3 Tips for a Low Waste Halloween

Halloween! Such a fun fantastical holiday when you can really be whoever you want to be:

  • Storm from the X-Men?
  • Willy Wonka?
  • Or popular and scary Freddy Krueger?

Well, even scarier might be the incredible amount of plastic waste generated during this holiday. One study estimated that the UK tossed over 2,000 tons of new plastic waste from throwaway Halloween clothing alone during the 2019 holiday. Whaaaaa? That’s scary. And that isn’t even counting waste from candy wrappers and jack-o-lanterns.

Good news, though. This is avoidable!

In any case, there is a good chance that some waste will be avoided this year because of COVID since trick-or-treating won’t be allowed in many places. But here are 3 easy things to do to reduce waste during Halloween.

1.) Make a Jack-o-lantern!

Get your pumpkins, everybody! But roast the seeds. Also, when your pumpkin starts to go, put it in your yard debris bin or compost pile to be composted instead of throwing it in the trash.

2.) Get creative with your costume. Say no to single-use.

Tim as Alastair Moody!

Do you have your costume or your kiddo’s costume dialed in yet? Here’s a reminder to get creative rather than buying a brand new packaged plastic firefighter suit.

  • Can you buy a second-hand suit from the thrift store?
  • Can you avoid using costumes with pieces of plastic that will just fall off and end up in the yard?
  • Can you use non-toxic face paint and makeup?
  • Channel your inner DIY ninja!

We wrote a whole blog about DIY costumes a few years ago!

Tess as the Loch-Tess Monster!
Kailey as Guess Who’s Maria!

3.) Can we green-up the trick-or-treat candy?

Even if you aren’t going trick-or-treating, there are better ways to buy candy to reduce waste. Here are a couple of ideas:

  • AlterEco has compostable wrappers.
  • Choose candy that comes in cardboard boxes or foil so that you have recyclable wrappers.
  • Can you find your favorite candies in the bulk section at Bend Food 4 Less, Market of Choice, or Fred Meyer​, for example?

Less Wasted Food on Farms featuring Boundless Farmstead and Rainshadow Organics.

We in Central Oregon, despite our fame as a semi-desert, are incredibly lucky to have dozens of local food proprietors. From dairies to alpaca farms, from egg-specialists to vegetable gurus. If we’re intentional, we really can live off of only locally sourced food. That is special.

Our national food supply chain has been tested and broken during this time baring an increase in food insecurity AND wasted food: what a confusing dichotomy in a sentence. How can that be? Hungry people and wasted food? I’m not going to even try to out-write Michael Pollan. He has thoroughly and eloquently explored this topic here in his article for the New York Times, “The Sickness in our Food Supply.” Interestingly, as he points out, local farms have been a little more resilient during the COVID pandemic than some large-scale national or multi-national farms. Although coronavirus caused a hard hit to many of our local farms as meat and vegetable suppliers to local restaurants, the farms were able to expand their CSA offerings to reach more local people in a different way. And luckily, our farmer’s markets are all opening this year! Luckily for us and luckily for all of the farms and local businesses who rely on them to exist.

Two Local Farms and Wasted Food Prevention

I got a chance to ask a few questions about food waste on the farm to the amazing folks at both Boundless Farmstead (featured in the header photo)  and Rainshadow Organics (featured in the photo at the end of this article).

First, tell us who you are and what you do for your farm.

Rainshadow: My name is Eleanor Babcock and I am Rainshadow’s Farm Store/Outreach Manager. I manage CSA and farmers market logistics, run our Farm Store, plan and organize our farm to table events, manage website updates, write emails and blog posts, assist with social media marketing, and keep up with general communication and inquiries to the farm.

Boundless: We are David and Megan; farmers, co-owners, and partners in everything.

Why is food waste prevention important to you?

