What is food scrap diversion?
It it widely accepted that food waste and compostable paper comprised 32% of the industrial, commercial, institutional (ICI) waste stream. Food scrap diversion is a process of turning food scraps and other organic waste into nutrient-rich compost.
Many commercial and institutional facilities such as restaurants, grocery stores, and school and hospital cafeterias are now required to have food waste diversion systems in place. Commercial food waste includes raw and cooked food and other compostable organic material from commercial and institutional premises.
Benefits of Food Scrap Diversion Projects:
- Food scraps are diverted from county landfills, extending the landfill’s life.
- The environmental impacts of hauling tons of food scraps to county landfill-air pollution, transportation congestion, depletion of fossil fuels-were avoided. The resulting compost was used to improve local soils.
- As industrial and commercial projects become prevalent, individuals will become more willing to compost their own food scraps at home.
- Selling the resulting compost will allow for payback for project related costs within a few years.
Bathroom Water Saving Tips
Approximately 35% – 40% of household water use originates from the bathroom. By using a few of these water saving bathroom tips you can reduce water consumption in your bathroom.
If you are planning on renovating your bathroom or building a new bathroom there are a few items that you should consider that can help you conserve water and save money on electricity and water bills. Toilets are the largest water-using fixture inside the home. By installing more efficient 1.6 gallon per flush or less toilets, you can save thousands of gallons of water per toilet, per year.
How to Measure water flow rate
To find out the current water saving qualities of your bathroom taps and shower you can calculate their flow rate. Run a tap for 10 seconds into a bucket and multiply the amount by 6 to find out the flow rate per minute. For example, to find out how much water your shower head is consuming you can put a bucket under the shower. Turn it on for 10 seconds before turning it off. Measure the amount of water captured in the bucket, then multiply the amount by 6. This will give you the shower head flow rate per minute, if it is over 2 gallons of water per minute you should install a water saving shower head.
Shower Water Conservation
Older shower heads can use 5 gallons of water per minute. By installing a new water efficient shower head you drastically reduce the water your shower consumes. A 3 star shower head will use less than 2 gallons of water a minute, saving 12 gallons of water per person, per shower. This amounts to approximately 5,000 gallons of water per year per person. So for the approximate $15 cost of a water efficient shower head you could potentially save yourself around $100 in water bills. You can also capture the initial cold shower water in a bucket for use in water plants or garden.
Water Saving Toilet
Around 15% of household water is flushed down the toilet. Older toilets use around 3gallons of water per flush. There are a range of 4 star dual flush toilets that use around 1 gallon of water for a full flush and 3/4 gallon for a half flush.
Water Saving Bath
A short 4 minute shower will use less cold and hot water than having a bath. If you do have a bath then only fill it to a level that just covers your body. If you use natural soaps or detergents in your bath you can bucket the water out and use it to water your garden.
Sink water saving tips
A running tap can use approximately 4 gallons of water a minute. Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth. If shaving put some water into the sink to wash your blade instead of running the tap continuously. By installing flow restrictors or water saving taps you can reduce the water usage when you turn on the tap to brush your teeth or lather your hands with soap.
In the US, nearly 60% of our landfill waste is due to the disposal of paper products. We are landfilling our waste paper or having it incinerated at a high cost financially and on environmentally. The landfills leak toxic wastes and the incinerator plants emit VOC’S (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the atmosphere.
Genuine recycled paper is 100% made from ‘post-consumer’ waste. This means the paper has been used at least once by consumers, collected, and converted back to pulp to form paper products. Consumers should look closely at paper that is labeled “recycled”. In many cases, the product may actually include pre-consumer’ paper waste — meaning virgin pulp that never left the factory.
The best paper to buy is bleach-free, 100% post-consumer recycled paper, because it uses up to 90 per cent less water and half the energy required to make paper from virgin timber, creates demand for waste paper that would normally end up in landfill, and no trees are cut down to make the paper.
Generally food waste is organic and will decompose, but when mixed with other waste in the landfill food waste actually contributes to the production and release of harmful gases which potentially cause environmental damage. In fact, food scraps are the third largest segment of the waste stream with nearly 26 million tons generated each year. Of the overall aste stream,about 12% is food-related, behind paper and plastic
However, by composting your food waste, you can actually put that waste to good use by putting it back back into the earth. The resulting compost can be used in a variety of different ways to support your yard or garden.
