Commercial Food Waste Disposal Bans

Massachusetts will be the latest state to put in place a statewide ban on disposing of commercial food waste. The new regulation is expected to begin on October 1 of 2014.

The goal of the new regulation is designed to keep food waste from landfills and instead use it for energy-generating purposes and for creating composting. The Department of Environmental Protection for the state of Massachusetts will be in charge of enforcement for the ban.

The new rules will require any business that disposes a minimum of one ton of organic materials, including food scraps, each week to re-purpose or donate any usable food in that amount being disposed of. All remaining food waste that is not fit for human consumption will be sent for anaerobic digestion to be used for conversion to energy, or for use in composting and animal-feeding facilities.

State officials believe the new food waste disposal ban is necessary for attaining the waste disposal reduction plans the state has enacted. Massachusetts has established a goal to reduce waste by thirty  percent in 2020 and by eighty percent by 2050.

Food waste materials from household and small businesses are currently exempt from the rule. It is expected that the ban will affect close to two thousand large businesses such as grocery store chains, universities, schools, hotels, convention facilities, hospitals, and large restaurants.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business is producing large amounts of waste food and organic matter, it will pay to start investigating cost-cutting re-use and recycling strategies now. Better to be ahead of the state mandates now than to be struggling to comply later on. The early bird who “goes green” now might also save the most “green” in the long run!


Denver Composting Continues Expansion

The city of Denver, Colorado has once again expanded its residential food scraps and organic waste composting program.

Denver Composts reported that last year the program more than doubled the residents served by its program through an increase of over two thousand five hundred homes in the city. Denver Composts is a collaboration between the city’s Public Works Department and the Office of Environmental Health.

Currently, the composting program charges a subscription fee for its service to residents living in the neighborhoods where pick-ups are scheduled. The cost is slightly less than thirty dollars for three months of service or a little over one hundred dollars for the entire year. The cost of the composting does not appear to be a deterrent to participation in those areas where the service is offered.

Residents in the target areas who enroll in Denver Composts are provided with a a two-gallon kitchen pail and a large green compost bin. Denver Recycles has weekly picks up for the composting materials which collects food, yard debris, and non-recyclable paper for composting.The program began five years ago with a little over two thousand participating homes and has been carefully monitored to ensure financial stability and sustainability.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Composting food waste and organic material is becoming a big issue for cities, towns, businesses, and homes. Even if your municipality doesn’t currently offer curbside composting, with a little effort you may be able to find a outside business that is interested in converting your food waste into compost or bio-fuel. You might just be able to save some “green” while going green with your waste materials!

California City Leads In Food Waste Diversion

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!

New NYC Ban Includes Food Waste Diversion

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!

Food Waste Recycling Arrives In New Mexico

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!

Sports Stadium Turns Food Into Energy

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!

California Campus Honored For Zero Waste

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently honored the Irvine campus of the University of California for achieving zero waste status and their enhancement s with food recovery. The college’s waste management program diverts over eighty three percent percent of generated waste by re-using, recycling, and composting. The campus has also increased the diversion of food waste from ninety tons to five hundred tons. Campus administrators cite involvement in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge as a major asset in attaining their waste and recycling goals.

The attainment of these recycling goals was a collaborative effort between the school’s Facilities Management department, Orange County Waste Management and Aramark Dining Services, which is the food service provider for the campus. Food waste was specially collected in campus dining halls and cafeterias and then transported to Waste Managements organics recycling facility where it is used for a variety of environmentally-friendly applications including the generation of green energy.

Throughout the United States, over thirty five million tons of food waste is sent to landfills every year. As this organic waste decomposes, it becomes a source of the potent greenhouse gas methane. Serious attention has recently turned to methane emissions reduction as a way to calm global warming. Luckily, reducing the amount of food scraps and organic waste material disposed of through traditional methods by an increased effort to donate edible food, compost, and use organic matter for energy generation is helping businesses to cut back both their disposal costs and their carbon footprint.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: If your business generates a significant amount of food scraps, food waste, and organic matter each month, it may be worth your time to investigate recycling and reuse options. Can you donate food to a local shelter or food pantry? Are there farms nearby that would like scraps for animal feed or composting? Does your state or county offer any programs to help convert food to energy? Participating in any of these may help to reduce your disposal costs and give your business some good publicity!