Rainshadow: Spending almost two years at Rainshadow has allowed me to truly experience the seasons of farm food. We begin by planting seeds, which must be closely monitored to ensure proper germination. Once they become seedlings they are very vulnerable to temperature swings and sunlight. We work hard to provide our baby food plants the right environment to grow. We keep them moist and warm, cover them when they need it, and monitor their overall growth. Once the plants are established we harden them off in a propagation house to wear them into the outside environment. Then, once they are big enough, they are transplanted into the ground where they need to be cultivated and weeded many times as they grow bigger. Central Oregon can be harsh and we are constantly covering and uncovering our transplants to ensure they stay at a comfortable temperature. Once they become mature, we harvest, wash, pack, and deliver the food where it is meant to go.

This all being said, my time at Rainshadow has illuminated the amount of energy and constant care it takes to raise organic food. Now that I know how much work and time it took to grow my food, food waste is of the utmost importance. I think it is incredibly important for the community to be aware of how long it takes for their food to grow and how much energy the farmers put into their food, from seed to table:

  • It takes 14 months for an onion to be ready to eat.
  • Potatoes spend eight months in the ground before they are ready to harvest.
  • Tomatoes take 5 months to begin to produce fruit.

And during that time, the farmers are constantly caring for the plants to ensure maximum nutrient-density and production. Once I became aware of that work, wasting good, edible food felt like throwing away time and energy.

What are some things that you do on your farm to prevent food waste?

Boundless: Our entire business is focused on the reduction of food waste for environmental, economical, and social reasons. Environmentally, by growing more food than can be consumed, we are using our precious water unwisely and not using our resources to their full potential. Our farm was founded on our love for the environment and the natural world. We would be doing a disservice to our mission and to our earth by not responsibly utilizing the resources given to us. Economically, by growing more food than can be consumed, we are spending more of our finances on labor, seeds, amendments, etc. Farms already operate on very slim margins and it is crucial we act with efficiency. Socially, by growing more food than can be consumed, we are not growing a fair and equitable product or business.

Of course, to participate in our capitalist society, we must sell some of our product for money. But, by doing so, we are also enabled to donate the remaining product to food pantries. When we can meet our bottom line and have enough money to live personally sustainable lives, then we are able to donate more food.

Our food waste prevention starts at the beginning of the farming process: the crop planning. At Boundless, we do extensive crop planning by talking with chefs/buyers about their needs for the upcoming year, reviewing our numbers from the farmers market and CSA, and comparing year after year. By doing so, we are able to plan exactly how many vegetables we need to seed and plant to reach our harvest goals. During crop planning, we add in a “safety factor” and increase our plantings by 20-30% to ensure we have the quantity we need for the harvest desired. After the harvest begins, we are able to utilize our three outlets (farmers market, CSA, and wholesale) to diversify the potential of products being consumed. If we have a large quantity of something, we talk with our chefs about doing specials, or we do discounts for consumers desiring to do preservation products, etc. When there is product left over beyond the sales outlets, we work closely with the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance and Bend Food Project to either directly donate produce or utilize their “glean team” to help us glean product from the farm.

We also use a lot of “small” food waste prevention techniques including a fast and clean harvest/post-harvest, so that products last longer out of the field, using “seconds” for home preservation or fermentation projects, working with chefs to use our less than perfect produce for items like pestos, purees, etc., and doing twice-weekly whole field walks to determine how all crops look and how best to utilize them in the coming weeks.

Rainshadow: I think many of our interns/apprentices and full-time farm staff are truly aware of the energy it takes to produce food. We don’t find ourselves with much edible food waste on the farm. We have a commercial kitchen where we are licensed to pickle and ferment excess vegetables. Our full-time chef, Travis Taylor works hard to preserve all our extra food as it comes out of the field. If we have any food waste on the farm it is either fed to the pigs or fed to our compost piles which makes a closed-loop circle on the farm. When we feed our compost or moldy/excess food to the pigs, we are transferring that energy to create new food. When we add food waste to the compost, we are creating food for our soil microbes and providing our plants with the necessary nutrients.

What are some barriers to food waste reduction you have encountered or noticed on your farm or on other farms?

Rainshadow: I feel we have implemented many systems to help us reduce any food waste on our farm. We have many different food streams to share our food with the community. We feel so fortunate to have so many outlets for our food. Our commercial kitchen and preservation helps us really mitigate any waste from excess or abundant crops. I could see farms that have more narrow outlets for selling and preserving food having trouble with extras coming out of the field.