Compostable Food Items:
- Uncooked vegetables and peelings
- Tea bags
- Crushed egg shells
- Coffee grounds
- Non-food materials such as plants and flowers, grass clippings, leaves and shredded paper, cardboard.
Non-compostable Food Items:
- Food which has been cooked. Cooked food, even vegetables, can attract vermin
- Meat or fish
- Dairy products
- Non-food items such as cat or dog litter, large pieces of wood, coal ash
- Plastics and metals.
How to Compost
You will need to buy or make a compost bin to effectively to manage your waste to create compost. Check with your local municipality for compost bin rebate programs.
Place your compost bin on a level, well-drained area. Make sure that the base of your compost bin is open and place it on soil ideally. This is so that the compost can absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil below easily. It also enables creatures like worms to get into the waste and they help break it down into compost.
Cover the compost bin with a water-proof cover. Every three months you will need to stir the compost pile until it is ready. The process can take anywhere from four to 18 months depending upon your climate and the types of waste in the compost pile. The compost is ready when the compost is a consistent dark brown and develops an earthy smell.
Tips for Composting
- The ideal composting mixture will be a combination of all the materials in the first list above.
- Small items tend to compost faster. Cut larger items into smaller pieces to speed the composting process.
- Add fresh water periodically to maintain the needed moisture level for a healthy compost pile, but do not over-water. If your compost pile gives off a strong odor, add less water and add wood chips or cardboard to soak up the additional moisture.
- Access to direct sunlight will speed the composting process.
Easy and Quick Composting For those that may not want to deal with the physical demands or time it takes for a compost pile to mature, we recommend the use of a tumbling composter Tumbling is the most effective method for making compost quickly because it evenly mixes nitrogen and carbon materials(green and brown) for optimal eco-interaction. Add the benefit of complete distribution of moisture, air, and organic microbes throughout the batch and you’ll create conditions perfect for express composting. Vented ends provide optimal aeration so this tumbler will help create finished compost 4 to10 times quicker than a tradition composting bed. Plus its resistant to animal entry and it’s easy to turn. Just load up the composting drum and tumble it a couple times a week. Nature will do the rest as it creates nutrient rich organic compost in as little as 3 weeks.
Checkout our indoor composters and yard composters.
The term “Styrofoam” is actually a Dow Chemical Co. trademarked form of polystyrene foam insulation. Also known as Expanded Polystrene (EPS) foam, Styrofoam is basically one form of polystyrene plastic. In turn, polystyrene plastic is usually coded as #6 plastic.
Styrofoam is widely used all over the world for various purposes including packing, coffee cups, plates, food trays, fabrication of car parts etc.
Facts about Styrofoam or Polystrene
Styrofoam has many benefits, including insulating quality that helps keep food warm. It is also of light weight, has high durability and strength, making it an excellent packaging material.
Polystyrene is made from petroleum and during the production process benzene is used, which is a carcinogenic chemical. Due to the presence of benzene in Styrofoam, it is inevitable that food in direct contact with the Styrofoam food packaging would be affected. This has been one of the main reasons why over 20 cities in the United States have banned the use of Styrofoam.
- Polystyrene/Styrofoam contains toxic chemicals that leach into hot foods and beverages.
- Styrofoam is often space-consuming. It is estimated that by volume, it takes much as much as thirty percent of landfills worldwide.
- In most cities and counties, Styrofoam cannot be recycled.
- Styrofoam is never compostable.
- Styrofoam never fully biodegrades and thus easily become litter.
- When ingested by animals, it often blocks their digestive tracts, causes starvation, and ultimately death.
- Bans on Styrofoam containers reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and prevent plastic pollution.
- Alternatives made from recycled content cardboard and compostable/biodegradable materials are readily available.
Here are a few ways to repurpose plastic cereal box liners:
- As a sandwich baggie. Place your sandwich in the liner, wrap and go.
- Use as a dog waste bag. Take them along of walks with your dog to handle their dog waste.
- Carry them with you to use them as a small trash bag.
- Use as shipping packing material. You can bunch to use as padding or fill with air and close to make an air pillow.
- Use as a wet/soiled clothes divider in your suit case or gym bag.
