I took a walk down to the water’s edge and managed to get a hot foot along the way, texting and not paying attention I stumbled upon a culvert and into a drain ditch.   I chuckled at myself as I retrieved my shoes from the moist embankment and continued to my destination on a clear, cool starry night.  I feel refreshed after getting stuck in traffic for over an hour with thousands headed for Ralph Wilson Stadium to watch the Buffalo Bills clash with the Miami Dolphins.  I had a mild case of car sickness upon arriving home and in cussing at the laptop for loading web pages too slowly I knew I needed to walk away.

Despite the fatigue it was a productive day of fact-finding and information gathering north of the border in the international and very chic city of Toronto.  I’ve some great history with our big brother Canadian city stemming from high school Model United Nations trips where I’d often sneak away from fellow classmates and our chaperone marveling at the dizzying skyline whilst wandering through urban parks feeding the wildlife.  Over the years I made friends in the Danforth part of town, including my soul brother Johnny, aka Tarz, who has since relocated to the other side of the continent in the mountains of British Columbia.  On the drive up I’d recalled that my last visit was with my ex-wife in support of her first marathon race, an expensive weekend getaway that was beyond our budget at the time, as so much often had been during our brief marriage.

We drove up in style in Denny’s Mercedes Benz, one of the many fruits of his entrepreneurial labor in the energy industry.  Diana did the leg work arranging for us to meet with a pair of district supervisors in Toronto’s expansive waste management division.  We sat down with our hosts for about an hour picking their brains on collection, sorting and processing of organic waste from their very successful residential program.  We were then chauffeured around to watch their trucks in action and examine the contents of the 8 gallon carts set out for curbside collection.  We were amazed at the cleanliness of the carts where residents use plastic bags to dispose of kitchen scraps, posing a challenge at the transfer station to separate organics from inorganics.  We were advised that the residual liquid makes for a mess during compaction, and a rank odor that can saturate your clothes.  Our gracious hosts even sent us home with a couple sample collection bins as we endeavor to launch an organic waste recycling effort in the City of Buffalo.

I spent a good portion of the day in listening mode as Denny and Diana reviewed some of the specs for the proposed syngas plant, interspersed with political topics ranging from the national budget deficit to a germaphobe Governor to local power struggles in City Hall.  We all learned some valuable information, including a couple hours at a waste management and recycling expo after lunch.  We have a much better grasp for the collection receptacles and trucks necessary to make it viable for supplying the syngas plant, a $21 million dollar legacy project predicated upon tax credits and perhaps municipal bonds, if not an angel investor who appreciates the vision for a zero emissions waste to energy venture.

In common wealth,

SjK

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