One of our customers recently wrote a blog post about our compost service that was based on a mis-understanding. We were accused of sending the food scraps to landfill, from the Compost service we provide. We want to explain more about our Compost service, and encourage you to reach out to us directly with your questions.
We started our compost service in 2007. We began with a strong partnership with the City of Cambridge, to divert food scraps from Cambridge schools and businesses.
We handle 8,000 tons per year of material for Composting, over 35 tons per day – from over 250 universities, restaurants, breweries, and institutions in the Boston area. We haul their food scraps to local farms for composting.
We are the chosen partner with the City of Cambridge to collect the compost from the City’s first residential composting program. This includes 5-7 tons each week from over 1,400 homes in Cambridge. We take the food scraps collected from this program to Rocky Hill Farm in Saugus, where they compost the material.
In our industry, we find it increasingly challenging to find a processing outlet for the compostable dishware, utensils, and one-time use compostable cups.
BioCycle Magazine (a revered industry publication) has highlighted and written about the challenges with many of the compostable dishware products on the market. The consumer market for these items advanced far faster than the end-of-life processing outlets. Farm-based composters have a limited tolerance for the compostable dishware, preferring food scraps.
Front-Of-House and Back-Of-House
In 2011, we changed our services to offer a “Front-Of-House” composting option for the compostable dishware. WeCare Environmental is the only local commercial facility that would process the compostable dishware mixed with organics. They are what we call an Industrial Compost Facility.
This processing outlet is no longer a viable solution. We decided to distance ourselves from this facility because of their operational inconsistencies. That means, all of the food waste we manage for our customers right now must be taken to local farms. So ensuring good quality of the food scraps we collect is imperative.
On the west coast, and in many cities nation-wide, compost haulers and processors no longer accept the compostable disposable dishware items in their compost stream. For example, Portland Oregon just banned all non-food items for composting. READ MORE.
“Back-Of-House” compost refers to all of the food scraps that are collected from the preparation of food (onion skins, potato peelings, bones, egg shells), and left-over uneaten food. This is what we refer to as “Food Only” composting. ALL of the food waste material from the “Back-of-House” programs we collect goes to local farms.
“Front-Of-House” programs aren’t just a challenge because of the compostable dishware. They tend to attract non-compostable trash items. These programs rely on the public to do the right thing when using a compost bin in a public area. People that aren’t familiar with a compost program may make a mistake – and throw away a non-compostable cup in the compost, if it looks similar to the compostable cup.
We cannot compost trash. Plastic bags, plastic gloves, plastic wrap, plastic utensils, plastic cups. When we see these items, it’s the expectation that our drivers let us know, so we can talk with our customers and help them clean up.
If we go to a farm-based composter with too much contamination, our truck gets re-loaded, and we have to dump the whole load as trash. And that’s expensive. That’s why we’re focused on quality control with our compost customers.
When a compost customer has a cart that is heavily contaminated, that cart of material needs to go to the trash, UNTIL it can be cleaned up and managed well.
Photos of some of the contaminated compost we’ve received
At the end of this summer, a new Organics Processing Center will open at our facility in Charlestown, MA. We will accept Food-Only at this organics center. We will no longer be able to process compostable dishware/single-use service ware for composting – the items will be screened out.
The food scraps WILL all still be processed – and will be used for energy production via anerobic digestion. The remaining material can be used as a fertilizer.
We are talking with our customers about these changes. We strive together towards more sustainable and responsible organics processing.
Durables / Re-Usables
A best practice we see in our industry to address the challenge of disposables is to use durable service-ware – washable cutlery that can be reused. We recognize the challenge of re-usables in fast-paced food service environments, yet see that changes to use durable utensils and food-service containers drives significant waste reduction.
Compostable Bags & Cleaning Carts – “Hardware”
Compost programs need a good balance of “hardware” – proper carts and collection procedures for the food scraps – and “software” – education and continuous training.
We encourage compost customers to use compostable bags in their programs. Bags must be certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute. See approved bags HERE.
Washing carts frequently also keeps the compost program clean, and reduces pest activity.
Education & Training – “Software”
At the start of our compost programs, we teach managers and food preparation employees the “Dos” and “Don’ts” of composting. We are available to answer questions on an ongoing basis. The best compost programs are ones where internal leaders drive training, communication, and proper separation of the food scraps.