- Bags can be used as a portable food container, such as packing trail mix or snacks on outdoor excursions.
The bottle water industry exceeds $100 billion in revenue worldwide per year. The industry promotes bottle water as being a safe water option, but in reality bottled water is expensive, resource intensive and poses possible general health concerns.
Here are several reasons to reconsider the use of bottled water:
- Not Healthier - Bottled water often contains more bacteria and impurities than tap water, because the EPA regulates municipal water systems more stringently than the FDA regulates bottled water. Since most water does not cross state lines, in many cases it is exempt from FDA oversight, while the water in your local municipal water system is regulated by the EPA. Municipal water systems are regularly tested bacteria and toxic chemicals.
- Resource Intensive - In the US, it takes the equivalent of more than 18 million barrels of oil to manufacture the bottles needed for the US bottled water industry. The energy and fuel costs needed to ship the the bottled water is also extremely expensive for a product that is readily available from your own tap.
- Purchase Price - The purchase price for bottled water can range as high as the equivalent of $10 gallon when purchased from retail and vending machines. Compare this to gasoline that is less than $4 per gallon.
- Clean up Costs - It is estimated that is costs more than $80 million to clean up the more than 4 billion bottles that pass through the US wast stream.
- Waste - in the United States, less than 20% of PET bottles are recycled, resulting in over 1.2 million tons of plastic waste in US landfills.
1. Compost, Compost, Compost. Start a compost pile or the use of a compost bin and make the most of your food scraps and lawn trimmings.
2. Give Up Bottled Water. The production of plastic water bottles and the impact on landfills is significant. The long-term hazards of drinking from plastic bottles is still not fully known.
3. Walk Or Ride Your Bike. – walk your kids to school, walk or ride your bike to work and short errands. Reduce your carbon footprint and tone up by ditching the car keys.
4. Commit to Conservation. Wasting resources costs the planet and your wallet. Don’t overheat or overcool your home–a few degrees make a huge difference. Use a clothesline or manual spin dryer to dry your clothes instead using the dryer.
5. Turn it off – turn off those appliances. Turn off the lights you aren’t using. Switch the TV off at the plug each night and don’t leave your laptops and mobiles plugged in all day everyday. Not only will you be helping the environment but you will notice a difference in your energy bill.
6. Plant a tree or small plant. - If you have a yard, plant a tree in your yard. If you do not have a yard, make a windowsill planter with a small plant. If every house in America planted one tree in their yard, it would improve air quality by 40 percent.
7. Insulate your home. - By insulating your home you can cut your energy use dramatically. It follows that you’ll save yourself lots of money too.
8. Start Recycling. – Get everyone involved. You can recycle not only consumer waste, but old clothes can be given new life by donating to a worthy cause.
9. Be an Green Advocate. – Teach those around you – Make sure your family, your children and your friends know the importance of making small changes in their lives that can considerably reduce their carbon footprint.
10. Ditch the Aerosol. - Stop using aerosol cans when possible. Aerosol cans deplete the ozone layer. Use spray bottles instead.
Five eco-tips for the workplace:
Here are five tips to help make your work environment greener:
Reduce and reuse paper:
- print and copy double-sided
- Print drafts on unused reverse sides of paper
- e-mail your documents as attachments
- edit documents on screen rather than printing out and hand editing
If you receive a box that is still in good condition, instead of discarding of the box, save it for a future outbound shipment. Simply remove previous shipping labels and mark-out or cover any previous markings and you extended the life of the box.
Ditch the plastic styrofoam cups:
Get rid of the disposable throw-away cups- the one’s you use for coffee and water fill-ups. The one-use cups accounts for a great deal of office waste. Simply bring your own cup and provide additional washable cups for visitors.
The amount of energy wasted in the workplace accounts for over 15% of total energy usage. Items such as computers left on unattended, especially in the overnight hours. Cut your energy use by switching off your computers, copiers, printers and lights when not in use. Also, reduce your phantom energy loss be using smart power strips and/or unplugging unused devices. Remember lower energy bills also mean a better bottom line.
Turn down the heat this winter:
Your heating costs will go up by 8% each time you increase the temperature by just one degree. A 2°C increase in office temperature creates enough CO2 in a year to fill a hot air balloon. Lower the thermostat and your energy bills at the same time.