Urban Biomass

Urban BiomassTM, or Source Separated Organics (SSO) is comprised of roughly fifty percent food waste (residential, commercial) and fifty percent woody material (yard and garden waste from municipalities, C&D waste, and unrecyclable paper). Every year BC communities produce over 1.6 million tonnes of SSO, and that number continues to grow (BC Ministry of Environment – Solid Waste Generation in British Columbia 2010-2025 Forecast (June, 2012).  In 2010 an estimated 2.9 million tones of solid waste were disposed of in BC.  Organic waste represents 40% of that total).

Governments throughout BC, including the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Capital Regional District have banned organics from landfill and have implemented curbside collection as a means to limit the production of methane, a greenhouse gas (GHG), that is created by the anaerobic digestion of organics in landfill.

To emphasize the importance of methane emissions from landfills, one must understand that methane (CH4) is considered to be approximately 25 times more heat absorptive than carbon dioxide on a mass basis with a time horizon of 100 years (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). – “Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007 (AR4). Working Group”) . The 35 landfills in BC were estimated to generate 137,000 tonnes of methane in 2012, equivalent to 2,872,000 tonnes of CO2E, representing over 6% of the Province’s total GHG emissions (BC Ministry of Environment – “British Columbia GreenHouse Gas Inventory Report 2012”). Eliminating organics from landfills in BC would be equivalent to removing roughly 1,000,000 automobiles from our roads (Golder and Associates – “Report on Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Generation from Landfills in BC – Prepared for the BC Ministry of Environment 2008”).

Urban BiomassTM is also readily available in urban locations and routinely tied to long term supply contracts. BC could produce up to 1,000,000 barrels of clean, renewable, green diesel every year from the Urban BiomassTM produced within the province (Based on the BC Stats report to the Ministry of the Environment (February 2010) “British Columbia’s Solid Waste Flow, 2006 Summary Report”; there are approximately 2,917,000 tonnes of solid waste disposed in BC landfills every year, and Urban Biomass ™ (organics and wood) accounted for 42.3% of the total waste. Assuming full organics diversion (1,233,891 tonnes/year, or 616,945 bone dry tonnes/year) and assuming that one bone dry tonne of Urban Biomass ™ produces 100 gallons of green diesel, or 2.4 barrels, as projected by equipment suppliers). Diverting Urban BiomassTM  from our landfills, capturing the stored energy and using it to help power our businesses, our homes and our lives is a smart step forward for all.