Boundless: The biggest barrier we have found on our farm is the lack of time and labor to always be able to donate produce. For example, every late spring, we transition our greenhouses from early-season crops to midseason crops. Typically, we transition beds of spinach, lettuce, salad mix, and arugula, to something like peppers and tomatoes. When the time finally comes to till in the early season crops, we like to cut all of the remaining usable crops and donate them. In 2018 and 2019, we called on HDFFA’s glean team to help us harvest, wash, sort, pack, and deliver. This process would have taken David and me nearly half a day to complete, plus drive time. With the glean team, we are able to donate about 100lbs of greens in less than two hours.

In 2020, due to COVID concerns, we were unable to have the glean team out. When the time came to transition our tunnels, I felt at a loss on how to make it happen. David and I were both completely slammed with farm work and couldn’t take the extra hours to do all of the work needed to donate. Luckily, Seed to Table heard our plea and was able to come to the rescue. We were able to harvest all of the greens, and Seed to Table was able to do the wash, sort, and delivery to food pantries. Without their help, I do not think we would have been able to donate.

Do you have any book / film / lecture recommendations to help folks better understand food waste or innovations to prevent it? And is there anything else you would like to add?

Rainshadow: I really recommend that our community checks our Project Green Bin. This home-composting program collects food scraps from households in Bend and transports them to Rainshadow where they are fed to our pigs. It’s a win-win as our community members now have a stream for their food waste and we contribute to the growth of our tasty pork! If the pigs choose not to eat the scraps, it decomposes in their pasture and feeds the soil we use to plant wheatgrass or triticale in the spring.

  • Rethink Waste: One of our newest Deschutes County hotels, SCP Redmond, has partnered with Project Green Bin and Rainshadow to add their commercial food waste to your pig pen. They also buy back some of your produce and meat products. What a nice local way to close the loop! Also, have you been to their rooftop bar yet?

Boundless: I would recommend everyone buy a canning book or two and get some preservation under their belt! Pickled items and jams are a great way to use “seconds” and are very safe ways to begin canning and preserving!

I would love to add that, as a small farmer, we need our community to have flexibility in aesthetics to ensure minimal food waste. The food that comes to the grocery store is the cream of the crop (pun intended). Those items have been selected for their aesthetics before being shipped off, and then picked through again once they come to the grocery store. There are two points of food waste already in the chain. When we bring our items to the farmers market, most small farms will do some sorting, but we do not want to waste products we know are nutrient dense, super fresh, and maybe just look different than what we are used to. So please, buy the twisted carrot, the split tomato, or the flea beetle bitten arugula, because every piece of produce brought to market was treated with the same love and care as the next, even if it looks a little different.

A Rainshadow pig eating a Rainshadow squash.

Composting when you don’t have a yard or a public service.

  • I live in a small apartment and there is no composting on the property.

  • I have a yard, but my HOA says I can’t have a compost pile.

  • I live outside city limits so I don’t get yard debris service and I don’t want to deal with a compost pile.

Do any of these statements sound like you? I’m here to help! First, learn to reduce your wasted food as much as you can. Here is a link for tips and tricks to do just that with the Rethink Food Waste Challenge. Second, below are a few options that might work for you.

1.) Get a worm bin: learn vermiculture.

Vermiculture, or worm cultivation, is for you if you mainly have fruit and vegetable scraps. In addition to produce, worms will eat eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds with the filter, and shredded paper. Some sources say other stuff as well: do your own research. Worms can live outside if you insulate their bin. The laundry room or garage is another good place to keep them. Another cool thing: our local Wonder Worman can supply your worms! Here is our guide to Worm Bin Composting for everything you need to know.

2.) Find a friend with a compost pile you can add to!

Or find one who has chickens or pigs. My chickens love any veggie scraps I will spare them.

Scrap-happy chickens from one Rethink Food Waste Challenge participant.

3.) Hire Project Green Bin to pick up your compost.

