A1 Organics, one of the only processors in the region that accepts food waste for composting, has put waste haulers throughout the Front Range on notice that the compostables stream coming from both residents and businesses has reached unsustainable contamination levels and must be cleaned up in order for it to continue to be accepted for composting. Beginning next month, contaminated loads are subject to rejection and landfilling. In order to produce clean, quality compost, organic waste is held to an extremely low contamination threshold. One plastic bag can contaminate an entire load of material. Sorting compostables is a very straightforward.
Click here for Compost Guidelines
Click here for Letter From Western Disposal about changes
Click Here for info on ways to eliminate contamination from compost
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO ELIMINATE CONTAMINATION? (from A1 Organics)
Simplify your waste stream
Simplify your waste stream by using only reusable or compostable items. For in-house dining, it is best to use reusable dishes, cups, and utensils. If you are using approved compostable products, make sure that all of your serving containers, dishes, utensils, cups, and containers are CMA Certified & BPI Certified compostable. All containers then can go in the organics recycling container.
Assess all items available
Assess all of the items in common areas and break rooms for staff and make sure they are reusable or compostable. As much as possible, eliminate things like non-compostable plastic utensils, plastic straws, stir sticks, packaged condiments, and individual coffee creamers. Offer things like cream and sugar in bulk or in refillable containers.
Simplify what or where you collect it
If you continue to notice contamination issues, consider simplifying what you collect or where you collect it. Food is the most valuable material to collect for organics recycling, so you could switch to collecting food waste only in situations where you have contamination issues. You could also stop collecting organics in challenging areas, like public facing areas.
Make sorting & regular training mandatory
Make regular training on waste sorting mandatory. Offer regular training to cleaning and janitorial staff on how to properly sort waste and use the correct dumpster or compactor for each waste stream. Offer training when on boarding new staff, and require current staff to be trained twice per year.
Place clearly labeled bins together
Place bins for recycling, trash, and organics recycling together. Make sure bins are labeled, that labels are placed properly so they are visible to the users, with additional signage hung on the walls. Make it simple.
Control access to organics containers
Depending on the location of your organics containers, consider controlling access to prevent unwanted dumping. Lock the containers or have smaller capacity containers with individual representatives responsible for the auditing and dumping of specific container.
Have Staff Separators
Provide a staff member to do department audits and provide in-the-moment separation for the customer. This is a next level service for the customer and an in person opportunity to educate the guest.