysis and strategic business planning; energy and technology agreement negotiations; facility operations and management; and strategic solid waste management planning. He served as Director of the Solid Waste Association of North America’s WTE Technical Division from 2012 to 2015.
As a GBB consultant for over 6 years, he leads both solid waste management planning and waste conversion technology projects while meeting established goals through the effective management of project teams. In addition to projects for public-sector entities, he has led several GBB confidential technology review projects, conducting and compiling detailed marketplace analysis reports; assessing and evaluating alternative waste-to-energy technologies; and providing business development and planning assistance. He also managed confidential expert witness projects, providing clients with favorable and significant financial court judgments.
As Chief Operating Officer for an alternative fuel start-up looking to use municipal solid waste to create an EPA-approved advanced automobile fuel additive, he created strategic plans, developed markets, cultivated partnership alliances, and collaborated with funding institutions.
For over 10 years, prior to originally joining GBB, he was Business Manager for Covanta Projects, Inc., where he was responsible for managing all financial, business, administration and operational aspects of Covanta’s 975 ton per day Alexandria/Arlington and 3,000 ton per day Fairfax County WTE facilities in Virginia. He successfully managed the $33 million pollution control retrofit, and other capital improvement projects at the Alexandria and Fairfax Facility’s while improving EBITDA by increasing revenues and maintaining tight cost control measures.
Ms. Porter is a sustainable development leader with more than 15 years of experience on government and private sector sustainability initiatives. She has extensive experience and expertise in solid waste management, recycling, and composting program development and evaluation.
As Conservation Program Coordinator for over 6 years with the City of Portland’s (Oregon) Office of Sustainable Development, she managed citywide recycling changes for 145,000 households; led multifamily recycling projects resulting in a 21% rise in volume and a 90% decrease in contamination; headed the renewal of the 10-year franchise for the city’s 23 residential waste haulers; coordinated the annual residential rate setting for the $43 million annual enterprise fund; spearheaded the Columbia-Willamette Clean Cities Coalition strategic development plan; established strong working relationships with waste haulers, property managers, community development corporations, government entities, and environmental groups; and developed a statistical model for a commercial food composting program.
Ms. Porter’s diverse experience includes acting as Chief Operating Officer at Rivertown Composting, a firm focused on changing the way New York City and New York State handles its organic waste. She was also Manager of Corporate Sustainability for Healthy Buildings, securing new clients and projects in the green building/energy efficiency realm. At the Northeast Innovation Alliance – Workforce Wayne, she was Director of Workforce Initiatives where she spearheaded implementation of a federal grant for workforce development, resulting in the creation of the Wayne Pike Workforce Alliance. She has also volunteered and held Board positions with many organizations, including the Association of Oregon Recyclers, the Columbia-Willamette Clean Cities Coalition, the Hollywood Farmers Market, and the Sunnyside Gardens Community Association.
Due to the impacts from international market constriction on the recyclables market, communities are looking for innovative and ambitious solutions geared towards alternative market options that fulfill their waste diversion objectives and develop local/domestic capacity for waste management. One powerful response is the advancement of a more circular economy– which contrasts with linear economy,based on a 'take, make, dispose' model of consumption - with the development of sustainable business parks (SBP).
SBPs bring together businesses in a value-added system where virgin resource inputs, wastes, emissions, and energy leakages are minimized by slowing, closing, and narrowing material and energy loops to eliminate loss. SBPs are achieved through thoughtful design, maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishing, and recycling, which narrow the material and energy loops to reduce loss. The possibilities for placement of advanced WTE within these parks, as either anchor or complementary tenants, working in tandem with other producers and users of by-products are hopeful.
The presentation will highlight where communities should start upon undertaking this paradigm shift to a SBP, namely with 1.) an overview of waste supply sources and types, 2.) review of appropriate processing and conversion technology, and 3.) available site location requirements.
A brief technology overview in the presentation will highlight alternatives for mixed MSW, recyclables, compostable materials and specialty industrial waste. Technologies often evaluated for use with these waste streams in sustainable business parksinclude technologies associated with Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) or Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) production, gasification, pyrolysis, anaerobic digestion, composting, and other technologies for recyclable processing and product production (e.g. plastic flake for reuse into new products) and/or electrical generation renewable compressed natural gas equivalent production, as may be determined in each community.
GBB has expertise in the field helping communities develop SBPs that are securing markets for their waste materials. Two recent circular economyprojects include (More info on each project is available at: www.gbbinc.com/services/circular-economy-sustainable-park-development):
Kent County, MI – Development of Sustainable Business Park: The County has set a bold goal to divert 90% of County-generated trash that goes to landfills by 2030. Building a Sustainable Business Park is an essential part of reaching that goal, helping to significantly reduce trash buried in landfills and attract investment and jobs from companies that can convert waste into usable products.
Prince William County, VA – Development of an Eco-Park: The County is transforming, with GBB’s assistance, its award-winning landfill into a community resource by producing energy, recovering valuable materials and providing unique opportunities for education.
We will close the presentation with a feature on the special partnerships and stakeholder work which underpin successful SBP projects, and recommendations for the next community to undertake this paradigm shift in waste management.