Project Green Bin is a service here in Central Oregon that will come pick up your compost and take it to Rainshadow Organics where it gets fed to their pigs. You can close the loop by turning your scraps into pork.

4.) Try out Bokashi: a Japanese method of anaerobic composting.

This method sounds really great! I’ve never seen it in action, so will you test it out for me? Bokashi actually ferments food scraps (all food scraps) using microorganisms. Apparently, it has no odor whatsoever. Check out Face Down Waste’s blog post for one person’s experience.

How do you compost?

Community Grants Awarded For Waste Reduction

Five organizations / businesses have won a grant from The Environmental Center’s Rethink Waste Community Grants Program to support waste reduction efforts!

Out of 30 compelling applications, there were three winning projects tackling single-use disposables, one working on diversion of wasted food, and one that addresses recycling contamination. The grants totaled more than $7,000.

We are so excited to have been able to fund the following projects:

  • Council on Aging of Central Oregon – to implement reusable bags for their Meals on Wheels community-based food delivery program for aging adults across Central Oregon
  • Central Oregon Community College – to design and install signage across campus for consistent and accurate education that addresses recycling contamination and encourages increased diversion of recyclables from the landfill
  • SCP (Soul, Community, Planet) Hotel in Redmond – to help implement an on-site composting program
  • Taco Del Mar: Bend and Redmond – to replace single-use disposable foodware and utensils with reusables for eat-in diners
  • Sunriver Owner’s Association – to replace Styrofoam single-use coffee cups with reusable coffee mugs in their establishment

Another round of Rethink Waste community grant applications will open this fall — stay tuned for more information on that!

Residential Composting Pilot in Bend

Last week, Bend Garbage & Recycling and Cascade Disposal announced that they’ll be introducing a residential food waste pilot program to some areas in Bend. About 300 households from each company will participate in the pilot, which allows customers to put more food in their standard yard debris bins for curbside collection and composting. (Raw fruit and veggie scraps can currently be added to this bin. During the pilot program, they will accept meat, dairy, bakery items, and more.) If all goes well, residential composting could be available to all of their customers sometime in 2019. We’re very excited to hear this news, because it’s estimated that 26% of Knott Landfill is food waste!

We have partnered with both haulers to provide food waste prevention information for those selected for the pilot, including an Eat First card: a tool from our Rethink Food Waste Toolkit that helps you separate out foods in your fridge that need to be eaten first so they don’t end up in the compost pile. Of course we want to keep food out of the landfill and turn it into beautiful and useful compost, but we encourage you to prevent food waste in the first place. Sign up for our Rethink Food Waste Challenge to learn more and access helpful resources around food waste prevention.

You can read the full press from Bend Garbage & Recycling and Cascade Disposal here.

 
View the article from from KTVZ.

Processing Your Compost for a Finished Product

The compost demonstration area at The Environmental Center is towards the back of the Kansas Ave Learning Garden. We were recently the recipients of a beautiful Little Free Library, installed on an old tree stump near the compost area. This was the perfect excuse to revamp this whole area to make it more attractive and user friendly. That involves moving bins, and if you’re going to move bins, well you might as well see if there’s any good compost in there to use. After a tough winter here in Central Oregon – with many weeks of not even feeding any fruit and veggie scraps to any of the compost bins as they were buried under snow – it was finally time to open things up and see how they look. While the top of the bins often still had unprocessed food scraps at the top, digging just beneath the surface revealed a ton of red wiggler worms – even in bins where we hadn’t put any – and well processed compost. Here’s how we deal with it so we have a nice finished product to spread.

TIP – Unless it s a tumbler/spinner kind of bin, add red wiggler worms to your bin, ASAP. Make sure they get regular food, and they don’t dry out in the summer heat. Come back to this blog post next spring.

Now, in order to get to the good stuff, and get it without the worms, I had to do a few steps. They are quickly illustrated in the pictures below,  but I’ll explain the process too.

Lay out a tarp next to your bin, and scoop it out, lift if off or dump out your compost bin onto the tarp. You can immediately scoop off bigger things like dried out paper or corn cobs, dried out avocado shells and pits, some uncrumbled eggshells, etc. These tended to be on top and around the edges where there was less moisture and less worm activity. Put them either back in the empty bin, or in a new spot or another compost pile that’s still working.

