November 24, 2008 | General

Regional Roundup

BioCycle November 2008, Vol. 49, No. 11, p. 16

Seattle, Washington
Adobe Systems Inc.’s Seattle office began diverting food waste at the beginning of 2008, collecting preconsumer scraps from the main cafeteria. “Instead of rolling out the composting program full-scale, we first wanted to work out logistics on capturing kitchen scraps, working with the cafeteria, composter, food service provider, janitors, landlord, etc.,” says Bill Blau, Facilities Manager for Adobe’s office.
Food waste is sent to Cedar Grove Composting, which only accepts biodegradable plastic products that have gone through its rigorous tests. Adobe had to negotiate the use of new products with Sysco Corporation, its food service provider, to meet Cedar Grove’s requirements. “In June 2008, we rolled out composting to the entire site, with bins set up for all plates, utensils, cups and scraps,” says Blau. “We also have six central service kitchens in the two buildings, which have bins for compostables. The goal was to minimize our waste stream as much as possible, recycle and compost everything we could.”
Cascadia Consulting is helping Adobe calculate diversion rates, as well as work on other sustainability efforts. From April through September, the office diverted almost four tons of compostable waste.
Stowe, Vermont
Stowe Mountain Lodge, a luxury resort hotel, opened in June 2008 with a food waste composting program already in place. The hotel, which is part of the Stowe Mountain Resort, collects food waste in its kitchens, as well as the employee dining room. “The goal is to have a resort-wide program by next year, but right now we collect 15 to 16 tons of food scraps every month,” says André Blais, Landscape Manager of Stowe Mountain Lodge, who oversees the composting program. “Our hotel already has an 85 percent diversion rate, composting pre and postconsumer food scraps, biodegradable straws, paper towels, etc.”
Sanctuary Farms in Morrisville, Vermont, eight miles away from the hotel, collects food waste every other day. Blais explains that not only does Stowe Mountain Lodge plan to purchase compost from Sanctuary Farms next year, it will actually purchase compost made specifically from its own food waste, which has a designated composting area. Stowe Mountain Lodge is part of Destination Hotels & Resorts, a company that manages more than 30 properties nationwide, many of which have implemented other green practices. Blais notes that the successful composting program at Stowe may influence other properties to follow suit. For more information about Stowe Mountain Lodge, visit
Sacramento, California
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) released a Request for Offers (RFO) for 45,000 metric tons of carbon offsets to be delivered annually beginning in 2010. Proposals are due mid-December 2008. The offsets will be used to meet customer demand for SMUD’s voluntary carbon offset program, which started in 2007. The program has more than 700 members; projected demand for offsets is expected to exceed SMUD’s current supply in 2010. SMUD intends to fund emissions reduction projects using revenues collected from participants in the Carbon Offset program.
The RFO is soliciting offers for carbon offset projects preferably developed according to one of the California Climate Action Registry-approved protocols. These include dairy manure digesters, landfill gas, forestry and urban forestry, as well as protocols under development, such as natural habitat restoration, food and wood waste diversion from landfills and energy efficiency retrofits. If a sufficient number of offsets cannot be procured through projects meeting one of these protocols, SMUD will evaluate proposals that meet the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), and are third-party verified. Local projects will be given preference in the project scoring (as compared to projects outside the Sacramento region). Projects constructed outside the state of California will not be evaluated in this RFO. Interested parties can download the RFO documents from SMUD’s Electronic Bid Solicitation System (EBSS) website at Registration to the EBSS site is required to access the documents.
Boulder, Colorado
Boulder passed an ordinance mandating changes to its curbside trash services for residents living in single-family homes, introducing food waste collection and switching to single stream recycling. The changes started this fall, and are estimated to be complete by February 2009. With the new ordinance, trash haulers are required to provide a minimum of 32-gallon compost capacity with the base trash rate, collected every other week (alternating with recycling). Compostable items permitted include yard trimmings, compostable paper products, compostable products made from plant starches, and plant-based food waste. Haulers are also required to accept up to three extra compostable bags of leaves and three bundles of branches per stop at no additional cost.
Two residential curbside food waste collection pilot projects in 2005 and 2006 demonstrated that Boulder could successfully divert 55 to 69 percent of its waste, when combined with recycling. The city’s current waste diversion is 40 percent. The new ordinance for residential food waste collection and single stream recycling is part of the city’s effort to become a zero waste community.
Raleigh, North Carolina
