Aspen Skiing Company in Aspen, Colorado decided to take an environmentally friendly approach during a construction and renovation project of two buildings in their skiing and recreation resort. Instead of throwing the wood and building materials into a dumpster for hauling to a landfill, it decided to use deconstruction methods to reuse salvageable materials and then create compost out of the organic waste materials.
The deconstruction program—which involved reversing the construction process by removing reusable items instead of sending the waste to the landfill – along with grinding up unusable scrap lumber for composting, allowed Aspen Skiing to keep eighty four percent of the waste materials out of landfills and allowed for the usable materials to defray the costs of landscaping compost and constructing the new buildings.
While deconstruction may cost more initially than demolition, the savings can be returned with less new materials that need to be purchased as well as reduced disposal fees and the ability to sell or donate unwanted construction materials. When Aspen Skiing deconstructed its on-site restaurant, the total savings was over forty two thousand dollars in part due to the selling of the lumber material for compost.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business is in construction and demolition, or if your business is preparing for a large construction or remodeling project, it may be worth your time to investigate the cost saving associated with deconstruction. The more materials you can recycle, re-sell, or re-use the less you’ll need to pay expensive C&D tipping rates for. While deconstruction was once an expensive or hard-to-come-by option, it is now a more widely accepted practice as it has been shown to reduce costs while also being environmentally friendly.
Unifi has recently announced that its REPREVE® Recycling Center is undertaking an expansion of services and adding new jobs. The facility, which operates in Yadkinville, North Carolina and opened in May 2010, is expecting to increase its waste materials processing from forty two million pounds annually, to nearly seventy two million pounds. This growth is being fueled by increased customer participating in recycling and new customer acquisition. The Center’s current customer roster includes Ford Motor Corporation, Nike,The North Face, Patagonia, Volcom, and others.
Due to the growth in the Recycling Center, it is anticipated that ten new jobs will be created this year including filling hiring needs for managers, machine operators and recycled material handlers. The company recently spent five million dollars for capital expenditures and new machinery in preparation for the expansion and growth opportunities.
The fastest and largest growing segments for the Recycling Center are in the apparel, textile, and automotive sectors. The new improvements and expansion at the facility now allow for the recycling of lighter-weight fabrics and clothes, yarns and textiles that are Flame Retardant, and those textile materials that use WaterWise™ color technology in their manufacturing.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Not only is the recycling of your business’ waste materials a smart way to cut down on waste disposal costs, but it also helps to create jobs and economic growth at recycling facilities. In addition, the materials you recycle go on to be sold and re-manufactured into other goods and products instead of ending up in a landfill where they don’t do anyone any good at all! When your business recycles you not only help the environment but you help your local and national economy as well. It’s a win win situation for everyone.
International food producer Hormel Foods Corporation recently announced that in calendar year 2013 the company successfully reduced its overall generated solid waste that needed to be disposed of in regional landfills by more than one thousand tons. Additionally, the company was also able to reduce its total weight of required product packaging – including cardboard, glass, plastic, and aluminum – by over four and a half million pounds.
Hormel, which has its corporate headquarters in Austin, Minnesota, stated that the company has now attained close to eighty one percent of its corporate sustainability strategic goals. Those goals, which have a timeline leading to completion in 2020, include reducing the total amount of waste sent to landfills by three thousand three hundred tons. This amount would represent an overall waste reduction of ten percent. Company representatives say the current waste diversion and recycling figures indicate that the goal may be attained earlier than anticipated.
The company’s pounds per ton of total solid waste was slightly over twenty four pounds in 2013 which was a slight improvement over the prior year. In addition, the reduction in product packaging comprises close to thirty five percent of the total waste reduction goal.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Waste reduction can be more than simply re-using, recycling, donating and composting. If your business is responsible for product packaging, or provides packaging to customers who visit your location, the less materials you use to securely pack your items, the less waste you’ll produce and the more money you’ll save. Take a look at the bags, containers, boxes, and other materials you currently use and see if greener, more environmentally friendly alternatives are available. New packaging solutions are being developed every year and you might be surprised by what you can find!
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently recognized Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri for successfully reducing its overall volume of municipal solid waste and to for implementing innovative food recovery and waste recycling programs.
