Presentation on theme: "Regional Guidance On Compostable Products Justin Gast Program Educator, Washington County Solid Waste and Recycling www.WashingtonCountyRecycles.org 34th."— Presentation transcript:
Regional Guidance On Compostable Products Justin Gast Program Educator, Washington County Solid Waste and Recycling www.WashingtonCountyRecycles.org 34th Annual Sustainable Oregon Conference and Trade Show
Background on Regional Programs Each of the five jurisdictions that make up the Portland Metro area, as well as Clark County and the City of Vancouver, are, in some form, either expanding or developing collection programs to capture pre- and post-consumer food scraps from residential or commercial generators. Nearly a year ago, the six-year-old contract Cedar Grove Composting had with Metro (to process material generated by the City of Portland’s commercial Portland Composts! program) had sunset, and a majority of the material generated within the region was now being taken to two facilities: I.Nature’s Needs in North Plains, Oregon. II.Pacific Region Compost (PRC) in Monmouth, Oregon. PRC was the state’s first compost facility permitted to take Type 3 feedstock.
The switch in processors allowed a newly-formed regional organics workgroup the opportunity to reassess its use of Cedar Grove’s list of “Commercially accepted foodservice ware products,” as, according to composters, compostable plastic foodservice ware material that Cedar Grove was able to process, unfortunately, cannot be consistently broken down at both PRC and Nature’s Needs. The presence of these materials can affect the quality and marketability of the compost being produced at both NN and PRC. And, according to one composting official I talked to: “Unfortunately, too many people [governments] don’t think about what's best for the composters when they create their programs.” In all, the Portland Metro area needs a system in place that ensures compost facilities receive a clean material stream that includes compostable foodservice ware that will compost. Background on Regional Issue
Who is Involved and Why Over the course of its existence, the group has consisted of a representative(s) from each of the following jurisdictions and organizations: I.DEQ, Metro, cities of Beaverton, Corvallis, Eugene, Gresham, Hillsboro, Portland, Troutdale and Vancouver, and Clackamas, Clark, Marion and Washington counties. II.Representatives from PRC, Recology, Grimm’s Fuel, Dirt Hugger, Rexius, Lane Forest Products and Clackamas Compost Products. The goal of the workgroup: Create a list of commercially acceptable foodservice ware items that would contribute to the material stream and help create a high-quality, marketable end-product Create a list of commercially acceptable foodservice ware items that would contribute to the material stream and help create a high-quality, marketable end-product.
Upfront Challenges The biggest challenge with this effort involves existing customers of the commercial Portland Composts! Program and getting them to possibly alter their purchasing practices regarding compostable foodservice ware. For almost seven years, over 700 businesses have been operating under the guidance of the Cedar Grove list. Thus, with the change in composting facilities, how does Portland progress this effort without negatively affecting the operations of businesses used to the old way? Other potential challenges going into this effort included: I.Creating a list that composters would back. II.Relaying this message to regional foodservice product distributors, redistributors and smaller service contracts, such as Aramark, Bon Appetite and Guckenheimer. III.Communicating this message to haulers and the public.
Results Thus Far After numerous discussions, the workgroup came to an initial decision to create a commercial list that only acknowledges fiber and plant-based foodservice ware products certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute. Container LinersContainers and Service WareOther Items NO ▪ Regular, non-compostable plastic garbage bags and liners. YES ▪ Newspaper ▪ Paper bags ▪ BPI-certified compostable plastic bags NO ▪ “Compostable,” “biodegradable” or “bioplastic” based plastic foodservice ware products are NOT allowed, including those certified by BPI. YES ▪ BPI-certified, fiber and plant-based foodservice ware products ONLY, including: ▪ Bowls; lids; plates; trays; hot and cold containers (including take-out); hot, cold and portion cups; hot drink accessories; deli and bakery products (e.g., sheets); ▪ Abovementioned BPI-certified products containing a thin internal lining of compostable material for moisture- resistance (e.g., Polylactic Acid, a.k.a. PLA, used on cups and hot and cold containers, including take out). ▪ 100% wooden utensils. NO ▪ Restroom-generated napkins and towels. YES ▪ Kitchen- or break room-generated paper napkins and towels. ▪ Tea bags ▪ Coffee filters ▪ Pizza boxes ▪ Waxed cardboard ▪ Wooden crates
Results Thus Far Information about the workgroup’s undertakings became known and word spread through the local business/hauling community… And, let’s just say not everyone was happy with our initial recommendation, most notably long-time participants of the commercial Portland Composts! program. The workgroup took this feedback into consideration and modified its initial approach.
Continue to work with stakeholders (e.g., local governments, BPI, R3, processors, etc.) to develop clear standards that can be communicated to haulers and businesses. Develop a transition timeline to phase out the use of service ware products that are not composting under current processes. Plus, provide ongoing outreach to the local commercial sector regarding updated program approach. Where does this effort go from here?
Thank You! Justin Gast Program Educator, Recycle at Work Washington County, Solid Waste and Recycling 155 N. 1st Ave. Mail Stop 5 Hillsboro, OR 97124 Office: (503) firstname.lastname@example.org.WashingtonCountyRecycles.org