The North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance (DPPEA) announced the opening of its 2009 grant round. DPPEA has committed $600,000 from the Solid Waste Management Trust Fund for this grant cycle. Applicants may request any amount of funding up to a maximum of $45,000. At least a 50 percent cash match to the requested amount must be provided.
Private sector and nonprofit organization applicants are eligible for the funding. DPPEA is seeking viable, well-planned and effective proposals. “We encourage you to consider applying for this grant if you are a recycling business in North Carolina seeking to start-up or expand your recovery efforts,” says Matt Todd, Market Development Specialist with the North Carolina Recycling Business Assistance Center. Eligible projects include food waste collection services. Proposals are due by February 2, 2009. The Request for Proposals (RFP) and more information can be accessed at
Williston, Vermont
Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD), based in Williston, began accepting residential food waste at all of its drop-off sites. As of November 1, CSWD Drop-Off Centers in Hinesburg, Milton and Richmond will take household compostables, joining the list of centers in Burlington, Essex, South Burlington and Williston. There is no charge for the service.
“Now that we’re accepting food scraps at all Drop-Off Centers, we hope more people will adopt composting food scraps as a regular habit,” says Nancy Plunkett, CSWD’s Waste Reduction Manager. Food waste from the drop-off sites is taken to Intervale Compost Products in Burlington for composting. CSWD advises residents that kitchen sink garbage disposals are not the ideal solution, and recommends composting.
CSWD offers free tools and information for residents: a small kitchen pail, a 4-gallon bucket for transporting collected scraps to Drop-Off Centers, and a handout with helpful tips and information. Visit for more information.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Metro Vancouver, interested in citywide food waste collection and composting, issued a Request For Information and Qualifications (RFIQ) on composting technologies. The purpose of the RFIQ was to find information on composting systems that are proven to work at full scale, and that are available in Canada.
Out of 23 responses to the RFIQ, Vancouver shortlisted 10: Canada Composting, Inc. – operates the BTA anaerobic digestion facility in Toronto; Cascades Renewable Carbon Corp. – planning a Natur-Tech composting system; Engineered Compost Systems (ECS) – installations of both containers/boxes and horizontal silos; Orgaworld – horizontal silos at Ontario facilities in London and Ottawa (under construction); Maple Reinders – Christiens technology at facilities in Hamilton and Peel Region; Net Zero Waste – Gore Cover System; Organic Waste Systems – Dranco anaerobic digestion technology; Yield Energy – anaerobic digestion; and R-Earth – International Composting Corp. rotary drum on Vancouver Island.
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Linden Hills, a neighborhood in Minneapolis, had a successful first month in its source separated organics (SSO) collection program. Seventeen tons of food waste were collected from September 15 to October 13, and sent to the Hennepin County Transfer Station. From there, SSO is taken to one of two resource recovery centers, where it is shredded and composted in covered, aerated windrows.
Organics collection in Linden Hills is weekly, set out in green bins with trash and recycling. It has been very popular with residents – 1,004 out of 2,526 eligible households, and several businesses, are already participating. “Compost Captains” have volunteered on every block to distribute information. In addition to the environmental benefits of organics diversion, there is also a financial incentive: Solid waste tipping fees are $38/ton, whereas the fee for organics is $15/ton. Susan Young, Director of Solid Waste and Recycling for the City of Minneapolis, estimates that up to 90 percent of the city’s solid waste stream (by weight) could be diverted as SSO, resulting in significant savings. The Department of Public works will gather information from the Linden Hills program on diversion percentages, cost effectiveness and household participation. This data will inform the city’s decisions on starting similar programs in other neighborhoods.
Columbus, Ohio
The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) and the U.S. Postal Service recently partnered on two pilot programs to promote mail recycling, identified under the title, “READ, RESPOND, and RECYCLE.” The first pilot works with central Ohio mailers to raise consumer awareness that mail is indeed recyclable, with reminders on outgoing pieces of mail, website messages and public service announcements. “We hope this project will serve as a strong reminder to residents and businesses that much of what we throw away is recyclable,” says Ronald Mills, Executive Director of SWACO. Mills notes that 43 percent of materials delivered to the SWACO Franklin County Landfill are paper and cardboard that could be recycled.
The second initiative is the installation of locked and secure recycling containers at 23 post office lobbies in Columbus, Dublin, Hilliard and Westerville. These post offices were chosen in the first of a three phase nationwide pilot program to increase the amount of mail recycled from the lobbies. The containers give customers who open mail and conduct business in the lobbies the option of recycling discarded paper instead of sending it to landfills.

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