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Municipal Solid Waste

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current projects and examples of previous projects and grants awarded by the EPA Region 5 solid waste program

Tool kit for food waste programs

EPA Region 5 funded a grant to the Econservation Institute to develop a tool kit for food waste programs. Food waste is a relatively un-recovered waste stream, and is growing in recovering it for composting or other types of management. This project will develop a best practices toolkit for residential and non-residential food waste programs. It will research several different programs, develop a toolkit for food technology transfer, and then disseminate the information in the toolkit via conference presentations and webinars.

Indianapolis' Enhanced Sports Stadium Recycling Program

This grant supports enhancement of existing recycling programs at both Lucas Oil Stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse, home to the Colts football team and Pacers basketball team. Recycling is low – approximately 6% at Lucas Oil Stadium – at both venues. The City of Indianapolis has partnered with both Lucas Oil Stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse and other organizations to develop and implement a plan that will increase recycling. Specific objectives include identifying recyclables in the current waste stream, developing and implementing a holistic recycling education campaign, increasing awareness of recycling options, increasing recycling tonnage, and improving the facilities' environmental impact. By the end of the grant period the stadium projects to increase its diversion rate from 6% (2.5 tons/month) to 12% (5 tons/month) while the field house will develop its baseline, establish a diversion goal and implement practices to achieve that goal.

Develop a Sustainable Growth Network for Regional Implementation of Byproduct Synergy

Working with the State of llinois and other interested stakeholders, CMC developed a guide for implementing Waste to Profit-type networks in other areas in Region 5. CMC also worked with stakeholders to develop an approach for regional and collaborative implementation. The Guide and the approach were shared and discussed at a Summer 2009 meeting in Chicago.

CMC stopped operations in 2010 and no longer operates the Waste to Profit Network. The Delta Institute has acquired the Waste to Profit Network.

Establishment of the Chicago Waste-to-Profit Network and Development of an Online Database/Web Site Development

Region 5, along with the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois, supported the establishment of Chicago's Waste to Profit Network. The Network is a byproduct synergy effort, which facilitates the transformation of one company's waste, or byproduct, into an industrial input for another company. The first year report is available from EPA and case studies and overall results are on the website. More than 20,000 tons of waste were diverted from land disposal including food waste, glass, and plastic during the first year. To allow for increased participation in the second year of the Network, CMC adapted the online database of the United Kingdom's synergy network to support a data collection system for the Chicago Waste-to-Profit network. The system allowed better validation of data on synergy efforts. The project developed baseline synergy data for Chicago organizations and met the goal of diverting 20,000 tons of material from landfill by the end of 2008.

CMC stopped operations in 2010.

Chicago Multi-Unit Recycling Study

Chicago evaluated approaches for achieving a 30% recycling rate in multi-unit buildings. A recycling toolkit was developed for building owners, managers, and residents. It is available at www.chicagorecycles.org. The City piloted the toolkit with 20 multi-unit buildings in the 46th Ward. Four buildings underwent intensive waste audits during the pilot; the overall recycling rate at those buildings increased from 4% to 30%, diverting 133 tons of waste. The project group also suggested revisions to the current multi-unit recycling ordinance to improve recycling across the City.

Green Venues

Region 5 is working with large public venues such as stadiums and convention centers and events to assist them become more environmentally-sustainable through pollution prevention, recycling, energy and water conservation, use of local resources, leadership development, and environmental outreach to the millions of people who visit these venues. Specific work in 2009 includes the Chicago Stadium Recycling Initiative and development of a national green meeting standard.

Chicago Stadium Recycling Initiative

A Chicago Stadium Recycling Task Force, consisting of 5 major sports stadiums and 2 large convention centers, was established in January 2008. Baseline assessments were conducted for each venue and recommendations were made for improvements to recycling programs. Pilot projects were conducted aimed at enhancing collection efforts in executive suites, parking lots, concessions, and concourses. Two symposiums were held with operations managers, contractors, concessionaires, consultants and building managers to share experiences, successes and lessons learned. A ‘Stadium Recycling Guidebook' is being developed with model recycling practices applicable beyond Chicago. The project resulted in substantial increases to recycling tonnages at the participating stadiums of paper, packaging, and beverage containers.

Recycling with a Personal Touch Pilot Program

Milwaukee evaluated the effectiveness of several recycling education strategies. The Project's objectives were to evaluate three educational strategies that involved direct personal contact: (a) neighborhood school education; (b) door to door outreach by a community group; and (c) block captains. Each strategy was inplemented in areas with low recycling participation and compared to similar control areas. While the block captain strategy did not work effectively, the other two strategies led to more than a 60% increase in the amount of recyclables collected during the education program. Increases between 30-50% were seen 3 months after the education program ended. Overall, this project diverted more than 47,000 pounds of waste from disposal in the targeted areas. Using EPA's Waste Reduction Model, this can be translated to a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 19 MTCE which is equivalent to the emissions from over 1900 gallons of gasoline. Milwaukee will be incorporating these strategies into a city-wide recycling campaign in 2009.

