On June 28, 2012, the American Chemistry Council (ACC) hosted a forum on Capitol Hill entitled “Unlocking the Vast Potential of Energy Recovery.” An overview of the latest waste-to-energy (WTE) and conversion technologies (CT) trends and technologies was presented. Expanded use of energy recovery as an abundant and alternative energy source was discussed, and legislative strategies to boost private sector investments were outlined.
Cal Dooley, ACC President and CEO, was joined by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Congressman Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and a panel of business leaders and experts, moderated by Harvey Gershman, GBB President.
During the panel discussion, following the keynote congressional panel, Gershman pointed out that “the waste that isn’t recycled here, on Capitol Hill, goes to a waste-to-energy facility in Alexandria, Virginia, to make power for the grid, and has done that reliably for over 20 years.”
He added that “we recycle over 30 percent of our waste now in the U.S. and there is potential to do more. Waste-to-energy plants work hand in hand with robust recycling programs and generally have higher recycling rates than communities that do not have waste to energy facilities. But, at the end of the day, too much is transported to landfills and buried, slowly rotting and generating some methane which can be recovered for energy. This is energy inefficient and not what we should be doing. We need to get more out of our waste than we do now”.
“This is an exciting time for our country to make even greater strides in utilizing our waste stream as we set out to do back in the first Earth Day 1970”, Gershman concluded. “If we can make higher valued fuels and chemicals from our waste, communities and businesses can look forward to reduced charges for the waste management services they need to have and rely on every day. And, in the process, we will recycle more too. Continued wasting our waste is certainly a waste.”
From left to right: Cal Dooley (ACC President and CEO), Marco Castaldi, (Ph.D., of Columbia University), Harvey Gershman (GBB President), Michael Webber (Professor, University of Texas, Austin), Brent Bostwick (Chief Commercialization Officer, Agilyx Corporation), and Barry Caldwell (Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications, Waste Management, Inc.).