TIP – Find something you can use as a screen, not like a window screen but more like a grate, that can sit over a wheelbarrow. ReStores are good locations for these types of things.

If you have the space, pile the compost in pyramid piles on the tarp. Even one big pile will work to start. Worms like it dark and will burrow down low to avoid the sunlight. This allows us to scoop off the top relatively easy. Grab handfuls of compost, scan for worms, if you don’t see any then drop it onto the grate. Designate where you are putting your worms, like an empty bin, another compost pile, or even a temporary bucket. You can go relatively fast here – its okay if some worms are transferred to your garden bed – though keep in mind if you have kids working with you on this part, they will meticulously look for the worms, without really harvesting the compost. When you get to the clump of worms you can easily put them in their designated spot, and rebuild pyramids of compost so you can keep scooping off the top. (Eventually you’ll be at the bottom where most of the worms are, and at that point you just gather all that material to kick off your new round of composting.)

When your grate looks full, stop adding and scan it for any worms that you missed the first time. Then you can shake the grate, run your hands back and forth, anything to help break up the chunks of compost so mostly the little stuff gets through and the big stuff doesn’t. Knock off the top of the grate back into the new compost pile to continue decomposing. Keep doing this until your wheelbarrow is full. The fun part? Spreading it all out onto your garden beds. I know where I’ve already spread compost by looking for the bits of crushed eggshell pieces 🙂

You can keep going in rounds like that, or do it in spurts. Last week when I photographed this process, I did this process long enough to fill one wheelbarrow, which is a decent amount of compost to spread on garden beds. I wrapped the rest of the exposed pile in a tarp to keep it dark and moist until I have time to finish processing this week.

 

 

Avoid Leftover Leftovers

As mentioned in an earlier post, we create an additional 25% more waste over the holiday period, and a part of that can be attributed to the increase in holiday parties this time of year.  Food waste in America is actually a big problem – some statistics say that 40% of food is wasted between farm to plate. Forty percent. An average family throws away 300 pounds of food each year. That’s a lot of food, a lot of money, and it doesn’t even take into account all the resources that went into getting that food from farm to plate either. For anyone who wants to geek out on food waste – and learn a ton of great tips fro preventing it and reducing wasted food – check out SaveTheFood.org. I especially love their recipes that are specifically geared to making use of food that may normally get tossed. (Check out this soup that uses the whole carrot!) Now, here are some tips so you’re not adding to the problem.

 

Plan to Avoid Leftovers

If you’re hosting a party, sketch out a meal plan so you don’t buy – and waste – too much food. Delegating out what guests can bring? Be realistic. Everyone is not going to eat a slice of every kind of pie, so make sure you have all your bases covered but not to excess. Also, if you have a big meal planned, don’t fill your guests’ tummies with a lot of appetizers. That will ensure the big meal isn’t eaten and a lot will just go to waste. Hiring a caterer for a bigger event? Make sure they have the correct numbers of people who will attend so they can plan accordingly.

 

Plan for Leftovers Anyway

Whether you are hosting a big meal or attending a catered office holiday party, no matter how well you planned to avoid leftovers, you will still have some, so plan for how to transport them home. Ask guests to bring their own containers, have some backup zip lock bags available, or ask the caterer to set out To Go boxes. If there are platters that haven’t even been touched, look into your local food bank to see if they will accept a donation. Still have a bunch of leftovers? The freezer is your friend, your pause button on that food’s lifespan. Use it liberally.

 

Choose Reuse

Don’t have enough cups and plates to serve everyone? Your impulse may be to grab some disposables, but that just adds to the excess of holiday waste Americans are bringing to the curb this time of year. It’s important to remember that like many communities, plastic or paper cups and plates are not recyclable here in Deschutes County. Take a quick trip to any thrift store right now and you can stock up on everything you need, and even score on some holiday-themed varieties if you choose.  The best part?  Donate it all back to them after the party. You don’t have to store if for a whole year, and you get to find a new set again next year! If you don’t stock up on extra reusable cups or glasses yourself, you can always ask your guests to BYOC – Bring Your Own Cup. Really, it works. (And they will remember which cup is theirs throughout the night, reducing wasted drinks, cups, and your clean up in the morning.)

