Organic waste accounts for a large portion of what companies discard in garbage bins every day. As a business, composting is the best solution to tackle your organic waste.
Companies in the Saskatoon region are now able to process a much wider range of organic materials and there are new options for organic waste collection.
WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON MY BUSINESS?
The savings a business will experience depend on the nature of your waste stream. Organics are typically 70% of waste in the hospitality and food service industry and make up 30%, on average, of the industrial, commercial, and institutional waste streams. Adding organics recycling is not typically an additional cost because the heavy organic material is removed from the waste stream, so less material is sent to the landfill. The per tonne processing rate for organics is lower than the disposal rate at a landfill, so the overall cost is reduced.
In addition to lower costs, adopting an organics program offers other subtle benefits to your company. With talk of environmental initiatives and policy changes in the news worldwide, companies in all industries are turning to environmentally responsible solutions for current procedures, including waste disposal. By opting in to an organic waste diversion program, you are illustrating to your customers your commitment to our planet’s wellbeing, ultimately attracting or retaining customers with the same values.
WHAT TYPE OF CONTAINER SHOULD I USE?
The type and placement of organics recycling containers will be influenced by the space available at your facility. Several options are available to accommodate your facility’s needs, including roll-out carts and one-cubic-yard totes. Larger metal bins are available for companies in seasonal industries that produce large volumes of organic waste. Accessibility and storage are important considerations for businesses. Companies are already disposing of organic material in their waste stream, therefore only minimal changes are typically required to the company’s internal processes for managing organic materials before they are placed in the organics containers.
OUR PROGRAM CAN ACCEPT AND COMPOST ALMOST ANY TYPE OF EDIBLE ORGANICS EXCEPT LIQUIDS.
WHAT CAN I COMPOST?
Today’s modern organics facilities accept a wide variety of material. Traditional composting systems, including backyard static piles, trenching systems, and commercial windrowing, all have limitations based on how materials are broken down, reducing the types of organic waste that can be accepted in those systems.
Aaron Loraas, vice-president of Loraas Organics, explains the flexibility of modern programs. “Our program can accept and compost almost any type of edible organics except liquids. People are always astonished at what our new organics technology will break down compared to traditional systems. You’ll be able to include raw or cooked proteins, bones, grains and cereal products, and even solidified dairy products such as cheese.”
Loraas and his staff are in the final stages of opening a world-class organics processing facility just north of Saskatoon. The Loraas Organics facility uses aerated static pile composting technology. Fresh air and bacteria interact with the organic materials, creating heat during the organic breakdown process that is then trapped by a GORE® textile cover. The high temperature enables complex organic materials to decompose that are typically excluded from traditional composting systems.
The importance of composting for our environmental wellbeing boils down to one main aspect of the organic breakdown process: When organics decompose in a landfill, without the presence of oxygen and sunlight’s UV rays, they emit methane gas instead of carbon dioxide. Methane accounts for approximately 11% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. By using this new system, Saskatoon and surrounding communities can lower their greenhouses gas emissions by 75% and divert organic waste from landfill simply by tossing organic waste into green carts, totes, and bins.
Traditional composting has worked in the past for the basics, like grass clippings, leaves, wood chips, and a small amount of garden waste. Loraas explains, “This modern technology provides an alternative solution for businesses. At-home composting systems are fantastic and they work, but they usually do not have the capacity to handle waste outputs on a large scale and do not encompass the full spectrum of organic waste that our organics program can. We can now divert almost all food waste from landfill, and it’s convenient for the commercial customer.”
Packaging is another hindrance for businesses when it comes to properly recycling organic waste. Loraas Organics uses technology to address this issue through a specialized program that removes packaging from organic material. This option allows large producers of organic waste, such as grocery or wholesale stores, to conveniently and cost-effectively use the organics program. Acceptable packaging includes aluminum or tin cans and soft or rigid plastics. Examples are salad in a bag, canned chili, or strawberries in a clam-shell-style container. Glass is the only packaging material restricted from this specialized program for businesses.
YEAR-ROUND ORGANICS RECYCLING
Businesses produce organic waste throughout the year. New organics technology functions even in Saskatchewan’s harsh winters and therefore processes organic waste year-round.
“Our facility uses natural elements in the decomposition process. For example, natural heat that’s generated from organic decomposition is harvested and aids in a quicker breakdown process,” says Loraas. This new facility has high levels of controls for odours and pests, unlike traditional composting processes. When the breakdown process is completed, the final product smells like fresh garden soil. “Because of the heat and precise controls, our facility turns organic waste into compost in a matter of weeks rather than months or even years. Best of all, this compost is dense with nutrients, which is perfect for plant fertilizer or replacing lost topsoil in agricultural production.”
Organics recycling is now a reality in the Saskatoon area. Commercial and industrial companies now have several options for managing organic waste. Those that are new to organics recycling will be able to make small changes as they select the most convenient, cost-effective method of managing their waste streams. Businesses that are experienced with organics recycling can now expand their compositing effort to accommodate a wider range of materials.
First published in the June 2019 edition of The Business Advisor.