The University’s Dining Services’ composting efforts have resulted in the diversion of over three hundred tons of uneaten or unusable food waste since 2011. Dining Services oversees campus cafeterias for students, faculty, and staff as well as smaller, dining cafes in select buildings and residence halls. The food scraps and waste collected by Dining Services is transported to St. Louis Composting where it is used for creating compost. WUSTL Facilities Department then reuses the compost for landscaping the campus grounds. In addition, the University is also utilizing cage-free eggs, locally produced fruits and vegetables, napkins made of 100% recycled materials,and compostable containers. Whenever possible, the university also donates edible food to Campus Kitchens, which provides meals for the homeless and needy in the community.
In addition, the WUSTL program is responsible for recycling more than twenty three thousand gallons of waste kitchen oil for use in campus-owned biodiesel delivery vehicles. The University was also the very first in North America to remove the sale of plastic bottled water on campus grounds – and decision which is estimated to have taken almost four hundred thousand bottles out of the waste and recycling stream.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Regardless of your business sector, food waste is generated on your premises every day employees are at work. What policies or opportunities do you have in place to help reduce the amount of food waste going to landfills? Making a few changes can help you to save money and the environment!
Cutting back on the total amount of construction and demolition materials your business disposes of in combustion facilities or landfills can provide several benefits.
The first step to take is to generate less waste. Carefully pre-planning and materials costing can result in less waste materials to dispose of once the construction or remodeling / renovation project is completed. Taking these preventative steps not only help to reduce the environmental damages associated with landfill disposal, but can also save money on disposal fees, labor costs, and the need to contract with outside services or vendors.
The best way to generate and use less resources, which also helps to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, is to reduce, re-use, and recycle all C&D materials that are needed for the project. In addition, deconstruction and selective demolition can help to cut costs for large-scale renovation or building rehabilitation projects as they have the possibility to divert significant amounts of unwanted or unusable materials from landfills that can be re-sold or recycled. Materials recovered from deconstruction can often be donated to non-profit groups or charities for tax benefit.
Deconstruction can be utilized for a variety of projects. Whether it’s for an entire building or a simple room remodel, items such as cabinets, molding, shingles, historic architectural details and high quality wood have appeal on the re-sale market.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: The next time you’re working on a construction or renovation project, consider the different ways that you can reduce the amount of waste you need to dispose of in the landfill. By looking at opportunities for recycling, donation, and re-selling, you’ll be able to save green and go green on every project!
Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont has recently signed into effect a new law establishing a paint recycling and take-back bill.
Much like legal requirements enacted in other states, Vermont House Bill 262 mandates that manufacturers of paint operate and fund a post-consumer take-back and recycling program in the state. The new law helps to facilitate a waste management plan for Vermont residents and businesses when it comes to architectural paint. The goal of the new law is to help shift the financial burden of managing the responsibility of properly disposing of paint away from local and state governments and to the producers.
Funding for the new regulation will be established by enacting a small recycling fee per each container that paint producers will pay to PaintCare. PaintCare is a national non-for-profit group created by the American Coatings Association to administer state paint recycling and disposal programs. All manufacturers of architectural paint are required to register with PaintCare.
Vermont is now the sixth state in the US to enact a producer responsibility paint recycling law. Minnesota recently adopted a similar regulation earlier in 2014 and many other states are considering enacting similar legislation.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business is in construction, remodeling, or facilities management, chances are you work with paint almost every day. If you live or work in a state with paint recycling programs, make sure you’re utilizing them to avoid any fees or fines that could result from improper disposal. Paint can be hazardous, so always be sure to properly store and dispose of unwanted or unusable cans. Never dump paint down a drain as it can contaminate your community’s water supply and land you in hot water with the Environmental Protection Agency!
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded top honors to two Texas medical facilities as part of the Energy Star National Building Competition. Representatives from more than three thousand buildings across the nation competing throughout the year to determine which building could reduce its energy use the most.
In Killeen, the Metroplex Adventist Hospital reduced its energy use by close to fifteen percent, the great amount of any hospital entered in the competition. In Woodlands, Memorial Hermann Southwest took top honors in category for medical office by reducing energy use by slightly over eight percent. Close to fifty buildings in this year’s competition showed energy reductions of twenty percent or more over the course of the year due to improved conservation practices, Energy Star equipment, and increased opportunities for all employees to be involved in the decision making process.
The competition is designed to target wasteful energy habits and motivate building managers, owners, and employees to better their energy efficiency and save money. Many participating businesses and organizations use the competition to increase employee involvement in energy reduction and waste recycling activities and conduct training and development to ensure everyone is aware how important “reduce, reuse and recycle” is to both the environment and the bottom line.
