EPA Recognizes Landfills for Green Energy

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently commended two regional landfills for their ability to generate renewable energy from waste materials in a manner that both resulted in energy savings for the communities they serve and without negatively impacting the environment.

The first of the two landfill energy projects is the Combined Heat and Power Project at the Coca-Cola Hickory Ridge Landfill in Conley, Georgia. At this site, the energy resulting from landfill gasses is responsible for a non-stop supply of green electricity, steam, and water. This initiative provides almost 100% of Coca-Cola’s energy needs and results in energy savings and economic development for the company.

The second energy project is the Small Electricity Project at the Watauga County Landfill in Boone, North Carolina. The landfill had been closed for close to twenty years but was ideal for launching a small electricity generating operation in partnership with the Appalachian State University Energy Center. As a result of the project, economic and energy assistance is provided to the county and research opportunities are now available for students and faculty.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: How are the different members of your town or community working together to save money, energy, and environment? While recycling is a great way to cut costs and reduce trash, there will always be some materials disposed of in your regional landfill. If that trash isn’t being used to generate energy it’s simply costing you money!

Texas Hotels Offer Composting

A Texas company has launched a new innovation for those in the hotel and overnight accommodations industry. Texas Disposal Systems has recently partnered with the Four Season Hotel in the capital city of Austin to offer visitors and guests the first ever, in-room food waste recycling and composting program.

The goal of the partnership is to divert ninety percent of the hotel’s waste from ending up in local landfills; thus reducing waste disposal costs while offering environmentally aware consumers the opportunity to “go green” and recycle unwanted food while traveling for work or pleasure.

The on-site composting program combine food scraps and waste from the hotel’s restaurants, bars, and coffee cafe areas and then combined with organic outdoor waste such as landscaping trimmings from trees, shrubs  flowers, and grasses that are a part of the Four Seasons’ property.

All of the hotel’s organic waste will be used to create nutrient-rich compost by local company, Garden-Ville. Which will then be sold as well as used by the hotel for grounds-keeping.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Not only is the on-site composting program offered by the Four Seasons an economically and environmentally smart one, but its partnership with two other local businesses also helps to strengthen the regional green economy – creating more jobs and profits for all involved! What kinds of partnerships can your business establish to create something similar?

Food Waste Reduction Grows

Farmers and community food bank advocates have decided to continue with an innovative new program in the state of California, Farm to Family. The program is designed to reduce, and ultimately eliminate farming based food waste. Based on the final accounting for last year’s participation in the program, it was determined that one hundred and twenty seven million pounds of produce was collected and redistributed to those in need of food assistance.

Based on the amount of food that was collected and distributed when the program launched eight years ago, there has been more than a ten percent increase. It is expected that over one hundred and forty million pounds of food will be collected throughout 2013.

The innovative program to assist those in need of food for themselves and their families, is administered by the California Association of Food Banks. By working with farms throughout the state, Farm to Family accepts imperfect, undersized, or unmarketable produce that might otherwise end up in regional landfills. In some instances, this can be as much as thirty percent of any given crop that can be transferred to participating food banks throughout the state.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: All businesses produce waste, but smart business owners take a look at what that waste is and look for ways to reduce their disposal fees. Sometimes this can be through enhanced recycling and other times it can be through charitable giving and community donations. When was the last time you looked through your dumpster to see if you’re throwing “green gold” away?

Innovative Use For Food Waste

In a bold move from real estate management company, Thee Durst Organization, food scraps and organic waste will be collected from eleven of its residential and commercial buildings in New York City. The waste material will be composted and used as fertilizer for roof-top gardens throughout the city.

The business, whose properties include such high-profile locations as One Trade Center, Four Times Square, and One Bryant Park also has plans to develop green space on top of  several of its New York City buildings. Green rooftops have been shown to be effective in dense, urban areas such as New York City for providing building insulation against heat and cold, collecting rainwater for landscaping use, as well as being an attractive recreational feature for apartment dwellers and businesses. The organization started the composting initiative last year and hopes to have report-able data later on its effectiveness later this year.

Additional benefits of green roof tops include their abilities to capture air pollutants and filter harmful gases that are increasingly prevalent in today’s city environment. While the plans will certainly help the city with its environmental improvement goals, and provide an attractive space for tenants, it will also assist is reducing the trash disposal fees incurred weekly by such densely populated buildings.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Just because you’re in a city doesn’t mean you can’t plant trees, grasses, and plants! Rooftop gardens are gaining in popularity in urban and densely-populated areas. If your work involves residential or commercial buildings in these kinds of areas, you might want to learn more about this innovative, and possibly cost-saving, strategy!

Charlotte Airport Starts Composting Program

Worms are the latest addition to the Charlotte, North Carolina Douglas International Airport but travelers need not worry about coming into regular contact with the wiggly earth-mover, they’ll be residing in the airport’s new composting system housed in the facility’s  recycling center.

Over one and a half million Georgia Red Wigglers (considered the best worm species for large scale composting programs) are now hard at work in the recycling facility, turning organic matter such as food scraps and landscaping waste into nutritious compost fertilizer. Since launching the recycling center three years ago, the airport has reduced the amount of waste materials it send to landfills by close to seventy percent. The hope for the composting program is that it increases that amount to close to ninety percent waste diverted.

The airport plans to use the nutrient-rich compost for landscaping and fertilizer for it’s grounds and surrounding area. Airport authorities hope to see the full recycling operations recovering its costs within the next two years through reduced garbage disposal fees and landscaping costs.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: With any start-up operation, recycling included, you need to plan out and monitor your costs and expected break-even point. With attention to details, the amount you invest in recycling initiatives will come back to your business over time.

Cleveland Increases Waste Police

The city of Cleveland, Ohio is getting serious about proper trash disposal and recycling. Last year alone, the city’s “trash police” wrote more than one thousand three hundred tickets to those residents who did not follow trash collection regulations.

In early 2012, the city announced its get tough stance on garbage rule-breakers and staring in April those who continued to break the law were issued fines and citations. In six months, the city has collected more than sixty five thousand dollars in fines. The policing is done by city collection workers using special handheld devices to log time, date, and location of violations. The device also allows a photo of the infraction to be taken as evidence. Tickets are printed and sent to the property owner.

In 2011, Cleveland enhanced its curbside trash and recycling service and now all residents are required to participate in the city-wide waste recycling program or be issued a ticket for non-compliance.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Is you town getting tough on proper waste disposal and recycling? The more waste that ends up in landfills means the more money that your community has to spend on trash fees! Leading with a “carrot” is always a good idea, but when people don’t follow the rules, sometimes leading with a “stick” gets them to pay attention!


Washington, DC Number One In Green Building

In a recent report published by the United States Green Building Council, the metro area of our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., comes in number one on the most recent list of locations acquiring certifications for green buildings from the the Leadership in Environmental Design and Energy program.

Washington, D.C. boasted almost thirty seven square feet of certified LEED space per resident last year. Runners up included the states of Virginia and Colorado. Other locations that were commended for their efforts in green building certifications included Massachusetts, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Washington state, California, Texas, and Nevada.

While Washington, D.C., topped the list in terms of certified LEED space per capita, the state of California has the largest amount of overall certified square footage for the prior year at over fifty four million.

Representatives from the District of Columbia Department of the Environment attribute the success to initiatives and increased awareness, in both the private and public sectors, to the importance of achieving green building certification.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If you’re in the construction or remodeling business, it pays to be knowledgeable about green building certification. As more and more residential and commercial property owners seeks this designation, you’ll be able to make more green while helping clients “go green”.

C&D Recycling in Alaska

Doing business in the construction and demolition waste removal and recycling recovery in the northernmost state of Alaska requires a very different way of thinking and operating than in the lower forty eight states.

While Alaska may be a geographically large area, it’s also a very small business market with many populations and municipalities separated by hundreds of miles. With the winter season lasting considerably longer, and creating almost impassable travel conditions, transportation of waste materials and recyclables needs to be structured differently. Also, processing operations are often hundreds of miles away.

Due to the state’s limited system of major highways, some businesses transport C&D materials by plane to be processed in Anchorage and other businesses choose to utilize  barges when the waters aren’t frozen over. This results in stockpiling waste materials for weeks or months at a time as well as incurring transportation costs that can be as high as one dollar per pound.

However, due to greater awareness, more businesses are now factoring in the cost of recovery and recycling materials instead of choose to simply dump them in on the open tundra – a practice that was commonplace for many decades.

It is expected that consumer demand for Green building certification on new residential and commercial construction, which requires contractors to recycle a particular percentage of their waste materials and debris, to drive the change in recycling and reuse behavior.


Ohio State Scores With Zero Waste

Ohio State University has more than successful athletic teams to cheer about these days. The University recently announced that its one hundred thousand seat sports stadium has been designated a zero-waste facility.

The success is credited to strong working partnership between various departments across the university – a real team effort – to ensure that all administrators, staff, students, and visitors know how to play by the rules when it comes to recycling and waste diversion.  At a recent game against rival, Purdue University, the attendance was over one hundred and five thousand people with an achieved landfill diversion rate of close to ninety five percent. Not content with a not-quite-perfect record, Ohio performed even better a few weeks later during a match-up against the University of Illinois – with a similar attendance rate, the recycling amount moved up to a little over ninety eight percent! The success is credit to improving the diversion for food waste – a very common trash bin item at sporting events.

While zero-waste state is often defined as achieving a ninety percent diversion rate, Ohio State realized that it could continue to cost costs if it surpassed that number. Most other zero-waste sports stadiums are considerably smaller that Ohio State’s but they served as a model to work off of as the University designed a plan that would work for them.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Setting up a recycling system at your business might seem like a daunting task – but when you take it one step at a time, you’ll see your diversion rate improve and your costs drop!


Towns Save Big With Pay-To-Throw

In three years, the city of Gloucester, Massachusetts has saved close to one million dollars by moving to a “pay as you throw” (PAYT) waste and recycling system for all residents. The three year period prior to the switch found the city paying out close to two million dollars for collection, sorting, and processing. City officials and residents are extremely pleased with the change and the cost savings.

In addition to the benefit of saving a million dollars from the city’s operating budget, the change to PAYT has had the added environmental benefit of having a twenty eight percent decrease in the amount of waste heading to regional landfills. Before launching the program, the city collected more than nine thousand tons of garbage. In 2009 that number dropped to seventy five hundred and in 2010 dropped even more to seven thousand tons.

The PAYT program, which charges residents for trash removal based on the amount of garbage they produce, has encouraged everyone to economize through increased levels of recycling and separation of waste materials.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: While some people will respond to the importance of preserving the environment, most people will respond to measures that involve their checkbook or wallet! If you’re looking to save money by reducing waste disposal fees, pass the savings along as a benefit to increased recycling and you’ll see greater participation!