An unintended theme

Departments - Editor's Focus

April 7, 2014
Kristin Smith

Kristin Smith


As you read the features in this issue, you will notice many of them seem to have a common message. While I wasn’t trying to have a running theme in the magazine, it was unavoidable this time. That’s because it appears that one thing is clear when being successful in the waste conversion industry. It is a lot easier to succeed if you can work together.

That could mean finding synergies with another business that shares the same goals but can bring different assets to the table. That was certainly the case for Midwest Fiber Recycling and Data Management Services, which you will read about in the cover story, “Collaborative diversion.” While Midwest Fiber had a strong foothold in commercial recycling in central Illinois, it found that partnering with a company that produced an engineered fuel would allow it to grow its customer base even further.

Then in the story “Standing out,” you will read about the city of Akron and KB BioEnergy. Through an ongoing public-private partnership (P3), what started out as a pilot project to process biosolids for energy has turned into a $32 million facility upgrade that will allow KB BioEnergy to anaerobically digest all of the city’s human biosolids. Several other technology providers, engineers and financing companies also partnered on the project, which recently came online.

After reading those two stories you may be interested in finding out how to structure a P3. The story “Joining forces” will walk you through the process.

These stories all provide examples of how working with other entities can help bring a project to fruition or grow a business. If waste conversion projects are going to become more prevalent, then it will be up to the private sector to mitigate some of the risk for municipalities. As well, municipalities should be providing a business environment that private sector developers can succeed in, whether that is through tax incentives, waste regulation or profit arrangements.

The successes we are hearing about and will continue to hear about in this business will be the result of strategic partnerships. Not only do partnerships take some of the risk out of the equation, they can also increase the skill sets, ideas, assets and overall strength of a company or project. It is much more difficult to be successful alone than it is to succeed together.

Maybe you can bring something to the table that no one else has. Is it the technology? Is it the financing? Is it the business smarts? And maybe someone else has strengths in one of the areas you are lacking. Keep engaging with the magazine, join our conversations on social media and attend our annual conference to keep these types of conversations flowing between your peers, and you just might be the next project that is written about in Renewable Energy from Waste magazine.