Prevent. Eat. Share. Donate. Freeze. Cook. Then Compost.

Composting is great and way better for our environment for many reasons than feeding a landfill. But this should be the last in a line of other wasted food tips. Fresh fruit and veggie waste can be composted in your backyard bin or yard debris bin if you have that service (or ALL food waste within Bend City limits). For other food waste, if you’re having it at a facility that you are renting out, check with their policies as they may participate in commercial composting for the rest of your food.  If you’re having it at a restaurant that already participates in composting, they will be doing this as part of their regular cleaning up. When you are booking a restaurant for an event, it’s good to ask if they compost. (This service is available to businesses like restaurants and supermarkets in Bend & Redmond City limits).  If they don’t already do this, they may be encouraged to participate if enough customers request this service, so it doesn’t hurt to ask!

 

If you liked this, you may be interested in our other recent holiday-related blogs, Handmade Holidays or Experience Based Gift Ideas. For more ideas, check out our page on how to Reduce Waste Over the Holidays.

3 Ways to Make Your Compost Stink (and how not to!)

1. Put a stick of butter in it.

Last week I dumped out the compost bucket under the sink at The Environmental Center, and at the very bottom was part of a stick of butter. Yeah, so that stunk up the compost pail, the kitchen, and then the outdoor bin for like 2 days. So if you want to make sure your compost bin doesn’t smell, don’t add food that has any animal products or oil/grease on it. No leftover salad that was tossed with dressing. No leftover rice that was cooked with chicken stock. No bread with mayonnaise on it. And definitely no sticks of butter.

TIP: Keep your home compost (yard debris bin included here) limited to fruit and vegetable scraps, spent coffee grounds and tea bags for a stink free bin!


2. Have a big kitchen compost pail.

If you dump out your kitchen compost pail and it stinks – before even adding it to the compost pile – it’s been sitting there too long and it’s begun to rot, probably in an oxygen deprived environment. If you are using something like a 5 gallon bucket or other large improvised container, the food is simply rotting before you fill it up. If you have a small container and it takes you awhile to fill that up, it’s a good reflection of your diet – you’re eating out, or eating prepared or packaged food and so you’re just not adding enough veggie or fruit scraps to fill it up in a reasonable amount of time.

TIP: Get a smaller kitchen compost pail and/or dump it out once a week regardless if it’s full or not (and order a CSA – you’ll fill it up with kale stalks in no time!)


3. Ignore It.

Have you seen the sticker, COMPOST HAPPENS! Well it does, but here in Central Oregon we need to do a little work to create the ideal environment for decomposers (the bacteria, fungi and little critters turning your food waste into nutrient rich compost) or else your bin might stink, or just not break down at all. Decomposers, like all living things, need FOOD (your veggie and fruit food scraps), WATER (get more in by adding water to your kitchen compost container before dumping it in your compost bin), and AIR (achieved through turning a compost pile, spinning a tumbler or adding worms.

TIP: Add worms! They do the work for you as long as you keep them fed and warm.


In the end, most of the time your compost bin should smell like good ‘ol dirt! If it doesn’t that’s just your signal that somethings up. Get in touch if you need some help troubleshooting your compost bin or getting started!

Email denise or call 541.385.6908 x14

 

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5 Things I’ve Learned From My Compost Pile

Composting can be intimidating.  Where do you start? (A pile is fine). Is it going to smell? (Sometimes, but that just indicates it needs a little love). How can I get my (husband/wife/partner/roommate) on board? (See saving money tip below). It can be tricky at first, but here are a few things I have learned along the way:

1. Anyone can compost, including me, including you.

If you don’t want to that’s fine too (here’s an option for you). But once I got going I realized it was easier than I thought, and wondered why I waited so long! (I’m just renting, we don’t have a lot of space, I don’t have the time etc.).

