As part of my commitment to the environment, I recently spoke on sustainability at the 3rd Annual Symposium on Green Chemistry in Boston; International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering in Boston, Montreal, Raleigh and San Francisco, The International Society of Automation in Philadelphia and Wilmington, and I will be addressing the EPA Energy Star Pharmaceutical Subgroup in March. In addition to being an avid environmentalist, I am also a strong supporter of ReVenture Park.
I would like to focus the ReVenture discussion on three little words: simple, easy and practical.
The solution to our municipal waste problem is simple. Just stop generating it. No waste, no problem; simple solution. But what would that mean? Is our culture really willing to give up the convenience of packaged goods? Can we really turn the clock and quality of life back 100 or more years? No, that won’t be easy. It’s like the obesity problem. Stop eating too much and exercise more. Simple – just not easy.
Many people say the key is recycling. Sounds great, but only a small fraction of waste is recyclable. So while it might seem simple and easy; it is not a practical solution to our problem. Recycling discussions also suffer from a false dichotomy. Certainly recycling appears better than landfills, but that’s not the only choice. Recycled materials do not magically get transformed into new virgin products. They need to transported (often to China) where they undergo substantial chemical and thermal treatment derived from oil and coal. It is sometimes better to cleanly release the energy stored in these materials through gasification technology, as proposed by ReVenture than it is to “recycle” them.
The only easy thing is continue to do what we are doing now. Nothing! Collect the waste, ship it someplace and bury it. Let our grandchildren inherit all of it. The polluted planet, the energy insecurity and global climate change. Well, I can’t do easy.
Simple is out and easy is out. That only leaves us with practical. ReVenture Park is a practical solution to the problem. The technologies selected are clean, safe and orders of magnitude better for our health and environment than easy; by which I mean, doing nothing. The discussion about ReVenture has been a war of words. Words that have been used to frighten, misinform and enrage. A simple tactic to try and derail a practical solution.
As an unaffiliated but knowledgeable industry person, well informed on the facts of waste to energy and gasification, I offer my experience and insight to any organization interested in ReVenture Park. If you would like to better understand the issues, the technologies and words, including the little ones, Simple, Easy and Practical, please feel free to email me at: ..email@example.com.
Dave March is an engineering chemist and a resident of Belmont.