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Article filed under Waste to Wealth, Zero Waste & Economic Development

Recycling Record Setters Program Profiles: Specific Waste Streams

| Written by ILSR Admin | No Comments | Updated on Nov 14, 1998 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at



In 1990 the state began giving grants to clean up tire piles and spur development of markets for used tires. Since then, 14 million tires have been cleaned up from 320 sites. Currently, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency estimates that 98% of all scrap tires generated in Minnesota are handled through the state’s management and recycling system. Seventy-five percent of these are used as tire-derived fuel. The remainder are processed into crumb rubber, used as fill material in road and building projects, or used in livestock and agricultural applications.


DEL MAR FAIRGROUNDS, DEL MAR, CALIFORNIA Contact: Nancy Strauss, Concessions Coordinator Del Mar Fairgrounds 22nd District Agricultural Association Concessions Department P.O. Box 2668 Del Mar, CA 92014(619) 792-4218 fax (619) 792-4236

In 1996 Del Mar Fairgrounds, a 375-acre site, diverted 38 tons, or approximately 75% of its food discards from landfill. The fairgrounds achieved this through a comprehensive waste reduction program which includes off-site composting of food discards from its annual 20-day fair (1996 attendance 1,018,659), vermicomposting of food discards from its Satellite Wagering Facility, and sending used cooking oil to a rendering company. Vendors at the fair are contractually required to participate in the waste reduction program. In 1996, Del Mar Fairgrounds realized a net savings of $17-$23 per ton composted.

FLETCHER ALLEN HEALTH CARE Contact: Hollie Shaner Waste Specialist, Office of Community Health Improvement c/o Fletcher Allen Health Care Community Health Improvement UHC Campus Arnold 4410 Burlington, VT 05401(802) 660-2825

As part of a total waste reduction program, the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont (MCHV) Campus of Fletcher Allen Health Care delivers approximately 90% of its food preparation scraps and steam table leftovers, 90 tons in 1997, to an off-site composting facility. Hospital kitchen staff at the 585-bed facility prepare 4,000 meals a day for cafeteria patrons and patients. The hospital housekeeping staff’s waste team collects food discards Monday through Friday and takes them to a farm where they are windrow composted. In turn, the hospital receives organic produce at wholesale prices from the farm. A rendering company picks up used kitchen grease. Fletcher Allen also donates edible fruit and vegetables to a local food bank. As one of 6,000 hospitals in the United States, which in total produce one to two percent of the country’s solid waste, Fletcher Allen Health Care staff believe composting to be part of the hospital’s mission to provide for the health of the community.

FROST VALLEY YMCA, CLARYVILLE, NEW YORK Contact: John Haskin Executive Director for Programs 2000 Frost Valley Road Claryville, NY 12725(914) 985-2291 fax (914) 985-0056

In the late 1980s, as waste disposal costs steadily rose, Frost Valley sought alternatives to landfilling its waste. When a waste assessment found food to be the greatest contributor to the waste stream, Frost Valley decided to implement a composting program. This 6,000-acre residential educational and recreational facility in the Catskill Mountains now composts 100% of the food discards from its kitchen and dining room. From 1990, when Frost Valley began its comprehensive waste reduction program, to 1997, the facility reduced its total solid waste by 53% (by weight). Through food recovery, Frost Valley now realizes a net savings of $5,200 annually and provides a unique educational opportunity to thousands of visitors per year.

GREEN WORKPLACE PROGRAM ONTARIO, CANADA Contact: David Sparling Manager, The Green Workplace Program Ontario Realty Corporation 777 Bay Street, 15th floor Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E5, Canada(416) 585-7541 fax (416) 585-6681

In 1991, the Government of Ontario created the Green Workplace Program (GWP) to facilitate waste reduction, resource conservation, and environmentally responsible purchasing in provincial facilities. An integral part of the GWP’s waste reduction programs, composting diverted approximately 1,500 metric tons (1,650 U.S. tons) of food discards from landfills in FY96. Seventy percent of pre- and post-consumer food discards from four correctional facilities and three government office buildings and restaurants are composted. Staff and clients from a local detention center collect food discards and bring them to an in-vessel composter at the Ontario Science Center. Toronto Parks Department uses finished compost instead of buying fertilizer.

LARRY’s MARKETS Contact: Brant Rogers, Director Environmental Affairs, Planning, and Information Services Larry’s Markets-Admin. Office 699 120th Avenue, N.E. Bellevue, WA 9800(206) 453-5031, ext. 403

In 1991, as part of an overall plan to run environmentally responsible stores, Larry’s Markets instituted a composting program. In 1996, Larry’s Markets five stores recovered 90% of their food discards, sending 750 tons of food, floral, and waxed cardboard to compost. The stores also sent 120 tons of meat products to rendering. The chain realizes a net savings of $40-$55 per ton composted (about $41,000 per year). Stores collect pre-consumer scraps from the in-store cafes and juice bars, wilted and spoiled produce, old flowers and greens from the floral department, and corrugated cardboard for composting. A local hauler picks up these materials from store loading docks and delivers them to a topsoil company for composting. Larry’s Markets uses topsoil from this company in its landscaping.

