Commercial Food Waste Composting

Commercial Food Waste Composting

By: Sam H. Black, attorney and past chairman of the Washington, D.C., Smart Growth Alliance Fall 2014
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.@cbredfw Dallas office #composting 240,000 pounds of food waste each year: via @NAIOP @cbregreen #sustainability
Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - 9:00am

CAMPAIGN: CBRE Environmental Sustainability

CONTENT: Article

Developers, property owners and tenants are becoming more sophisticated about waste disposal. No longer content to simply recycle, many are exploring and implementing new ways to reduce the amount of waste they send to landfills. It is becoming apparent that composting is a viable way to enhance a company culture of reuse, reduce waste hauling costs and attain higher LEED scores. Some jurisdictions, such as Massachusetts and New York City, have been in the news recently with composting programs.

Offices and Hotels

CBRE and Marriott International provide excellent examples of office composting programs. CBRE’s 67,000-square-foot office in Dallas features an approximately 2,500- square-foot employee cafe and numerous coffee service areas. As part of a plan to reduce its conventional solid waste stream with a composting program, CBRE has replaced all cups, flatware and plates with com-postable products, installed waste containers at coffee stations for all food-related waste, and developed a training program to help employees understand the new approach. The cleaning staff empties the contents of the waste containers into a loading dock dumpster provided by a compost hauler, Community Waste Disposal, which picks up the waste about once a month. The office now composts 240,000 pounds of food waste each year.

Susan Mehlenbacher, senior office operations manager for the office, said that CBRE implemented the program because it wanted to “walk the walk” on sustainability. She explained that the costs of composting are comparable to conventional waste hauling and are coming down. According to Mehlenbacher, the cleaning crew power washes the dumpster frequently to make sure that unattractive odors don’t develop during Dallas’ hot summers. She added that Dallas developers are “definitely taking composting into account” for LEED certification.

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CATEGORY: Environment