OKEECHOBEE, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– In honor of America Recycles Day, Waste Management (NYSE:WM – News) and Publix today celebrated the opening of the Okeechobee Organics Recycling Facility – the most advanced aerated composting technology to process food residuals in South Florida.
The eight-acre facility, located adjacent to Waste Management’s Okeechobee Landfill, utilizes a forced aeration system with computer controls to regulate airflow and air treatment to process pre-consumer food waste from Publix stores — including produce, bakery and floral items — with yard waste into organic compost products.
“As the nation’s largest environmental solutions provider, our customers are asking us to help them meet their sustainability goals,” said Tim Hawkins, area vice president for Waste Management. “We’re very pleased to partner with Publix on the first dedicated organics composting site in South Florida to serve their needs.”
Waste Management trucks are collecting and transporting the organic material from 40 Publix stores in Miami-Dade County and two Publix GreenWise Markets in Palm Beach County in the first phase of the program. Over the coming months, Publix plans to add additional stores in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to the program.
“Publix commends Waste Management on moving the industry forward with the opening of their Organics Recycling Facility in Okeechobee,” said Kim Jaeger, Publix’s Miami media and community relations manager. “Our partnership with Waste Management presents an opportunity in fulfilling our mission to be intolerant of waste by diverting food waste that would typically be sent to local landfills. Publix’s continued success depends upon sustaining our environment, our community and our business.”
The Okeechobee facility is permitted to accept up to 30,000 tons per year, including 15,000 tons of food waste and 15,000 tons of yard waste, and is part of Waste Management’s strategy to expand organics recycling in Florida and throughout North America.
Garick, a subsidiary of Waste Management and leading manufacturer, marketer and distributor of organic lawn and garden products, is producing the lawn and garden products from the Okeechobee composting facility.
North America generates over 80 million tons of organic waste each year. In the United States, approximately a third of municipal solid waste is organic, including food, yard and wood waste. Approximately 65 percent of yard waste and 2.5 percent of food wasted collected in the United States is currently diverted from disposal.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), converting waste into valuable raw materials through recycling creates jobs, builds more competitive manufacturing industries, and adds significantly to the U.S. economy.
“As one of the nation’s largest residential recycling services provider, we’re always focused on how to improve recycling rates in our communities so that we can extract more value from the materials we manage,” added Hawkins. “Recycling is easy, good for the environment and good for our local economy and we encourage residents in South Florida that on America Recycles Day we think about recycling every day.”
Waste Management currently operates some 155 recycling facilities and processes approximately 10 million tons of recyclables per year. The company is now halfway to its goal of managing more than 20 million tons each year. In 2010, Waste Management recycled, reused, or managed enough material to fill a football field 2.11 miles high.
In addition to recycling traditional materials, Waste Management also offers a range of recycling solutions beyond residential waste. Through LampTracker®, the company offers mail-in recycling services for universal household waste, including compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and batteries. LampTracker® provides total-care solutions for the storage, handling, transport and recycling of fluorescent lamps for small, medium and large-scale businesses across North America. As of 2010, LampTracker® processed more than 75 million lamps with a goal of 90 million lamps processed by 2011. All of these programs will contribute to the company’s national sustainability goal of increasing the amount of recyclables it manages by 2020.
Please share the creative ways in which you are recycling on Waste Management’s Facebook Page or Twitter (@WasteManagement).
ABOUT WASTE MANAGEMENT
Waste Management, Inc., based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Through its subsidiaries, the company provides collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. It is one of the largest residential recyclers and also a leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy and landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. The company’s customers include residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout North America. To learn more information about Waste Management visit www.wm.com or www.thinkgreen.com.
Publix is privately owned and operated by its 147,500 employees, with 2010 sales of $ 25.1 billion. Currently Publix has 1,042 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee. The company has been named one of FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For in America” for 14 consecutive years. In addition, Publix’s dedication to superior quality and customer service is recognized as tops in the grocery business, most recently by an American Customer Satisfaction Index survey. For more information, visit the company’s website, www.publix.com
Cutline: Waste Management opens the Okeechobee Organics Recycling Facility, which accepts pre-consumer organic waste from 42 Publix super markets in South Florida, on America Recycles Day, November 15th. Photo credit: Steven Martine
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