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE, VERMONT Contact: Jennifer Hazen Environmental Coordinator Service Building Middlebury College Middlebury, VT 05753(802) 443-5043 fax (802) 443-5753

Middlebury College (student population 2,000) has been composting since 1993. In 1996, it composted approximately 288 tons, an estimated 75% of the college’s total food discards, from its five dining halls and three snack bars. The college composts both pre- and post-consumer food discards as well as waxed cardboard in on-site aerated static piles. Middlebury also composts food discards from special events. In 1996, composting cost the college $42 per ton, including trucking, labor, fuel, and supplies. Recycling other materials cost $145 per ton; trash, $137. As a result of its high food recovery rate, Middlebury realized a net savings of $27,000 in 1996.

NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, NEW YORK Contact: Jim Marion Resource Management Director NY State Department of Correctional Services Eastern Correctional Facility 601 Berne Rd. Napanoch, NY 12458(914) 647-1653

In FY97, inmates and staff at 47 correctional facilities in the New York Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) composted 6,200 tons, representing 90% of their food discards. They collect dining room leftovers and kitchen preparation scraps for windrow composting. Thirty facilities have on-site windrows; inmates at 17 facilities haul their discards to one of these thirty sites. Three facilities offer inmates technical training in composting. DOCS uses finished compost in inmate horticulture programs and prison landscaping. DOCS provides neighboring communities with free compost as a community service. The composting program allows DOCS to save an average of $91 per ton on disposal costs. In FY97, the 47 facilities realized a net savings of $564,200 in avoided disposal costs.

SAN FRANCISCO PRODUCE RECYCLING PROGRAM, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA Contact: Jack Macy Organics Recycling Coodinator Solid Waste Management Program 1145 Market Street, suite 410 San Francisco, CA 94121(415) 554-3423

From June 1996 through August 1997, the San Francisco Produce Recycling Program donated and composted 1,500 tons of food. As of fall 1997, over forty businesses participated in this program, a collaborative effort among government agencies and private companies in and around San Francisco. The program recovers both edible and non-edible produce discards from the San Francisco Produce Terminal and from area supermarkets. The San Francisco Food Bank collects an average of 60 tons of food per month and distributes the edible food, over 37 tons per month, to member service agencies. A local farmer takes the remaining non-edible produce, which he uses as animal feed or sells to other farmers. Since August 1996, non-edible produce that the Food Bank does not collect has been windrow composted at a nearby composting facility.

SHOP RITE SUPERMARKETS, NEW JERSEY Contact: Tim Vogel, Manager Environmental Affairs Wakefern Foods Corp/Shop Rite Supermarkets 33 Northfield Avenue Edison, NJ 08818(908) 906-5083

Since 1995, 25 of the New Jersey Shop Rite Supermarkets have composted 80%, or 3,000 tons per year, of their organics discards. The stores compost floral and produce trimmings and spoils, out-of-date bakery items, old seafood, soiled paper products, food spills, and out-of-date dairy and deli products. Typically, staff in each department collect compostables in waxed corrugated cardboard boxes and put the whole box in an on-site compactor. A hauling company takes the compacted organics to a composting site where they are ground with yard trimmings and windrow composted. The nutrient-rich finished compost is screened to remove contaminants and sold to farmers, golf courses, and people involved in land reclamation. Through diversion, each store avoids $15,000-$40,000 in disposal costs per year, depending on store size and location.

UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS Contact: Cheryl Chaves Compost Project Coordinator University of Massachusetts Intermediate Processing Facility Tilson Farm Road Amherst, MA 01003(413) 545-6717 fax (4113) 545-4737

From September 1996 through August 1997, the University of Massachusetts in Amherst diverted 250 tons, an estimated 50%, of its food discards to its in-vessel composter, avoiding $55 per ton in tipping fees. Approximately 10,000 students on the university meal plan eat in four dining halls, which prepare an average daily total of 19,200 meals. University kitchen staff collect pre-consumer food discards from all four campus dining halls and four smaller campus eateries, as well as post-consumer discards from two of the dining halls. Discards are picked up every Monday through Friday and added, along with used animal bedding from the campus horse farm, to the in-vessel unit. The university plans to use finished compost in its landscaping projects.

WYNDHAM FRANKLIN PLAZA HOTEL Contact: David Ebner Director, Housekeeping Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel 17 & Race Streets Philadelphia, PA 19103(215) 448-2000 fax (215) 448-2730

Waste disposal costs at the Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel have decreased by 30% since it began collecting organics for animal feed. The hotel began this program in response to a 1995 city mandate to reduce waste. Cooks collect food preparation scraps and all other “wet” garbage except grease and coffee grounds in 30-gallon bins located next to the food prep areas. When full, the bins are brought to the loading dock where a pig farmer picks them up every other day. The hotel also donates leftover prepared meals to Philabundance, a food bank, which distributes food to area homeless shelters.

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