Collaborative Project with City of Albany, CA and Coalition Members Supports Implementation of Food Scrap Recovery Ordinances - Could Reduce Up to 43% of Current Landfilled Waste

November 13, 2014 (Albany, CA) -- Global Green has joined forces with the City of Albany, CA and members of its Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) to launch in-depth pilots in select buildings to collect valuable data, test innovative products, and support the broader rollout of food scrap recovery across the region (see a video about the pilot launch here). The system being piloted includes the use of water-resistant paper bags for compost recovery, which are anticipated to facilitate greater participation while also ensuring that composters in the region can process the waste easily into high-value soil products. Increasing the availability of compost for the region's farms can also help them reduce irrigation needs, a crucial drought-fighting measure. These efforts are part of an overall organizational mission focused on advancing smart solutions to climate change.

"The Bay Area has been an incredible leader in many green urban practices, including food scrap recovery, which makes this community a perfect partner as we develop guidance and toolkits for cities and property owners," said Lily Kelly, Senior Program Associate at Global Green USA and the project's coordinator. "We are able to help East Bay families living in apartments divert their food scraps back into their local food system while getting useful data along the way that demonstrate reduced greenhouse gas emissions."

When tenants were presented with the bin and bag kits, nearly all showed a strong desire to participate in the program. "It's about time!" was a sentiment frequently expressed. Most multi-family buildings in the Bay Area, and across the country, have yet to implement food scrap recovery systems. Food scraps account for 43% of the landfilled waste from Alameda County's multi-family residences, releasing emissions equivalent to over 50,000 metric tons of CO2 annually. If all this waste were to be composted, it would reduce carbon emissions equivalent to planting over 1.3 million trees every year.

"This really is the future of property management," said Erik Eichner, the co-founder and owner of Eichner Properties, which owns and manages several multi-family buildings in Albany. "Helping our tenants divert their waste is becoming a normal part of running a multi-family building. We are very pleased that Global Green is supporting this rollout by working with our tenants to make sure they can divert their food scraps easily and successfully."

"The City of Albany is rolling out mandatory food scrap collection service for all its multi-family and commercial properties, and we are very grateful that Global Green is here to help us implement successful programs," said City of Albany's Sustainability and Transportation Coordinator, Claire Griffing, "They have identified bags that work with our local composting needs, and will be gathering valuable data about our resident's needs and preferences. We look forward to the results of the pilot, and hope they will be useful to other cities looking to carry out similar waste reduction programs in their communities."

In addition to undertaking initial waste audits and much of the outreach to property owners and tenants, Global Green USA organized the initial donation of bins and bags to the buildings from CoRR members. The leak-resistant paper bags for collecting scraps in the kitchen were donated by Bag to Earth, and were designed to be compatible with the needs of the local compost facility. "We are thrilled to have been able to be a part of this pilot," said George Colgan, President of Bag to Earth. "As a company we are committed to helping cities and their residents divert their food scraps easily and cleanly. Our compostable bags are designed to be strong and moisture-resistant, with the natural fiber liner made of cellulose, while still being 100% paper, which makes them a great fit for the composting processes used in this region."

CoRR member ORBIS Corporation donated dozens of small kitchen countertop bins to the pilot households. "We recently launched the newest line of bins for use in home kitchens, and we are excited to get feedback from the Albany families that are part of Global Green's pilot," said John Sebranek, Environmental Marketing Manager at ORBIS. "The Kitchen Collector can fit many different sizes of bags, and it is designed to go on the counter to make it easy to dispose of food scraps while cooking."

According to the EPA, 95% of food scraps are landfilled in the US each year, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to seven coal-fired power plants. Global Green is committed to helping pilot and deploy systems that will reduce these climate impacts. This pilot is the third of a series of food scrap recovery systems that Global Green will be helping deploy over the next year in major cities in California and New York. The organization will then compile the results of these pilots into a "Best Questions" guide to assist property managers and municipalities as food scrap recovery programs are rolled out across the country.

Global Green USA is dedicated to helping the people, places, and the planet in need through catalytic projects, transformative policy, and cutting-edge research. Global Green USA's signature programs include greening affordable housing, schools, neighborhoods, and cities as well as rebuilding communities -- such as New Orleans and areas of New York and New Jersey -- that have suffered from the impacts of climate change, sea level rise, and environmental degradation. Global Green USA is the U.S. affiliate of Green Cross International, which was founded by President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993 to foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future. For more information, and follow us @globalgreen.

Media contact:
Tina Vennegaard
[email protected]
310-581-2700 x117

Project coordinator:
Lily Kelly
[email protected]