We send our customers feedback when our drivers report that they see trash contamination in the compost carts. This is an important aspect of having an effective relationship-based compost service.
We can guide you through the process to continue compost / organics processing for your Food-Only waste, and make a responsible choice about whether you continue to use compostable dishware.
Please contact me directly to talk about our composting & organics processing practices.
Thank you for your continued commitments to responsible materials management.
& the Save That Stuff team
Click the link below to learn more about the economics beind the recycling bussines.
Local Specialty Crop Trade Show
& Local Food Trade Show
Connecting Wholesale Buyers and Producers of Local Food
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
8:15AM – 1:30PM
The SBN Local Food Trade Shows are organized by the SBN of Massachusettsin partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MassGrown) to connect local specialty crop growers and restaurants. This event will feature open floor trading between wholesale buyers and producers of local food. It will also include a series of morning and afternoon workshops, addressing best practices and innovative ways of local trading between producers and buyers of local food. Topics include case studies, Food Hubs, working with the “middle man,” sales strategies, marketing, and more.
Vendor Spots are Filling Up!
Due to the expansion of our program, we are offering two trade shows this year, taking place the same time in the same location. Each trade show will feature different type of exhibitors. Please register below (note that there are 3 different applications). Click to register!
Session 1 Workshops (8:15AM – 9:30AM)
Forging Innovative Trade Relationships
This workshop will highlight two stories of trade relationships between producers and buyers of local food that work.
A Vision for Local Food in New England – How can we make it happen!
Introduce 50 by 60 New England Food Vision, explore the role of local trade and sourcing in achieving it, and identify leverage points for advancing it.
The ‘Labeling Game’: Why does it matter?
Panel to discuss the various food labels among Organic, GMO, Fair trade, B Corporation Certification and more!
Session 2 Workshops (11:00AM – 12:15PM)
Food Hubs: Key Players in Growing Our Local Food System
The workshop features 4 food hubs including Farm Fresh Rhode Island, Red’s Best, Western Mass Food Processing Center & FairAcre Traders
Getting In and Staying In
Marketing strategies and tools to get your products into food services/stores and sell successfully once they’re in
Working with the “Middleman”
Panel to discuss Distribution, Aggregation, Wholesalers, Food processing Centers.
Practical Advice for Successful Selling: How to move from point A to point B
This workshop is designed for local farms, producers, distributors, and other local businesses that offer healthy and delicious food choices and want to increase their sales volume.
If you are interested in volunteering and assisting with our trade shows between 7:00AM-3PM on March 10th, apply today at here.
Help us keep your service on schedule!
We will make every effort to provide service in a safe and professional manner. Please remember it is your responsibility to ensure our access to the container(s).
If it is necessary for us to make a return trip to service a blocked container, an additional “go back” charge may apply.
Por favor, ayudanos a proveer un servicio excelente!
Hacemos todo possible para que el servicio este hecho en una manera segura y professional. Por favor, recuerde que es su responsibilidad que tengamos acceso a los contenedores.
Si es necesario que nosotros a hagamos un viaje de regresar para completer el servicio de un contenedor bloqueado, posiblemente aplicaremos un cargo adicional.
1369 has been a long-time customer, and a leader in comprehensive food waste diversion in Cambridge. They’ve been separating their coffee grounds and food waste with us, and diverting all single stream recyclables AWAY from the landfill. Starting in February, they will be a full-service partner, and we’re excited to help them manage all materials.
Accomplishments with Save That Stuff:
In 2014, 1369 diverted over 25 TONS of food waste and coffee grounds away from the landfill. That’s over 50,000 lbs. They set a precedent for Zero Waste coffee shops in Cambridge.
In January of 1993, the 1369 Coffee House opened at 1369 Cambridge Street, in Cambridge’s Inman Square. The site was the former home of the 1369 Jazz Club, a well known local bar and music venue. In June 1994 we opened a second store in nearby Central Square.
From the beginning, we envisioned 1369 as more than just a place to get coffee. We offer the very best coffees and teas available. We strive to create a comfortable, inviting atmosphere and to be an integral part of the community. Many friendships, including several marriages, have developed at 1369. Several books and many theses have been written at our tables. We take pride in being a good neighbor and local gathering place. We are dedicated to maintaining this feeling.
