Saturday, November 5, 2011

Wasteless In Seattle
Seattle Mariners & BASF Partner on Zero Waste Goal at Safeco Field 
The Seattle Mariners and BASF ... have joined together in a unique partnership to further the Mariners composting and recycling program at Safeco Field.

BASF partners with The Seattle Mariners and Safeco Field around compostable bags made with BASF’s Ecovio® bioplastic, a completely compostable plastic that is made partially of renewable raw materials - enabling sustainable development by reducing landfill waste and producing valuable compost. Ecovio® is the main component of the compostable liners used at all Safeco Field concession stands and kitchens as well as the individual compostable bags at seats at the KeyBank Diamond Club.

Because nearly all items used for the service of food at Safeco Field are compostable (cups, napkins, straws, utensils, paper trays, etc.), the Mariners now recycle or compost around 80% of all waste generated at games. Recycling efforts divert an estimated 900,000 pounds of peanut shells, leftover food, compostable service ware and grass clippings from the garbage stream each season. The use of compostable plastic liners and packaging contribute to the success of composting and recycling efforts by removing potential sources of contamination and making collection cleaner, hygienic and more efficient.
In addition to the 80% recycling/composting rate, the Mariners have reduced consumption of natural gas by 60%, electricity by 30% and water by 15% since 2006. Through a major capital investment program, the Mariners will continue to save an estimated $500,000 a year in utilities costs. These conservation efforts save the equivalent of 5.1 million pounds of CO2, and are equal to having planted 703 acres of trees and taken 344 cars off the road. The Mariners are committed to continuing these efforts because they are the “right thing to do,” and because they make good business sense.
BASF Corporation via Corporate Responsibility Wire
September 19, 2011

At (The Biz of Baseball) Ryan Stack points out:
The Mariners became aware of the idea before the 2010 season via the San Francisco Giants, who increased their recycling rate at AT&T Park by 57 percent from 2008 to 2009. The manner in which the Giants accelerated their recycling program's effectiveness, attaining a 75 percent rate in '09, caught the attention of the Mariners.

While at an annual meeting with MLB operations executives prior to the '10 campaign, the Mariners compared notes with the Giants to find out how that 57 percent figure had occurred. The Mariners discovered what was holding back their recycling rate, which stood at 38 percent at Safeco Field following the '09 season.

"We realized that if we started to buy compostable service ware, we could eliminate the landfill component from the front of the house," said Scott Jenkins, the Mariners' Vice President of Ballpark Operations.
The Mariners began working with Cedar Grove Composting, a local waste management business, and through there opened a supply line to buy compostable products. The number of recyclable/compostable food service products approved by Cedar Grove has grown from 70 to over 600 in just a couple years, said Susan Thoman, Director of Public Affairs for Cedar Grove.
What the new service ware products meant to the Mariners was an increase from that 38 percent rate in '09 to 70 percent for 2010. That figure improved to 79 percent for 2011. The uptick in recycling and composting allowed the Mariners to save $72,000 in landfill costs in '10, according to Jenkins. The team will save $95,000 in landfill costs this year. The Mariners project the landfill weight diverted this year to be 974 tons, which is slightly under 2 million pounds. A 90 percent recycling rate is Jenkins' next goal, which is a number that might not have seemed achievable in 2005. 

The Mariners produced a 12 percent recycling rate that year. It rose to 18 percent in '06, 25 percent in '07 and 31 percent in '08, a year in which Jenkins said they collected and recycled 4,000 tons of material at Safeco Field. That number shot up to 12,000 tons in 2010. By that point, the club had been charting its recycling program on spreadsheets or, as Jenkins called it, keeping score.
From 2007-10, the club drove down electric, natural gas, water and sewer costs by $1.21 million. Improvements made in 2008 – weather stripping on doors, faucet aerators, automated lights and thermostats – helped save $250,000 annually. But an energy audit and a $1 million investment into the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system spiked the annual savings to $500,000.  The replacement of 800-watt incandescent lights with 80-watt LEDs in 60 suites slashed energy consumption. "The beautiful thing with LEDs is they burn for about 40,000 hours whereas an incandescent goes for about 2,000 hours," Jenkins said.  Despite the higher price of brand-new LED bulbs, Jenkins said there will be a three-to-four year payback period on them. Lower wattage lights in suites also results in cooler room temperatures, which means lower AC rates. The installation of low-flow urinals helped lower their water consumption by 25.9 percent from '07 to '10.

A three-game promotion in April of Safeco Field soil made from recycled goods became a hit with fans. Jenkins said he was skeptical during the initial promotion night that the 5,000 nine-quart bags of soil the Mariners produced would be welcomed by fans. On the contrary, people scooped up the bags so quickly that by the third promotion – all on Monday nights – they were gone within minutes.
At the U.S. EPA noted that the project was awarded a $47,621 grant in June of 1999. In 1999, 22.31 total tons were recycled, with 33.46 tons CO2 greenhouse gases reduced and $3000 in avoided disposal costs. It is estimated that about 44% of the cardboard (OCC) and plastic bottles (PET) generated were recycled.
Seattle’s recycling rate soars to all-time high 
 For the seventh straight year, the Emerald City’s recycling rate has risen — hitting an all-time high of 53.7 percent.  The recycling rate for individual families rose to 70.3 percent.

According to the City of Seattle’s annual recycling report, ... the amount of Seattle’s solid waste diverted from the landfill and into recycling and composting rose by 2.6 percent in 2010, the largest year-to-year increase since 2006.
City Council President Richard Conlin, ... initiated the City’s Seattle Solid Waste Recycling, Waste Reduction, and Facilities Opportunities Study, or “Zero Waste Plan,” in 2007.
Seattle’s goal is to divert 60 percent of its municipal solid waste to recycling and composting by the year 2012, and 70 percent diversion by 2025.Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) estimates that residents and businesses will need to recycle and compost approximately 45,000 more tons a year in order to reach the 2012 goal.
SPU cites changes to the city’s curbside recycling and composting services, in 2009, as the primary factor in most of the 2010 recycling rate gains. In April 2009, Seattle allowed more items to be recycled and composted and made it easier for residents to participate through weekly collection of organics, as well as commingling of all recyclables into one cart. Three of Seattle’s four municipal solid waste sectors achieved record recycling rates:
  • The commercial sector’s recycling rate increased the most, going from 54.9 percent in 2009 to 58.9 percent in 2010. Strong markets for recycled paper account for most of the increase, followed by increased food waste diversion.

  • The single family sector increased by 1.6 percent, to 70.3 percent. Increased food waste collection accounts for most of this gain.

  • The multi family sector’s rate rose by 2.6 percentage, to 29.6 percent — a notable turnaround given this sector’s recycling rate decreased in 2009. Again, increased food waste collection drove most of this gain.
This year, Seattle launched several waste reduction initiatives, including mandatory food waste collection service for apartments and condominiums, as well as a new phone book opt-out system, which allows businesses and residents to choose which yellow pages phone books they want to receive and which ones they don’t want.

SPU will detail its long-term solid waste plans later this summer for public comment. Some of the city’s long-term strategies include mandatory recycling of construction and demolition materials and increased enforcement and education efforts.

Overall, Seattle disposed 335,570 tons of waste into a landfill in Arlington, Oregon in 2010 — 16,000 fewer tons than 2009, and more than 140,000 tons less than what the city land-filled in 2000. In addition to larger environmental impacts, it costs Seattle nearly twice as much to send material to the landfill, nearly 300 miles away, than to recycle it. