Maryland University Wants Zero Waste

The University of Maryland athletics department has recently joined the Big Ten and as a result more people have been attending sporting events. However, this boost in exposure for attending sporting events has also resulted in an increase in waste generation.

University leaders are now launching a “Drive to Zero Waste” strategic plan, an initiative that involves Athletics, Dining Services, and Facilities Management. The plan is to divert ninety percent of generated solid waste from landfill disposal to food waste composting and better recycling options. The new program will be launched at the University’s Byrd Stadium.

In addition to educating attendees of the sporting events about the importance of waste recycling and composting, new waste-sorting stations will be placed throughout the athletic facilities. The stations are expected to reduce the amount of waste heading for the trash. While much of the University campus is already engaged in recycling of paper, plastic, and cans, collecting food scraps and organic waste for composting is new. Time and resources have been built into the zero waste plan to allow for people to fully understand the importance of composting and learn how to change their habits. Some changes, like removing all plastic condiment packets and replacing them with condiment dispensers will create an immediate reduction in trash with minimal disruption.

Attendance at sporting events is up twenty five percent this year, and included in those numbers are staff members who will be stationed around the new recycling and composting bins to help explain to fans how their waste materials should be properly disposed of.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Habits aren’t always easy to change, and they certainly don’t happen overnight! If you’re looking to reduce your waste disposal costs and increase your waste recycling rates, it’s important that you take the time to educate your employees and customers about where their waste materials belong. If you put in the time and effort in training, you’ll be rewarded by reducing the amount of trash you send to the landfill each week.


Food Waste Composting For Apartments

In Los Angeles, California, Global Green USA, a not-for-profit in the environmental sector, and Athens Services, a waste and recycling services company, have formed a partnership to launch a food scrap recovery pilot program to multi-family apartment buildings.

The City of Los Angeles currently has a municipal goal of seventy percent waste reduction by the year 2020. Diverting unwanted and spoiled food scraps from landfills and using them for composting and energy will save the city’s water and energy. Property managers are embracing the food waste to compost plan as a way to control waste costs and involve tenants in a positive action that can improve the overall quality of life for all living in the City.

Athens Services, which has its own composting facility, will transport all organic waste such as vegetables, meat, dairy, and compostable food-soiled paper from participating apartment buildings. Global Green USA has supplied food composting bins and bags to the apartment buildings as well as educational materials. Both organizations will analyze performance data from the pilot program to improve participation and collection efficiency and maximum cost savings.

Based on data from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ninety five percent of waste food scraps are disposed of in landfills annually. This amount of waste results in greenhouse gas emissions equal to the output of seven power plants as well as generating hundreds of thousands of dollars of waste disposal and dumping fees.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If food scraps and organic waste make up a substantial part of your daily, weekly, or monthly waste disposal, it’s time to investigate food composting or food to energy options. Whether it’s collaborating with a non-profit, a private waste hauler, or a city government, developing a solution to reduce your waste may help you to increase your profits!

Food Producer Hormel Reduces Solid Waste

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!

Washington University Awarded Honors For Food Recovery Porgram

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!

Food Waste Recycling Opportunities Increase In Michigan

Residents and some businesses in Ann Arbor, Michigan are now experiencing increased opportunities to recycle and compost food waste and scraps along with other organic waste materials such as grass, leaves, and yard trimmings.

In 2012 when city officials reviewed the municipality’s waste management strategic plan, they realized close to fifty percent of all the city’s garbage was food waste. As a result of this analysis, officials suggested that the city broaden its waste and recycling collection program to include year-round composting for food scraps and table waste. The decision to make this change, along with contracting composting services to a private company, resulted in an immediate savings of four hundred thousand dollars to the city.

Ann Arbor has offered organic yard waste recycling since 2006, as well as seasonal composting services to some neighborhoods, but the step to allow all residents to include unwanted, uneaten, and expired food products into the recycling bin is a substantial one. The new food waste composting program is currently only available to residences, but includes the entire city. While the city is offering free counter-sized containers for composting, individuals can purchase larger carts for $25.

The city is expecting to process over fifteen thousand tons of food waste within the first full year of service. To date, of Ann Arbor’s twenty four thousand eligible residents, thirteen thousand have claimed their free city-provided composting bin.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your city or town is trying to become “greener” and improve recycling while decreasing landfill expenses, try adding food waste or a yard waste collection program. Whether it’s for making compost, landscaping materials, animal feed, or organic-to-energy, there’s value to be found in what many consider to be garbage!

Innovative Recycling Program Launches In Louisville

Kentucky’s largest city, Louisville, is getting ready to launch an innovative new “wet-dry” waste recycling test program for commercial residents in its central business district. The program’s developers expect that it could help to recycle as much as ninety percent of the waste materials that are generated in the area.

The program is expected to begin in Spring of 2014 for both residential owners and tenants as well as businesses operating in the district. Restaurants and other food-producing businesses will be provided with the two types of recycling carts – orange and brown. For these businesses, collection will take place between two and six times per week. Participants will be asked to separate liquids, food scraps and organic matter, dirty tissues and paper towels into a distinct brown recycling bin classified as “wet waste.” All “dry waste” which would be comprised of newspapers, cardboard, plastics, metals, and glass will be separated into one orange colored recycling bin.

Other businesses will use only the orange dry waste container and are encouraged to collect food waste and organic matter in black garbage bags for collection.

All collected organic waste, from both bins and bags, will be transported to a composting facility.

