Sunday, December 20, 2009

The House Office Buildings (and soon the Senate) compost

The House Office buildings have implemented some great practices that should be replicated in other government and commercial spaces in the DC area:
* Switching to primarily fresh, organic, locally grown food sources (within 150 miles of the Capitol, wherever possible), thereby reducing packaging waste and fuel burdens for delivery.
* Banning Plastics and Styrofoam from use in kitchen and cafeteria. All Styrofoam® and plastic food service items have been replaced with fully compostable, American-made plates, utensils, cups, water bottles and glasses.
* Sending all food waste and biodegradable food service containers to commercial composting facilities. The House Office buildings use Bates Trucking to haul the compostable materials to Recycled Green Industries, a composting facility in Maryland and within cost effective hauling range of Capitol Hill.
* Instituting a Pulping Practice to extract water from the food service waste stream, reducing the weight of the waste by up to 50% and thus the fuel used to transport it, and making the waste ready for composting.

Since initiation of this program, more than 660 tons of landfill waste has been diverted to regional composting companies in 2008. Do you know of a restaurant or other location that should compost? Let them know about Bates Trucking, Recycled Green Industries, and EnviRelation.

1 comment:

  1. Ruthie from Community Forklift here - thanks for including us on your recycling list!!!

    Just fyi, the office of the Architect of the Capitol, which is in charge of the House and Senate facilities, is also great about donating building materials to us when they renovate or upgrade offices there. We've even gotten some funny things when they've cleaned out supply closets (for example, when indoor smoking was banned at the Capitol, they donated boxes of unused glass ashtrays to us, which an artist snapped up for a sculpture. We also got boxes of white chalk when the offices switched to whiteboards...which we passed along to some local teachers).

    Thanks for this great info!