Tuesday March 8, 2013: Public Affairs Week

Hi Everyone:  next Tuesday evening during Public Affairs Week we have a highly relevant panel that I am moderating.  Please consider attending!  RSVP not needed.

City Sustainability and the Prospects for Waste Disposal
Tuesday March 12, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Baruch College, Newman Vertical Campus
55 Lexington Ave (corner of 24th Street), Rm 14-220
Samantha MacBride, Assistant Professor
Venetia Lannon is the regional director for Region 2
(New York City) for the New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation. Prior to this, she was senior
vice president of the New York City Economic Development
Corporation, where she led the Maritime group. In
her previous work at EDC, she was an active participant
in the development and negotiation of the City’s 20-year
Solid Waste Management Plan. Before joining NYCEDC in
2003, Ms. Lannon was a deputy director at the New York
City Department of Sanitation’s Recycling Bureau where
she oversaw the composting program. Ms. Lannon holds
a Bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and a Masters in
Public Administration from Columbia University.

Ron Gonen is deputy commissioner of sanitation for the
City of New York where he is responsible for managing
New York City’s recycling and waste reduction programs.
He also serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia
Business School. Mr. Gonen is the co-founder of
RecycleBank. During his tenure as CEO from 2004-2010,
RecycleBank grew to a company that diverted over a
billion pounds from landfills. Prior to RecycleBank, Mr.
Gonen was in management consulting at Accenture and
Deloitte Consulting. He was recognized in 2009 by the
United Nations Environment Program as a Champion of
the Earth. He was the recipient of the 2010 University
Medal of Excellence from Columbia University and was
awarded the Social Enterprise Teaching Award by Columbia
Business School.

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Energy, Composting, and Buildings: Of Possible Interest to the Class

Biogas in the Basement

Wed, 2013-03-06 10:23

Frustrated by unreliable waste collection, several high-rise apartment complexes in Kochi, India, are turning lemons into lemonade – or more accurately, biogas. Using technology pioneered in Europe, the buildings feature onsite biogas plants that process residents’ food scraps and other biodegradable waste into energy. While the resulting electricity from one 24-flat building currently using the technology is not enough to power the entire complex, it is powering the cooking appliances for the onsite security staff.

So every time residents see their doorman eating a microwave burrito, they can take pride in knowing that the discarded remains of their gourmet meal made it happen.

Source: The Times of India

Mark Item As: Commentary
Sat, 2013-03-09

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Engage: Successful waste management methods in NYC

After reading Incinerators in Disguise, we have come to an understanding that numerous waste treatment projects were essentially failures, whether it was shot down during the late proposal stages or others after it tried to manage, unsuccessfully, for several years. We can conclude that many projects are just claims. These projects that can benefit or negatively affect millions of people, have not been analyzed down to the microscopic details such as equipment failure or protection. How do you feel about proposals for solid waste management technologies in New York City? Do you trust the Department of Sanitation and mayor Bloomberg and the rest to inspect proposals and choose a technology that will really actually benefit our community, and in a city with such a large population, what waste management method and location will work into our city’s infrastructure without the people intervening negatively?


Engage: Italian Futurism and modern applied technologies

Although Italian Futurism is a movement of the early 20th century, it hasn’t vanished into irrelevance. Even though some aspects can look unseemly to us now, other key values have been left scratched into our culture. What connections do you see when examining our relationship with (/ feelings towards / implementation of / level of success with) current waste conversion technologies? Particularly with how we view the hi-tech, the relationship between humans and nature, and modernity?

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Engage: Waste Incineration in our Community

Several of the proposals for incineration facilities disclosed in “Incinerators in Disguise,” were challenged by the residents and environmental justice groups of the community, as they formed coalitions against the waste-treatment companies’ claims of “zero emissions,” until they were rejected. The New York City Department of Sanitation’s Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan for 2006-2025 seeks to reduce NYC’s reliance on “out-of-City landfill disposal options” and explores the possibility of new and emerging technologies being sited in New York City. Although case studies have proven that waste-treatment facilities falsely claim that their technology is “pollution-free,” and has “no emissions,” do you think an incineration facility, promoting technologies such as pyrolysis, gasification, plasma arc, and catalytic cracking, is capable of operating pollution-free? And if an incinerator such as the one mentioned by the DSNY were sited in New York City, how do you think residents of NYC would respond? How would you respond to an emerging incinerator in your community?


Engage: Best Waste Conservation Route for NYC?

In “Incinerators in Disguise”, a number of proposals and case studies for new waste conservation technologies are mentioned from around the world – each with their own pros and cons. However, none of the technologies mentioned have to do with the New York City area. After reading the New York City Department of Sanitation’s Request for New and Emerging Solid Waste Management Technology, based on some of the technical, NYC-specific information mentioned in the request and the examples of existing new technologies mentioned in “Incinerators in Disguise”, which, if any, of these technologies do you think would be a good fit for New York City? What characteristics should a NYC-specific solid waste management technology proposal have?

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Week 5: Old and New Waste Conversion Technologies, Italian Futurism

Oratory challenge:  theatrically recite excerpts from the Futurist Manifesto (abridged). Listen to and watch this video in Italian for inspiration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC1wBf-LJ20

Click to show required readings
New York City Department of Sanitation. RFP for New and Emerging Technologies Final March 6, 2012 [Zotero]

GAIA and GreenAction. Incinerators in Disguise Case Studies of Gasification, Pyrolysis, and Plasma in Europe, Asia, and the United States (April 2006) http://www.greenaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/IncineratorsInDisguiseCaseStudyReportJune2006.pdf

Sant’Elia, Antonio. “Futurist Architecture,” in Futurism: An Anthology. Ed. Rainey, Lawrence S, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. 198-201. e-reserves.

Click to show optional readings

Marinetti, F.T. “The Founding Manifesto of Futurism,” in Futurism: An Anthology. Ed. Rainey, Lawrence S, Christine Poggi, and Laura Wittman. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. 49-53. e-reserves.
Review resources on: http://www.energyjustice.net/incineration

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