Marc J. Rogoff, Ph.D., Alissa Lee, Michael Koeppen, and David Elliot
Many of the world’s middle-income economies are looking to U.S. technological solutions to address their growing solid waste and recycling infrastructure challenges. It is in this space where the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) plays a facilitative role for U.S. industry. USTDA is an independent Federal government agency with a unique mandate to engage the U.S. private sector in infrastructure projects at the critical early stages when the projects’ technology options and requirements are being defined. With a range of projects in emerging markets, USTDA has used its tools in East Asia and Latin America to create U.S. exports in the solid waste industry while supporting the goals of partner countries.
China is one market where USTDA is helping U.S. industry to seize export opportunities. As the country makes significant investments in its urban infrastructure, it is focused on improving construction waste management. Over the next ten years, China is expected to produce about 600 million tons of construction waste annually, which equates to roughly 30 percent of the world’s total waste resulting from construction. While the majority of waste created during construction projects can be recycled and reused, China currently recycles less than 5 percent of its construction waste. With new targets for urban waste recycling, local governments are under pressure to meet the higher standards and avoid heavy taxes that were implemented in early 2018.China’s plans to invest $38 billion in construction waste management over the next twelve years present significant opportunities for U.S. companies looking to supply cutting-edge technologies and services that can support the country’s waste management goals.
China Clean Energy Urban Waste Management Study Tour
In an effort to connect U.S. companies to these project opportunities, USTDA hosted decision-makers from China in February 2019 to meet with U.S. manufacturers and providers of construction and demolition waste equipment and services. The delegation represented China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment and the National Committee of Construction Waste Management and Recycling, as well as senior managers of private environmental technology companies. USTDA’s itinerary was designed to showcase cutting-edge U.S. technologies and services that can support China’s efforts to meet new targets for construction waste management.
The delegation comprised senior officials from China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) and the National Committee of Construction Waste Management and Recycling, as well as senior managers of private environmental technology companies. With the support of Koeppen, Elliott and Associates (KEA) and Geosyntec Consultants, the delegation participated in a 12-day study tour of various U.S. facilities and manufacturers.
Over the course of the Study Tour, the group also visited the following operating facilities:
- Devens Recycling Facility, Devens, MA
- Riverdale C&D Recycling Facility, Riverdale, IL
- Lakeshore Recycling Facility, Chicago, IL
- New England Recycling Facility, Taunton. MA
USTDA Business Briefing
As part of the visit, USTDA hosted a business briefing for U.S. Industry at the John B. Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA in cooperation with the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA). The briefing opened with a brief presentation by Ms. Alissa Lee, Country Manager for East Asia, USTDA and Mr. David Biderman, Executive Director of SWANA. The Chinese delegates presented on their waste management projects, after which the delegates met with the U.S. industry representatives.
Visit to SWANApolozza
SWANA’s trade show included booths featuring more than 70 different U.S. companies offering services in the following areas: landfill engineering, C&D equipment, landfill gas equipment, recycling, and environmental monitoring. Company invitations and time slots (15 minutes each) were identified for the delegates to visit.
Waste-to-Energy Research and Technology Council (WTERTC) at City College of New York
Finally, the delegation traveled to the City College of New York in New York City where they met with Professor Marco Castaldi, Director of the Earth Engineering Center on Waste-to-Energy (WTE) practices and policies and his colleague, Dr. Demetra Tsiamis, Associate Director. The delegates viewed a brief PowerPoint presentation illustrating the Center’s research on WTE and the comparisons with China, of which Professor Castaldi has personal experience from his recent visits to China.
This visit represents one of several activities that USTDA has supported in the area of waste management over the years. In Brazil, the Agency is currently funding a study to evaluate the implementation of landfill energy projects at five sites managed by the Brazilian private waste management company, Solvi Valorização Energetica (Solví) in São Paulo. The project, when implemented, will consist of enhancing methane gas collection at the landfills and installing gas engine-generator sets to produce electricity from the gas. Potential exports for U.S. industry are expected to include engine-generator sets, heat extenders, engine protection enclosures, gas contaminant removal equipment, piping and carbon vessels. The objectives for the project include reducing emissions and providing energy to nearby businesses and households, as well as the national grid.