CA Organic Waste Champions Recognized
These CA businesses and public agencies are being recognized on August 12, 2014 at the “State of Organic Waste” press briefing at the State Capitol today in Sacramento, California. They showcase that recycling organic and food waste is possible for businesses and operations large and small. They are leaders in their communities and agencies, and the individuals who make their organic waste programs succeed are dedicated and committed to helping to make California more climate resilient and sustainable.
“In recognition of their valued leadership in championing organic waste diversion and recycling, and for their commitment to environmental sustainability, climate resiliency, and the health and safety of all Californians.”
ATLAS DISPOSAL AND ATLAS REFUEL (and the City of Sacramento)
Atlas Disposal Industries was established in March of 1998 in response to the new recycling mandates that were passed by the State of California. With a highly active team focused on educating local businesses about their recycling potential, Atlas emerged as the fastest growing waste and recycling removal company in the area.
Sacramento is at the forefront of the movement known as “closing the loop,” and “farm-to-fork-to-fuel.” Food is grown locally, it feeds the community and then the organic food waste is converted into renewable energy — from farm to fork to fuel. Atlas Disposal diverts organic waste that would have gone into a landfill and uses it to produce renewable gas.
The conversion process is possible thanks to their partnership with CleanWorld and the Sacramento BioDigester, which was invented by UC Davis scientist Dr. Ruihong Zhang. Sacramento-based CleanWorld pioneered the design, construction and commercialization of this innovative high-solid organic waste anaerobic digestion technology. Atlas founded Atlas Refuel, which built and owns the fueling side of the operation. Today half of Atlas’ fleet is powered by the waste it hauls. The City of Sacramento also fills up there, powering trucks that once ran on diesel.
Benefits of this RNG made from food waste include:
• Burns so cleanly it actually generates carbon credits.
• Eliminates 100% of Greenhouse Gas emissions from landfilling food waste.
• Replaces nearly one million gallons of diesel fuel annually.
• Results in significant cost-savings.
Among the City of Sacramento fleet’s sustainability achievements due to its alternative-fuel fleet between 2011 and 2013, they have helped reduce gasoline consumption by 10 percent, diesel consumption by 34 percent, and reduce GHG gas emissions by 3,040 metric tons from 2009 to 2013, an 11-percent decrease from 2009 to 2013.
Atlasdisposal.com and Atlasrefuel.com
BIOENERGY ASSOCIATION OF CALIFORNIA
BAC was founded in early 2013, formed by companies and public agencies in California with an interest in promoting sustainable bioenergy development in California. Led by Julia Levin, former Deputy Secretary for Climate Change and Energy at the California Resources Agency, BAC’s mission is to promote sustainable bioenergy development and associated activities in California. Its primary activities include policy advocacy, public education and outreach, promoting research and development, and encouraging industry best practices.
BAC membership is represented by over 40 public and private organizations and BAC’s industry members include energy and waste management companies, technology providers, investors, consultants, and others. BAC’s public agency members include wastewater, solid waste, air and water quality, and other environmental protection agencies. BAC also represents numerous local governments across the state.
BAC’s interest and expertise in the biogas field is extensive. Many of BAC’s members currently own and operate biogas-powered projects in the wastewater, solid waste, diverted (from landfills) organic waste and dairy sectors. In addition, BAC members were instrumental in passing SB 1122, which requires the investor owned utilities to procure 250 MW of bioenergy from 3 MW and smaller projects. BAC has significantly contributed to the development and expansion of framework policies and financial incentive programs tin California that is accelerating the State’s ability to achieve significant greenhouse gas reductions and increase the State’s supply of energy and fuel from organic wastes.
CALIFORNIANS AGAINST WASTE
Californians Against Waste is dedicated to conserving resources, preventing pollution and protecting California’s environment through the development, promotion and implementation of waste reduction and recycling policies and programs.
Founded in 1977, Californians Against Waste is a non-profit environmental research and advocacy organization that identifies, develops, promotes and monitors policy solutions to pollution and conservation problems posing a threat to public health and the environment.
Californians Against Waste’s history has demonstrated it to be the nation’s oldest, largest and most effective non-profit environmental organization advocating for the implementation of waste reduction and recycling policies and programs.
CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
CalEPA launched a pilot project to evaluate the viability of a permanent food waste diversion program at the CalEPA Headquarters Building in the spring of 2014. In December 1999, California Construction Link magazine awarded the new CalEPA building “Best of 1999 Awards–Outstanding Engineering.”
In setting up their pilot food waste project, CalEPA made sure:
- That recycling containers for food and organic waste were clearly labeled (show poster/flyer example);
– That Staff members understood the food waste diversion program and its benefits, and they felt a part in creating its success;
– To evaluate if trash services and costs can be reduced through increased diversion or reduced waste generation by reducing trash container sizes or trash collection frequency;
– To determine if other compostable materials like soiled paper, waxed cardboard, or biodegradable plates, be included with food waste.