We have been fortunate to be the recipient of many awards and accolades. We continue to pursue our goals in an effort to achieve excellence in all we do. We intend to survive the onslaught of chains and to endure long into the future. We will continue our commitment to our neighborhood and community.
Accomplishments with Save That Stuff:
We (Save That Stuff) started managing Mr. Bartley’s trash and recycling at the beginning of 2015. In the first month, they have already eliminated 2 trash pickups a week, and increased their cardboard recycling, saving them money and supporting their business’ push towards Zero Waste and more diversion. They have been great to work with, and the burgers aren’t bad either!
“In 1960, Joe and Joan Bartley took over the Harvard Spa, a small convenience store facing Harvard Yard. The plan was simple: perfect the hamburger, the quintessential American sandwich. For years, a small grill accompanied greeting cards and paper goods. As word travelled, the menu took off, and Mr. and Mrs. Bartley’s Burger Cottage became the Harvard Square institution of today.
A perennial recipient of “Best of Boston” awards from The Boston Globe, The Improper Bostonian, and Boston Magazine, the food has been praised by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, and The Food Network. The laundry list of celebrity customers and fans includes Johnny Cash, Jaqueline Onasis, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Bill Belichick, Al Pacino, Adam Sandler, Tom Werner, and Katie Couric.
Three generations of the Bartley family have been serving perfect hamburgers for over 48 years. Customers line up down the block each day at lunch for a coveted seat, devouring our homemade burgers, onion rings, sweet potato fries, frappes, and lime rickeys. We serve the freshest beef imaginable and cook it perfectly to order. No one can compete with us in volume of hamburger prepared, so we’re able to be incredibly demanding of our suppliers. Our perfect onion rings are battered and fried to order.
Bartley’s has a fast-paced, wacky atmosphere. Our dining room looks like a dorm room, filled with posters, bumper stickers, and funny signs. In the summer months, a small outdoor café gives diners the chance to people-watch in the sun. Future husbands and wives have met across our signature central table for single diners.
In a time when burger chains frantically try to expand across the country and world with frozen beef and uniform spaces, Bartley’s has a simple aim: one perfect restaurant. After 50 years of honing their menu and ingredients, The Bartley Family has the ability and experience to consistently offer quality the chains simply cannot. Bartley’s didn’t invent the hamburger. We just perfected it.” See More.]]>
November 29th is Small Business Saturday.
Choose to contract with a local & independent recycling & waste hauler!
Save That Stuff, Inc.
One Goal. Zero Waste.
MORE materials we collect
Don’t just choose local and independent on Small Business Saturday.
Shop Small All Year!
Schedule a FREE site evaluation & $25 off your first pickup
Find out more – firstname.lastname@example.org
Think local & independent first
Buy local & independent when you can
Save That Stuff – local & independent since 1990
Top Ten reasons to Think Local – Buy Local – Be Local
Come connect 19+ local brewers and ciders, 10+ local distillers, and local eateries that are as passionate about local food as you are. Join us for theSustainable Business Network of Massachusetts‘ (SBN) 5th Annual Local Craft Brewfest at the Moakley U.S. Courthouse, 11/21/2014 located in Fort Point on the Boston waterfront. Come taste, explore, socialize, and meet the people behind the brews. The event will showcase the most distilleries we’ve ever had–over 30 different local spirit tastings including vodka, rum, whiskey, and gin plus more than 30 local beer tastings. Bully Boy Distillers and Far From The Tree Cider will also each be launching a new product at the event! Tickets include a delicious sampling of local food from a variety of vendors including American Flatbread, Taza Chocolate, and Vermont Smoke and Cure, as well as a special Black Box Challenge from Boston Organics with Chefs from Gourmet Caterers . While celebrating local brews, you will also savor live music by local musicians and enjoy one of Boston’s coolest places in the city. Leave your car at home, enjoy free round trip rides offered to venue by Uber for new users. More information at www.bostonlocalfood.org Eat Local. Drink Local. Be Local.
Watch when cool things come through our MRF (Materials Recovery Facility), see what we process, and what’s new in the recycling (and waste) industry.
We are LOCAL.
We are GREEN.
We are FAIR.