The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded Cupertino, California the national Food Recovery Challenge Innovation Award for the municipality’s efforts in reducing food waste. The city’s efforts were bolstered by its ability to collaborate with a local waste hauler, Reclogy, and design a strategy to help local businesses compost their food scraps and food waste.
The city has a long-term plan to reach a seventy five percent waste diversion goal by 2015, and with the new food composting program, more than two thousand tons of food waste from both local businesses and residents was successfully diverted. The city is working with residents and businesses to encourage food waste recycling as an simple way to cut back on their trash disposal while helping to preserve the environment.
Food scraps account for twenty five percent of all waste sent to landfills, but limiting food waste is an easy, and cost effective way to cut back on the production of methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas as well as preserve space for non-recyclable items in local landfills.
As part of their outreach strategy, Recology, the EPA, and city officials held workshops for local grocery stores that provided information about how managers could include food waste reduction techniques to save money on their operations costs. One grocery chain, Marina Food, used that information to divert over five hundred tons of food waste from their annual waste disposal budget.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: What is your home, town, or business doing to address food waste? If you’re still paying to put your food scraps in the garbage or landfill, you need to start investigate food recycling options! You’ll be able to save green and go green when you look at the alternatives!
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced over two million dollars in grants available through the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) to businesses and municipalities on the West Coast and in the Pacific Island Territories. The grants, designed to help reduce the amount of diesel emissions released into the environment by heavy construction equipment and large vehicles such as buses and tractor trailers, will be administered through the West Coast Collaborative and the EPA.
The funds will be used to clean up ninety three heavy- and medium-duty diesel engines, and reduce nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and carbon dioxide. By helping to promote clean diesel technology, the emissions reductions will help to improve environmental conditions in communities where older diesel engines can be found. The project is also expected to bring about public health benefits as well.
Some of the West Coast Collaborative projects for the prior year were:
- California Air Resources Board: to retrofit diesel school buses.
- Pima Association of Governments: replaced diesel school buses with natural gas buses.
- Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management: replaced diesel garage trucks with renewable natural gas generated from food waste.
- South Coast Air Quality Management: replaced older school buses with fully electric powered buses.
- Port of Oakland: repowered diesel rubber tire cranes with Hybrid Electric Power.
- Arizona’s Office of Energy Policy: repowered old construction equipment with Tier 3 engines.
- Puget Sound Clean Air: replaced diesel trucks with liquefied natural gas.
WastCare Wants You to Remember: Is your business or municipal leadership staying aware of funding opportunities available through the EPA? Connecting with your regional office, or following the national agency’s news releases, can help to prepare you to take advantage of these grant programs when they arise!
Earlier this year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill that would require the recycling of all old, unwanted mattresses by all residents in the state as well as businesses operating within state lines.
The new law aims to establish a statewide recycling program for mattresses by offering consumers free and easily accessible locations for mattress collection, drop-off and recycling. With this new law, California becomes the third state in the United States and the first in the western part of the country that requires mattress manufacturers and sellers to accept and process used mattresses for recycling.
Unlike other states, California’s regulation does not pass the cost of recycling on to consumers. The recycling program will be financed by a new charge levied on the sales of new mattress. Because of a mattress’ large size and costs for landfill disposal, they are frequently illegally discarded along roadsides and hills, resulting in blight, health threats to the public, and millions of extra dollars spend by municipalities in addition cleanup expenses. Because of the remove of a consumer fee, individuals such as landlords, home-owners, and small scale real estate developers will have choices for recycling old mattresses while cutting back on the number of those that are dumped illegally.
The state also hopes that recycling mattresses will contribute to the growth of green jobs and help boost the California’s waste reduction and recycling goals. The bill was also supported by mattress retailers doing business in California, as well as municipalities, business organizations and environmental groups. The statewide recycling program will be overseen and monitored by CalRecycle for cost effectiveness and recycling efficiency
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Do you know what the regulations are for mattress recycling in your state? Components in a mattress have value in the recycling after-market, so if you’re not recycling them, you’re losing money by letting them take up space in a landfill!
The city council of New York City has recently passed a Styrofoam food container ban and will also require those businesses that are considered substantial generators of food waste to compost their food scraps and organic materials.
