Composting and Recycling: The Twin Pillars of Zero Waste
In the journey towards a sustainable future, composting and recycling play a pivotal role. They not only help in waste reduction but also contribute to the creation of valuable resources. This blog post delves into the importance of composting and recycling, and how they contribute to the zero waste movement.
Composting: Turning Waste into Wealth
Composting is a natural process that turns organic material like food scraps and yard trimmings into a nutrient-rich soil conditioner. It plays a crucial role in reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and incinerators.
Creating and implementing a system for composting food scraps and/or soiled paper on-site is a great way to manage organic waste. It not only ensures that food scraps are properly composted but also contributes to the creation of valuable, nutrient-rich soil.
For facilities that cannot compost on-site, off-site composting is a viable option. This involves diverting organic matter away from landfill and incineration and towards the creation of nutrient-rich soil at a different location.
Composting Yard Trimmings
Another important aspect of composting is the management of yard trimmings. Creating and implementing a system for collecting and composting, digesting, or mulching all green waste generated through landscaping activities can significantly reduce waste.
Recycling: Giving New Life to Waste
Recycling involves converting waste materials into reusable materials and products. It is a key element of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle” waste hierarchy.
Determining End Markets for Recycled Commodities
Understanding the entire lifecycle of materials generated at a facility is crucial for effective recycling. This involves acquiring written documentation from every service provider on where recyclable commodities from the facility are sent for final processing.
For instance, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. received the name of the final processor and the name of the end market for each of their material types. They created spreadsheets to track this information, including the country and state of each processor and whether they were domestic or overseas.
The Power of Separation
To ensure organic materials are properly separated from the waste stream, it’s important to create a process for the collection of source-separated compostable. This should take place at front and back of house food service operations, break areas, and all other locations where organics are generated.
Composting and recycling are more than just waste management strategies. They are a testament to our ability to turn waste into resources, to give new life to what was once considered useless. By embracing these practices, we can make significant strides towards a sustainable and waste-free future.