Currently, the Louisville area only diverts eleven percent of its municipal solid waste collected from the business district. City officials are hoping their innovative new program will increase those numbers before the end of the year.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: What is your business, office, or town trying to do to reduce the amount of garbage that needs to be sent to landfills? If you’re looking to save money on disposal costs, increasing recycling and re-use of materials is the place to start!

Grocer Wins EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge Award

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Sustainable Materials Management Program recently awarded the Shop-Rite grocery store chain as a winner in the nation-wide Food Recovery Challenge that is sponsored by the EPA. Based on data collected throughout 2012, the Shop-Rite store in the Roxborough neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania attained the highest increase in food waste diversion and recycling compared to data collected for the previous year.

Store management says the improvement was a result of the commitment to donating food deemed edible and composting all food that was not. As a result of the store’s changes in food disposal policies, the diverted food waste was able to provide nutritious meals to community members in need and be used in the production of nutrient-rich compost for use by regional farmers and landscapers.

Nationally in 2011, more than thirty six million tons of food waste was generated with close to ninety six percent being placed into landfills and incinerators. However, close to twenty percent of all Americans are in need of some form of food assistance for themselves or their families. Shop-Rite’s participation in the Food Recovery Challenge not only helped to save the store money in waste disposal fees but also helped residents of the local community in need of a helping hand.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Does your business or employer generate significant amounts of food and organic waste on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis? Not only can you cut costs and reduce your contributions to landfills by donating un-sellable but viable food to local charities, but it can also gain you some good press. Helping others can help your business in more ways than one!

Amusement Parks Recycle Food Waste

Amusements parks and recreation area provides hours of summer fun with family and friends but they also are responsible for generating tons of material wastes, in particular food scraps and organic waste such as grass clippings, leaves, and branches, every year. Keeping an amusement park clean and operating efficiently is no simple task! Educating employees on how to handle and separate materials that can be recycled such as plastic beverage bottles and paper can be a confusing and challenging endeavor.

One such recreational area in Bristol, Connecticut, the Lake Compounce amusement park, has recently created a new three-year organic waste agreement with their local waste hauler, Covanta. Covanta will offer park employees training on how to correctly and effectively handle organics separation which will then in turn be used to create energy from the waste.

The Lake Compounce recreational facility holds the special distinction of being the oldest amusement park in North America operating continuously. Park administrators are looking forward to implementing other sustainable waste solutions as a way to keep the facility clean for visitors and help to reduce the costs associated with disposing of trash in landfills.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Whether your business has been around for generations or just opened its doors a few months ago, it’s never too late or too soon to think about ways to reduce your waste disposal fees. Waste recycling, materials re-use, organic waste composting, and waste to energy solutions are becoming more affordable and available with every passing year. When was the last time your business did a waste audit? If it’s been more than a year, you might want to look and see what employees are putting in the dumpster – you might be able to turn that garbage into gold!

Grocery Chain Goes From Waste To Energy

The state of Massachusetts has recently provided the necessary licensing approvals to the Stop & Shop Supermarket grocery store chain so that it may move ahead with its proposed plan to convert excess food scraps and waste into energy.

The Department of Environmental Protection for Massachusetts released the required permits for the supermarket to start construction on a new Product Recovery Operation to be housed at the company’s primary distribution center located in the Cape Cod community of Freetown. The new operations plant will rely on anaerobic digestion methods to re-use unsold food as a source for electricity and heat for the building. In addition, a fertilizer byproduct will also be generated as an outcome of the process.

It is anticipated that the new operation facility will process close to one hundred tons per day of unsold food waste and be able to generate slightly over one megawatt of energy. This amount would satisfy forty percent of the distribution building’s electrical needs – resulting in a significant cost savings.

The facility will utilize all unsold food items from Stop & Shop grocery stores, including the deli, produce, bakery, and items that are past expiration or otherwise unfit or unsuitable for human consumption. The New England supermarket chain has an already established food to composting and food to animal feed program and this newest endeavor is seen as a way to continue to lower energy costs while converting waste materials into usable byproducts and electricity.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: You company’s food scraps and organic waste have many useful applications beyond your dumpster and the landfill! If you’re paying to dispose of large quantities of food waste it’s time to look into alternatives. You’ll be able to save green and go green at the same time!


Colleges, Elder Care Facility Achieve EPA Awards For Recycling

In November of 2013, as part of America Recycles Day, two schools in Massachusetts and an elder care center in Connecticut were honored by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for their efforts in keeping waste food out of landfills and distributing waste fit for human consumption it to local agencies that work to feed the economically disadvantaged and hungry. Each year, over thirty million tons of food waste is generated in the United States and only three percent of that total waste is composted or re-used.

The award winning facilities were the University of Massachusetts (Amherst campus), Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the Orchards in Southington, Connecticut, an assisted care facility.

The Food Recovery Challenge, sponsored by the EPA, encourages organizations and businesses to reduce the amount of food they purchase and dispose of and to divert extra or waste food to feed to non-profit food banks or composting and animal feed initiatives. In the New England region, more than fifty private businesses, non-profits groups, schools, hospitals, and government agencies participates in the challenge during 2013.

The University of Massachusetts used several strategies for reducing food waste including tray-less dining, compostable cutlery, and a student-run composting business. The University is currently constructing an anaerobic digestion facility for on-site processing and will be used by other communities in addition to the University to produce green energy. Facilities  for anaerobic digestion capture the gas created by composting food and convert it into electricity.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business is paying money every month to send waste food and food scraps to a landfill, you may be missing out on an opportunity to reduce your waste disposal expenditures, protect your region’s environment, and help help your less fortunate members in your community.