The new law will be enacted in July 2015 and will prohibit food items, be it from a restaurant, deli, or food truck, to be packaged in polystyrene.
Polystyrene containers cannot be recycled in New York City, but organic and food waste can be, so the new legislation is seen as a big step forward in improving the municipality’s waste diversion and recycling rates. For those businesses classified as the largest food waste generators, organic material separation and composting requirements will also being in July of 2015.
The City of New York has a relatively low recycling rate compared to other cities in the United States and the administration’s strategic plan is to double the existing recycling rate to reach thirty percent waste diversion by the year 2017. The diverted food scraps and food waste will be used for both the production of compost and biogas. The move to enact the new regulations are seen as a way to reduce the city’s costs for waste disposal in landfills and help to bolster the growing “green jobs” movement in composting and biogas production and distribution in New York State.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Two of the biggest changes municipalities of all shapes and sizes are making are the moves to food waste diversion and banning the use of polystyrene containers. Even if these changes haven’t yet appeared in your community, be pro-active and start looking for alternatives now. Your customers will see you as a “green” leader and that can certainly help your bottom line!
The city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is now partnering with a local organic waste recycling business to launch a pilot program for the collection of food scraps and organic waste.
Santa Fe’s Division of Environmental Services recently announced that the test program will also include local restaurants and hotels that offer in-house dining and catering services as part of the contract with the not-for-profit group, Reunity Resources. Reunity will be responsible for collecting and transferring all food waste to local composting facilities. One approved composting facility is Payne’s Organic Soil Yard which will turn the food into compost and then make it available for sale to the general public.
The city is planning to lease food collection bins to Reunity Resources. It is expected that all kinds of food waste – include both food scraps as well as uneaten but unusable food – will be accepted. Reunity is currently raising additional funds needed to acquire specialized collection and processing equipment.
The food and organic waste composting program is part of Santa Fe’s overall strategic goal of becoming a zero waste community. The city currently provides curbside recycling services for all residents and also offers reduced rates for commercial recycling to encourage business and industrial participation in waste diversion and reduction.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your town or business is looking to improve recycling services and programs, take a look at collaborating with a local or regional environmental non-profit group. You may find a way to achieve your goals while staying within your budget! Remember, going “green” helps to save money while saving the environment!
The popular office and business supply store, Staples Inc., is now offering all customers an online recycling option for the ink and toner cartridges used in computer printers and copy machines.
The Massachusetts-based company said it is adding this online recycling option to supplement and expand its long-existing and popular in-store “Staple Rewards” toner and ink recycling program.
The company believes the online option for Staples Rewards members will add a level of convenience and ease – in particular for those patrons and businesses that are not in close geographical proximity to a physical store location. Members will be able to print a pre-paid shipping label with direction on how to send their empty cartridges and will receive two dollars in Staples Rewards for each one received.
To date, Staples has recycled over three hundred and fifty million cartridges since starting the program in 2005. The total weight of all recycled metals and plastics collected exceeds one hundred and eighty two million pounds. In the last three years alone, over sixty million cartridges were recycled each year for a total recycled amount of sixty four million pounds of e-waste. The chain store’s worldwide goal is to recycle more than forty million pounds of electronics waste each year by 2020.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: When you’re looking to increase your waste recycling and decrease your waste disposal, look to the needs of your employees and customers. How can you make recycling easier and more convenient for them? Adding a new program or making subtle enhancements can help you to save green and go green at the same time!
Officials and administrators from the mid-western city of Columbus, Ohio, have recently decided to expand its municipal waste recycling program to include services to apartment complexes and condominium buildings. In many municipalities multi-family residences are excluded from city run waste collection, with property owners required to contract with private waste haulers for trash removal and recycling services.
Columbus’ Department of Public Service is set to expand the city’s RecyColumbus program in early March of next year. To be eligible to participate in the city’s new service offering, condo complexes and apartment buildings, along with new row-house and town-home developments in certain city neighborhoods, must have sufficient space for storage of the sixty-four-gallon recycling bins that the city requires for its biweekly recycling collections.