California University Receives Award from EPA

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded the University of California, Irvine special honors for its accomplishment of achieving zero waste status through its food recovery programs. The University’s waste recycling program diverts eighty three percent of total waste materials by reusing, recycling, and food composting. The university now diverts five hundred tons of food and organic matter waste. University officials credit the school’s involvement in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge program as a major factor in obtaining the tools and resources it needed to make significant changes to its waste management program.

The improvement in food waste recycling came about through a collaborative effort between the University’s Facilities Management group, Orange County Waste Management, and Aramark Campus Dining Services who oversees all food and meal production for the school.

The EPA estimates that thirty five million tons of food is wasted every year and is the largest percentage of waste material that is sent to landfills. When unwanted and unusable food is sent to a landfill, the organic matter decomposes and contributes to the production of methane, a greenhouse gas. The Food Recovery Challenge encourages large producers of food waste – such as schools, and businesses and organization with on-site food production facilities, to reduce their contribution to greenhouse gasses – and save money on their regular trash disposal fees – by increasing efforts to prevents food waste by utilizing donation, composting, and anaerobic digestion programs.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Food is a terrible thing to waste, and putting your business’ food waste in the trash is wasting your money! If food and organic waste is a significant part of your weekly disposal, it’s time to start looking into “green” friendly alternatives.

Boston Tests Food Waste Composting Program

The city of Boston, Massachusetts has started a pilot program residents to collect food scraps and organic waste for use as compost.

The organic waste material is being collected for free at farmers markets throughout the city. The collection include items such as food scraps, tea bags and coffee grounds and filters, fruits and vegetables, egg and nut shells, and grains such as rice, bread and cereal, and pasta. In addition, house plants are also be accepted. The collected food and vegetation items are then used to create compost for both commercial and individual use.

The collection program will end in late October when the farmers markets cease operation, but the pilot will allow city administrators to test how residential composting can be incorporated into the city’s overall waste reduction plans.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino credits the program to feedback provided during open community meetings about the “Greenovate” Boston initiative to inform and involve the public on environmental concerns. The mayor supports food composting and other organic waste re-use programs as a way to help the environment and improve the city’s bottom line expenses.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Some of the best ideas for reducing waste and saving money can come from your community members. If you’re looking to make changes in waste disposal practices in your business or town, be sure to get as many stakeholders involved as possible. You never know what idea might be the big winner!

Hockey Fans Embrace Food Recycling

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently announced that all thirty National Hockey League (NHL) professional teams across the United States and Canada are now collaborating with the “Rock and Wrap It Up” program to collect and provide leftover food to emergency homeless shelters and food pantries.  The Rock and Wrap It Up (RWU) program is part of the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge.

RWU started back in 1991 and is credited with recycling over one hundred million pounds of unwanted food and providing food to more than two hundred million people. The RWU program collects uneaten food and leftovers from hotels, concerts, sporting events, corporate meetings, school cafeterias, and political rallies, and distributes them to over forty thousand participating food pantries and shelters. RWU relies on local volunteers to collect and box leftover waste from the games – with the incentive of receiving a tour of the hosting team’s locker room and main office – and then deliver to the designated charities.

The EPA estimates that food waste is responsible for almost fifteen percent of all municipal solid waste and almost all of it is disposed of in landfills or incinerators. With fifteen percent of all US households being at risk for experiencing hunger, programs like RWU and the Food Recovery Challenge are looking for new and innovative ways to feed people instead of landfills.

WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Are you paying money every month to dispose of your company’s or building’s food waste? Take a good look at the food that being thrown into the garbage bin – is there perfectly good, uneaten food that could be donated to a food pantry? Are there scraps that could be used for animal feed? Could landscaping waste be composted? Going “green” with your organic waste can help you save “green” every month!