CALIFORNIA PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM
The CalPERS Sustainable Operations Program was created in 2009 and is responsible for the implementation of sustainability initiatives at all CalPERS offices. CalPERS has defined sustainability as “meeting our needs while not compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.” The program addresses issues that will enable CalPERS to operate in a more environmentally responsible manner.
In March 2014, CalPERS partnered with Greenwise and Atlas Disposal Industries to implement a food waste diversion program at our Headquarters. Through this program, the Café, Subway, Chocolate Fish and Montessori in the City collect their organic waste for disposal into a special trash bin provided by Atlas.
The food waste is then diverted to the Sacramento BioDigester that produces biogas, which is then converted in renewable natural gas, used by Atlas, the City of Sacramento, and other public and private fleets to fuel their vehicles. To date, CalPERS has diverted 5.83 tons of food waste.
CALIFORNIA STATE TEACHER’S RETIREMENT SYSTEM
Opened in June 2009, the CalSTRS headquarters building in West Sacramento. The difference and complexity of the needs of a new generation of retiring teachers, and the need to operate more efficiently and sustainably led to the decision to build a new headquarters. The building, a $266 million, 13-story office tower above two levels of public space, is part of the Sacramento Riverfront Master Plan.
The headquarters was designed to meet the Gold certification LEED designation set by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is expected that construction of the CalSTRS headquarters will add momentum to former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s push for “green” buildings and speed up a similar movement in private construction. A few of the features designed into the building to qualify for LEED Gold certification are:
- Water: low-flow plumbing, efficient irrigation to water native plants that don’t need a lot of water.
- Materials: At least 10 percent of construction materials include recycled content.
- Natural light: At least 90 percent of people in the building have a direct line of site to a window to reduce lighting needs and attempt to increase productivity.
In October 2011, the building received USGBC’s Platinum certification in Existing Building and Operations Maintenance. Waste Management works with CALSTRS, from assisting with their recycling program to managing their food waste. The tireless effort of Betsie Goulart and Melissa Vincent of Jones Lang LaSalle the property managers and Gisele Geiger, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator of Facilities Operations at CALSTRS work to maintain a diversion rate above a 90% from the landfill, these long standing efforts makes this building standout amongst the rest.
CASTRO VALLEY SANITATION DISTRICT
Castro Valley Sanitary District (CVSan) is honored to be recognized today as a public agency that is a champion in successfully meeting the organic materials recycling challenge in partnership with Waste Management of Alameda County, Inc. CVSan is a California Special District providing wastewater and solid waste services to a community of 55,000.
In 2002, CVSan was the first jurisdiction in Alameda County to have a curbside food scrap-recycling program, which has contributed to CVSan’s 50% reduction to landfill since 2005. In 2007, CVSan produced a comprehensive Schools Food Scrap Recycling Guide and has partnered with schools in implementing a sustainable and educational food scrap recycling program. The 16 schools that compost have an average diversion rate of 79% and were certified by CVSan as Green Ribbon Schools.
In CVSan, 130 commercial businesses are Food Service Establishments. Of those 130, 71% have an organics program. CVSan has certified 90 businesses as 4R Star Businesses. In 2011, CVSan began rolling out Food Scrap Recycling Programs in Multi-Family complexes and 73% have organics services.
Every year, CVSan returns up to 5% of its organics back to the community in the form of finished compost. 450 cubic yards were distributed last year. Through strategic partnerships, long-range planning, hands-on waste audits, technical assistance, educational outreach, and certifications, CVSan has developed successful Food Scrap Recycling Programs for its single and multi-family residents, businesses, and schools. CVSan celebrated its 75th Anniversary on July 25, 2014, and looks forward to continuing to provide its community with effective environmental services.
HP Hood LLC has a companywide initiative for all facilities to achieve Zero waste to landfill. In 2007, Hood purchased the Sacramento facility, and, at that time, only 38% of waste generated was being recycled. Over the past seven years, the facility has continually improved to the extent that we are currently recycling approximately 99.7%. In 2013, we recycled over 1,100 tons of material and sent over 800 tons of waste, which was used to create energy. This was accomplished by partnering with Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, Atlas Disposal, CleanWorld, and many others. With that being said, it comes down to HP Hood LLC’s local employees, management staff, and the corporate drive to reduce the environmental impact and to preserve the natural resources of this state.
HYATT REGENCY SACRAMENTO
Located in the heart of Sacramento, California, the Hyatt Regency Sacramento hotel, as a part of the Hyatt Hotels corporation, has a progressive environmental sustainability mission: Through Hyatt Earth, they have been measuring the environmental performance of their managed, full-service hotels against a 2006 baseline. They’ve set goals to reduce the energy and water they use, the waste they send to landfills, and the greenhouse gases they emit.