In addition, starting in early March, the city will also launch a weekly yard waste collection program. This is an enhancement in service from the current alternating week pick up schedule. City officials hope that the weekly pick ups for outdoor organic material will make the waste collection system more efficient and simpler for resident to participate in.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’re a landlord or multi-unit property owner or manager, it pays to have your municipality involved with recycling services. The more tenants or renters recycle, the less you need to pay for trash disposal services! Going green can save you green!
The Cleveland Browns AFC professional football team has started a new waste diversion and recycling program to take left-over food waste and food scraps generated through sports fans at their stadium and convert it into energy.
The a collaboration between the Browns ownership, Ohio State, Forest City Enterprises, and the Quasar Energy Group, the Browns will be the very first professional sports franchise to use InSinkErator’s Grind2Energy food waste conversion system.
Food waste generated at the FirstEnergy Stadium will be collected and transformed into a slurry mixture that can be easily transported to Quasar Energy’s anaerobic digester housed at Ohio State’s Agricultural Research and Development Center. The anaerobic digester will then produce the biogas needed for fuel and energy use.
It is expected that the new food recycling system will divert over thirty five tons of uneaten food waste from landfills each season and help to generate electricity for the entire community. The new partnership will not only help the stadium to reduce fees associated with garbage disposal but also preserve landfill space for those items that cannot be easily and inexpensively recycled or re-used for other purposes.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Waste reduction and recycling isn’t something you have to do all on your own. Take a look around your community to see if collaborations and partnerships can be created to serve jointly held needs. Pooling resources can be a great way to cut your costs while embracing green technologies!
Clothing, fabrics, and textile-based materials are a part of our everyday lives. Whether it’s the clothes we wear or the bath towels and blankets we use or the drapes and carpets in our homes and offices, these are some of the simplest items to re-use or recycle. Even in less populated areas, there are community groups and social service agencies interested in obtaining your older clothing and linens for worthy purposes, so why dispose of these items in the trash when you can pass them along to groups or businesses that can put them to good use!
In most municipalities, textile waste is about five percent of all trash collected. That might not seem like very much, but collectively, throughout the United States, that’s over thirteen million tons of waste going to landfills. In 2011, only two million tons of textiles were donated or recycled.
If your business, town, or place of worship wants to make a difference in reducing waste, textile collection is a great place to start. One key point to remember as you plan your waste collection strategy is that all clothing and textiles must be kept dry – dampness can easily set in and render the clothing or materials unusable due to mold and mildew! Keeping collected items in plastic bags away in a dry location is the best way to ensure that your items can be re-used by others or re-manufactured into new goods and products.
In addition to gently used clothing being used to help those in need, unwanted textiles are also in demand by businesses to make products such as cleaning materials, high-end paper supplies, car insulation, padding for furniture, environmentally friendly construction materials and carpets.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business is throwing unwanted or out-dated textiles into the trash, you’re also throwing precious dollar bills away as well! Take a look into textile recycling, re-sale or donation options and you’ll be saving green while going green!
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making two million dollars in grant funding rebates available to both private owners of construction equipment and municipalities to retrofit or replace older diesel engines in construction vehicles. The rebates serve as an incentive to reduce pollution and improve air quality in the areas where the trucks and heavy equipment in used.
The exhaust from diesel engine equipment can negatively affect children, those with health and respiratory problems, and senior citizens. Updating the older engines helps to make them more environmentally friendly by limiting the quantity and nature of the exhaust and therefore improves the air quality in the area where the equipment travels or is being used.
The rebates are a part of the Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA). Starting in 2008, DERA has awarded in excess of five hundred million dollars to businesses, municipalities, and public groups to update over fifty thousand diesel powered heavy equipment vehicles. Old diesel engines release significant amounts of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides into the air, however, specialized equipment can help to reduce these emissions and reduce the health impacts to those operating the equipment as well as those living or working in the vicinity.
All owners of private and public construction equipment in areas with poor air quality, or air quality issues, are urged to apply for the funding. Applications are due by January 15, 2014 and funds should be awarded in February 2014.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business in involved in heavy construction or transportation, investigating grant funding rebates from the EPA may help you to improve your diesel-powered vehicles. Keeping your employees healthy means more time on the job and more “green” for your bottom line!