The Problems and Our Solutions

The Problems:

Garbage is everywhere

North America’s landfills are overflowing. They stink, attract rodents, spread pathogens and leach toxins into our soil, contaminating underground water.

Each of us produces over a ton of garbage every year. Forty percent of that garbage is organic waste sent to rot in landfills and in turn creates approximately one third of the harmful methane gas that is produced. In terms of heat that is trapped and damage to our atmosphere, this methane is over twenty times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

As cities start to come to terms with this reality, they are beginning to ban organics from landfills which presents another problem, “what to do with this waste stream?” These organic wastes, known as Urban BiomassTM, would produce far more compost than could be used, so what might be the ‘highest and best use’ of this resource?

“Waste” wood on our forest floors is a fire hazard

According to the Chief Forester of British Columbia, forestry operations leave behind 2.3 billion cubic centimeters of forestry biomass per year in BC. In 2009, The province’s Wildfire Management Branch reported that forest fires burned 247,419 hectares costing over $380 million to manage and extinguish and that 2/3 of these were caused by lightening strikes that were fueled by excessive wood biomass, biomass that could be fueling our transportation needs.

The Solutions:

Our energy future lies in organic waste – from both our cities and our forest floors.

The technological advances during these past two decades have transformed the ‘notion’ of converting biomass to energy and fuel into today’s reality. As our energy needs grow – so does our waste stream. Using that which we discard to drive us forward is an elegant solution.

Urban BiomassTM is typically landfilled or burned but that is beginning to change. There is growing awareness of the issues associating with mounds of rotting waste and cities and towns all over North America are increasingly seeking solutions to deal with it. Hummingbird has worked with Urban BiomassTM for over 12 years and understands fully the energy potential that it holds. Using Urban BiomassTM to generate power or fuel are two higher, better, cleaner, greener uses for our ‘waste.’

Removing some of the forestry biomass keeps the forests healthy, reduces on the ground ‘fuel’ and allows the waste to be used for the creation of clean, renewable, green diesel

One million barrels of green diesel can be produced every day in BC using only 15% of the waste wood that otherwise remains. In 2011, Greenpeace released their position paper, “Fueling a BioMess”, where they present a limit of 25% removal of post logging wood debris to ensure that sufficient biomass remains to regenerate our forests and significantly reduce the forest fire hazard.