Their Environmental Sustainability commitment is based on a simple premise: leverage innovative strategies that reflect the unique environment of their properties around the world and harness the passion of their employees to deliver change, as well as rigorously track and measure their progress.
In February 2011, they began their organics waste program in Sacramento and diverted over 487,440 pounds of waste from landfills in the first year. To date they have recycled over 1,604,100 pounds or 802 tons of organic waste. With the assistance of Republic Services, who deliver the food waste from the Hyatt property to CleanWorld and other organic wastes such as fat and grease to Sacramento Rendering, Hyatt is a significant contributor to reducing greenhouse gasses and increasing Sacramento’s climate resiliency, and they present a compelling example of how hotels can cost-effectively and efficiently repurpose their organic waste.
MULVANEY’S B&L RESTAURANT
Mulvaney’s B&L Mulvaney’s offers hand crafted American cuisine; their menu changes daily and celebrates the gradual changes of the seasons harvest. Their food is sourced from among the local farms in the Sacramento Valley and they were the front-running organizers what has become the Farm to Fork Capital of America.
They were among the very first businesses in the Sacramento region to sign up to separate their organic waste in their restaurant and to divert their food waste as part of Atlas Disposal/ReFuel’s program and partnership with the CleanWorld BioDigester. They have been a leading champion of the “farm-to-fork” movement, and a pioneer among local businesses who believe that their sustainability efforts should yield both good business sense and maximum environmental benefits. They are currently pursuing an entirely “zero waste” goal in their operations. Every year they also donate to various local organizations that provide immediate support to families in transition (homeless) and disenfranchised citizens as well as educational programs that provide training in the food service industry or help create access to healthy food for underserved youth of the greater Sacramento area.
Republic Services is a Nation-Wide Company striving for excellence, and when dealing with recycling and waste services, the environment comes first. Nationally, we have more than 2,200 waste and recycling vehicles running on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and by 2015, we will have 2,500 CNG trucks on the road, making us the largest private fleet of CNG equipped vehicles in the nation. Whether it is opening Idaho’s first public CNG fueling station, or the current ongoing construction of fueling stations across the nation (Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, and North Carolina), Republic Services is constantly on the cutting edge of technology and leading the way into a brighter, and much greener future.
Republic Services of Sacramento is committed to clean running efficient vehicles and self-sustaining alternative fuels. This year, Republic Services of Sacramento purchased 16 CNG waste and recycling vehicles, which are fueled from the organics we collect locally and process through the Clean World Bio-Digester, creating the CNG we need to power our vehicles. The new CNG fleet replaced older diesel powered trucks, and represents a significant local investment in cleaner, safer and more efficient vehicles. With these 16 new trucks, we are reducing ozone-forming emissions to levels equal to removing 75 automobiles off local roads this year. That’s the Carbon offset equivalent of adding 9000 fully matured trees!
STRAW HAT PIZZA
Straw Hat Pizza is known for their “genuine California pizza” and helped to innovate a business attitude over 50 years ago by what today is refereed to as “going green.” Straw Hat Pizza opened its doors in Sacramento in February of 1974 insisting on using locally grown fresh produce while making fresh pizza using only all natural ingredients. Atlas Disposal sent out postcards to our customers explaining our new food waste program and owner Skip Sahhat wanted to be on board with the program right away.
After speaking with Skip and educating the employees, it was that easy for us to convert his service to become all recyclable while keeping the “going green” attitude for the business. With his efforts and his positive attitude, Skip has become the leader of starting a food waste program with Atlas Disposal and Atlas ReFuel to benefit the environment and his business.
WASTE MANAGEMENT, INC.
Waste Management is the largest environmental solutions provider in North America, serving more than 20 million customers in the U.S. and Canada. As part of our strategy, we are committed to developing new waste solutions that can help communities and organizations achieve their green goals, including zero waste.
With the largest network of recycling facilities, transfer stations and landfills in the industry, our entire business can adapt to meet the needs of every distinct customer group. In 2012, we worked with over 100 Fortune 500 companies and helped over 150 different communities become greener.
Waste Management is also a renewable energy provider, producing more than twice the amount of renewable electricity than the entire US solar industry. One of the ways we do this is by recovering biogas from organic waste to generate electricity and to produce renewable transportation fuels. By the end of 2013, we operated over 138 beneficial-use biogas projects, producing enough energy to power nearly 500,000 homes.
As North America’s largest residential recycler, we expect to manage more than 20 million tons every year by 2020, up from the more than 12 million tons we handled in 2012. Part of that will come from expanding on proven technology to make recycling easier for consumers. Another part will be investing in future technologies, like converting organic waste from the materials stream to make high-end compost for local growers and to produce low carbon transportation fuels.