Commercial buildings in the US are responsible for a cost of more than one hundred billion dollars per year on energy use. Businesses and organizations working with the EPA’s Energy Star program can save money every year and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’re a facilities manager at a hospital or healthcare complex, consider using tools and resources from Energy Star. Sometimes even small changes such such powering down non-essential computer equipment, having motion sensor lighting, and increasing recycling accessibility can result in huge savings!
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced its list of the top metropolitan areas in the USA with the greatest number of certified Energy Star commercial buildings. The leading ten cities on the list included: Los Angeles, California; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta, Georgia; New York City; San Francisco, California; Chicago, Illinois; Dallas and Houston, Texas; Denver, Colorado; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Municipalities and business with buildings utilizing green construction and energy star designation save money due to energy efficiency and promote improved public health by a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions.
Commercial buildings are responsible for seventeen percent of energy used through the nation. Certified Energy Star commercial and industrial buildings save on average fifty cents per square foot in operations costs than non-green friendly buildings, and consume approximately two times less power and energy than traditional buildings.
There are currently twenty three thousand buildings throughout the US that have earned the Energy Star certification. The total combined saving in utility costs for these buildings is more than three billion dollars.
To earn the Energy Star certification, a building must perform in the top twenty five percent for energy efficiency compared to comparable buildings throughout the nation and be verified by a registered architect or licensed professional engineer. All types of buildings can achieve Energy Star designation including schools, office buildings, hotels and retail establishments. In addition, there are now one and a half million homes and twenty three thousand commercial and industrial buildings that have been awarded the Energy Star label.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: These Energy Star award winning cities show the economic and environmental benefits that can be achieved when facility managers and owners apply proven approaches to energy efficiency. When was the last time your facility had an energy audit? Going green with Energy Star updates can help to save you green in the long run!
A recent research study conducted by the National Waste and Recycling Association showed that while more than half of the adult population in the United States has access to municipality provided curbside recycling, more education and awareness is needed for the public to understand which waste objects can and should be recycled.
The study, which surveyed more than two thousand people over the age of eighteen, showed that roughly sixty percent of Americans who have curbside recycling services in their community understand what waste items should be placed in the recycling bin. The study concluded that cities and towns could reduce municipal solid waste if the additional thirty percent of the population recycled more.
Areas where consumers lacked understanding included which plastic bags can be recycled and the necessity of rinsing food containers. Additionally, twenty percent of those surveyed said that they would place an item in a recycling bin despite being uncertain if it could be recycled. Recommendations for improving education include easy to find instructions on local government websites, magnets or flyers that can be posted near recycling bins, and stickers that could be placed directly on recycling containers.
Greater knowledge of a community’s recycling policies can help to ensure that the maximum amount of recyclable material is collected while reducing the amount of waste materials that can contaminate the stream or otherwise damage equipment or facilities.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Does your business or place of employment have clear policies and instructions for recycling? Do your employees or co-workers have a solid understanding of what waste materials should be recycled? Make sure everyone has “recycling smarts” by having information clearly posted and available. You’ll save money on disposal fees and feel good about going green!
In the first quarter of 2014, the ability to recycle beverage and food cartons was provided to more than one million households across the nation. This latest enhancement in municipal recycling services brings the total amount of residences with carton recycling opportunities to almost fifty seven million.
Nearly all states offer carton recycling: South Dakota joined the list last year at number forty six and other states, such as New York and Ohio, which have had carton recycling in place for years, enhanced recycling services to increase the overall number of eligible households. Additional services have also been provided in Tampa, Florida and Memphis, Tennessee specifically for carton recycling. The Carton Council of North America hopes that with these gains in recycling accessibility, carton recycling will reach the fifty five percent mark nationwide.
In 2013, carton recycling was adopted by two states and increased just slightly over sixteen percent. Carton manufacturers, who frequently can utilize recycled material in the production of new cartons, contribute the increase in recycling to educating consumers, providing accessible recycling opportunities to residents and businesses, and the support of local governments and businesses to make recycling and waste reduction a priority. Consumer access to carton recycling has increased one hundred and sixty percent in four years and that increase is reflected in the total weight of cartons being sent for recycling instead of landfills.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Is carton recycling readily available in your city or town? Take a moment to review your state and local government’s list of recyclable materials and make sure you’re correctly distinguishing your waste materials from your waste recycling. Staying informed will help you save money in disposal costs and keep valuable materials out of landfills!