Midwest Urban Recycling Forums

The purpose of the Midwest Urban Recycling Forums is to bring together urban recycling coordinators to discuss the challenges and opportunities for recycling in municipalities and share best practices. Forums were held in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Outreach and education on the Recycling Economic Information study results

The grant supported outreach and education on the Recycling Economic Information (REI) Study results at targeted trade shows. Public service announcements and interviews were developed and distributed to all MACRO states for use on radio. An exhibit was developed for the 14 MACRO states to utilize along with a companion brochure with study highlights and contact information. States coordinated registration and exhibit space and targeted outreach at several large trade shows with business, technology, legislative and financial audiences.

Recycling Drop-off Center Study

Ohio EPA conducted an in-depth study and analysis of drop-off recycling programs throughout Ohio. The study was designed to gain better understanding of program effectiveness and the factors that are important in maximizing effectiveness. Since OH EPA requires each of its 52 solid waste management districts to meet goals of diversion or access, a model for measuring the population access credit for each drop-off site and curbside recycling option was also developed.

Recycled Content Plastic Railroad Ties

Interagency agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the climate change impact of using railroad ties made from recycled plastic instead of ties made from treated wood. CERL will promote the test results on recycled content plastic railroad ties with the goal of increasing utilization of the product within the Federal government and commercial sectors. The market potential for this product is significant, and could result in the use of substantial amounts of recycled plastics.

Pay as you throw technical assistance in Ohio

As a follow-up to PAYT workshops held throughout the state in 1998 and 1999 (partially funded by Region 5), the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has provided communities interested in implementing PAYT with direct technical assistance. This technical assistance includes help in determining a price structure for the recycling program and responding to concerns of residents and/or community leaders.

Pay as you throw technical assistance in Indiana

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has been promoting PAYT to solid waste districts and individual communities for several years. Grant funds are being used to offer direct technical assistance to communities that are very interested in implementing PAYT, but require assistance in determining the price structure for the program and responding to community concerns. In addition, IDEM will be working with local waste haulers to promote the benefits of the program.

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Food Waste

Food waste is a relatively un-recovered waste stream, and is growing in recovering it for composting or other types of management. This project will develop a best practices toolkit for residential and non-residential food waste programs. It will research several different programs, develop a toolkit for food technology transfer, and then disseminate the information in the toolkit via conference presentations and webinars.

Upper Mid-West Roundtable and Demonstration of Compost Based Stormwater/Erosion Controls

Many organizations and groups in Region 5 states are interested in promoting the use of compost on managed lands both as a way to improve soil and water quality and as a way to build market demand for high quality compost. Storm water and erosion control projects can use compost to establish vegetative cover, retain soil, and improve storm water outflows during construction activities and along highways. Compost quality certification programs are now available as well as affordable, and more compost producers are willing and able to demonstrate the quality of their product. Highway designers have design and engineering questions about using compost; these questions need answers before compost can be added to the list of approved materials for highway projects. We have seen the benefits of using compost-based storm water and erosion control BMPs demonstrated nationwide from Texas to Idaho to Minnesota. At this roundtable we will share success stories, connect this audience with the resources they need and answer their questions, so that they can make informed decisions.

On-Line Meetings of Regional Compost Regulating Authorities

EPA Region 5 will work with regional states to develop a series of calls that will update states about the status of regulations across the region. The calls are also expected to cover several additional topics that the participants are interested in.

Food Waste Vermicomposting

The overall goal of this project is to reduce the amount of food waste sent to the landfill, and subsequently reduce the economic impact of waste removal, enhance the decomposition of food wastes, and produce a rich and high-value organic nutrient additive using worms during the composting process (thus turning prior “waste” into a sustainable product). EPA has funded the outreach portion of this project so that groups from outside the University can learn about the benefits of vermicomposting, and be inspired to vermicompost their own food wastes.

Compost Operators Training Manual Expansion and Training Sessions

This grant that will compile current research and information on food waste diversion, composting, and beneficial reuse that will be incorporated into the Michigan Compost Operators Training Manual. The MRC will develop high-quality assessment, training and support tools and materials that will be used to facilitate one statewide and two regionally focused food waste diversion training programs. These programs will be designed to bring pertinent stakeholders to the table to learn about the food waste diversion and composting process, to encourage open dialogue among stakeholders and to assist participants in overcoming obstacles and begin development of individual food waste diversion implementation plans. Success will be measured by the progress each participant makes toward the stated objectives and goals in their implementation plan. Our ultimate program goal is to be able to report new food waste diversion efforts and actual pounds of food.

Commercial Waste Reduction Toolkit

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will develop a Commercial Waste Reduction toolkit targeting paper and organic recycling. The toolkit will institute new and innovative waste management plans within a large corporate research and development facility and two universities. Food waste is the primary target within the organic category, but the potential exists to include landscape waste as well. The project will result in measurably reduced fiber and organic waste and ultimately, through training, outreach, transfer and duplication, within the partner district and all Ohio solid waste districts and authorities.

Organics Recycling

The project funds tasks which will enable Eureka Recycling to work with its network of residents and community partners to develop new and effective messages about residential organics collection. The environmental education effort is part of the City of St. Paul/Eureka organics recycling collection project which will begin when City budgets improve.

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