2. It really reduced my garbage!

Once I got most of my food scraps out, and dialed in my recycling, my garbage was mostly made up of plastic packaging: clamshells, blister packs, aseptic containers and other un- recyclables.

3. Composting saves money $

Now this won’t be true of every house and every situation, but when I started composting I was able to reduce my garbage pick up to an on call status.  Yeah, you can do that! The downside is after 6 weeks when our small bin would finally be full, and it REALLY needed to be emptied, we’d forget to call and would be reminded when the 6am garbage truck rolled around. Oops, one more week it is.

4. You don’t need a fancy bin, just a pile and some worms.

I’ve experimented with a few different styles, and what I like the best (because it was the easiest for me) was to add red wiggler worms to a pile.  No more turning, no more worrying about ratio of browns to greens, the worms do the work for you.

5. It connects me to nature’s cycles, and laws.

There is no “AWAY”. “Away” is Knott Landfill on 27th Street. So when I provide the right conditions for my organic waste to become food for decomposers to turn into nutrient rich compost, I’m just letting nature do what it does best.

If you’re new to composting, get in touch, we’ll help you get on the right track.

compost scraps

Newport Ave Market Awarded for Commercial Composting Program

Talk about reducing waste…since they started the commercial composting service with Cascade Disposal last May, Newport Ave Market has reduced their landfill waste by nearly 60%!  Check out the press release for the details:

BEND, Ore. – February 9, 2012 – Newport Ave. Market, a well known grocery store in Bend, Oregon, is proud to announce the store was honored with the inaugural Leadership in Composting Award by the Oregon Refuse & Recycling Association (“ORRA”) at the Capitol in Salem on February 7. The top three finalists for the award included The Portland Zoo, Albany Hospital, and Newport Ave. Market.

The market launched its composting program in partnership with Cascade Disposal in May 2011 in an effort to expand its commitment to the community and planet.

In the first week of implementing the program, over 2,100 pounds of food waste was collected for conversion into reusable gardening compost. Over the past six months, an average of 8,000 pounds has been collected each month from Newport Ave. Market. Introducing the composting program has allowed the Market to reduce its garbage contribution from 251 yards of garbage each month to only 104 yards, a decrease of nearly 60%.

Michelle Metzler with Waste Management of Oregon said, “Newport Ave. Market is an exemplary business utilizing an efficient composting program. Not only have they achieved significant waste diversion though composting, but they are also actively increasing the community awareness of the local compost program and being a strong advocate for its success.

Judging criteria for the award included demonstration of leadership in the promotion of  composting, community collaboration, educational success of a program, significant contribution to waste stream diversion, and active participation of staff and customers in the compost program. Newport Ave. Market was selected among hundreds of grocery stores, hospitals, restaurants, caterers, and sports arenas for its extreme commitment to its composting program.

About the Composting Program
Newport Ave. Market’s first priority is to donate lightly bruised produce and unsellable products to shelters in the community through its gleaner program. And secondarily, biodegradable items that are not edible are relinquished into the composting program. How it works? Cascade Disposal has provided Newport Avenue Market a secure container to dispose of food waste, such as meat, vegetables, seafood, bakery items, eggshells, coffee grounds, and more. Once a week, the food waste is picked up and delivered to Deschutes Recycling, where it is composted and screened to remove over-sized material, resulting in nutrient-rich compost. The compost is tested and will carry the US Composting Seal of Testing Approval ready for sale to the public.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have been honored with the award,” said Rudy Dory, owner of Newport Ave. Market. “The participation of our staff has made it all happen! We all have the satisfaction of knowing we are helping reduce the amount of waste going into the landfill.”

About Newport Ave. Market
Newport Ave. Market, founded by Dory and his wife Debbie in 1991, is a favorite destination in Bend for residents and visitors alike. The store prides itself on its “live locally, eat globally” attitude. The Dorys are committed to providing quality services and quality products in an environment that is unusual, inviting and fun to shop in. Newport Ave. Market is located at 1121 NW Newport Ave. in Bend, Oregon. www.NewportAveMarket.com for more information on the store.