This is Matt Messer, Save That Stuff’s Account Manager. I’m a research junkie and I’ve had a question that’s been bothering me. My research and my findings are something I feel you may be interested in.
If compost can break down on its own, why shouldn’t we just send it to a landfill via our trash?
A friend of mine, working for Harvest Power, recently answered this question.
First off, let’s make sure we know the key terms. Aerobic digestion involves a breakdown in the presence of oxygen and anaerobic digestion simply means without oxygen.
When our organic waste goes into landfills (via our trash bins), it sits under piles of trash indefinitely. This effectively creates a vacuum and the organic waste breaks down without oxygen. When food breaks down like this (anaerobically) , it creates methane, a greenhouse gas that is 23x more environmentally damaging than CO2!
Big picture fact: America throws away more than 30 million tons of food waste per year. That food waste is responsible for 34% of ALL methane emissions in the US.
When your organic waste is hauled by Save That Stuff to one of our partner farms like Brick Ends Farm in Hamilton, it is broken down aerobically into compost. This way, the food does not rot and methane is not released.
In a future blog post, I’ll delve into the second reason composting makes you or your business an environmental superstar. As always, this information is new to me and I value your comments. Please let me know if I’ve missed something or misstated and I’ll make the appropriate corrections!
Matt Messer, Account Manager
LEED Green Associate
Happy New Years to all of Save That Stuff's friends! We've had a fantastic end of the year and below is a project that highlights our commitment to "One Goal, Zero Waste".
Research equipment gets a second life:
Here at Save That Stuff, we’ve gotten really good at recycling and we’re trying to extend that expertise into Reuse. In December, we helped Momenta Pharmaceuticals give some of their old research supplies a second life. Save That Stuff partnered with Seeding Labs to identify reusable materials coming from a Momenta cleanout. Capitolizing on their unique network of researchers in developing countries, Seeding Labs will distribute the materials all over the world.
Seeding Labs is a group of social entrepreneurs helping talented scientists in the developing world conduct life-changing research with equipment, training and network building.
As part of Save That Stuff's community involvement, we are always finding new ways to spread awareness about recycling and community activism. This year one of our newest staff members, Matt Messer, coordinated an education and volunteering day at our warehouse.
The students were part of BU's FYSOP (First Year Student Outreach Program). FYSOP offers incoming Boston University students a unique opportunity to get settled in their new community by performing a week of service before classes begin. Volunteers participate in a program orientation, a full day of education, and three full days of direct service in one of eleven issue areas.
The goal of FYSOP is to orient freshman and transfer students to Boston University, the Boston area, and surrounding community, while educating about and encouraging volunteers to engage in community service.
As a graduate of FYSOP myself, it was a surreal experience to have FYSOPers at the the company I'm working for- as opposed to being on the other side volunteering.
To see the full photo album, head over to our Facebook page.
A clip from an article in this months BioCycle*:
"The Sunchips 100 perfent compostable bag made with Ingeo biopolymer was a packaging achievement. The bag was designed to fully compost in about 14 weeks in a hot, active composting pile. What from the outside appeared as a simple snack bag, was a complex multilayered structure that required barrier properties to keep moisture and oxygen out... the Sunchips bag ran up against a compsumer issue- noise caused by the stiff material in a multilayer design."
I was unaware of this, but Greenbiz points out that SunChip has redesigned the bags and is still using the compostable wrap on its Original chips. So while the noisyness is gone, the compostablility is still there! Keep an eye out for Targets new in-house chip line "Archer Farms," which uses the latest bioplastic technology to maximize freshness and supress noise.
Compostable products are starting to become more prominent in the market, and as a full service, zero waste recycling company we are looking forward to seeing more compostable packaging options!
Do you still think the bags are too noise? Let us know by replying to this post.
*Biocycle, August 2012, "Bioplastics Industry Report."
An important item for companies in Boston to keep an eye on this year is the Organics Waste Ban. It is moving foward through the draft phases now. Targeting large businesses and institutions that generate more than 1 ton of organic waste per week, it is estimated that 3,000 businesses will be required to add composting to their waste management programs. As one of the largest composting and waste management companies in Boston, Save that Stuff will be monitering this legislation closely.
The program will be enforced by MassDEP and the organic waste ban will not include: Yard waste, biodegratable paper, recycling and non-organic trash.
For steps on how to reduce your organic food waste, visit EPA Food Waste Reduction or consider contacting Save That Stuff to discuss the right waste management solution for you.
Here's an excerp from BU's sustainability coverage called "BU Goes Green." Save That Stuff recycling and compost have helped put BU on the cutting edge of dining hall sustainability. This year they were recognized by the Green Restaurant Association as the Greenest Food Court in the Country!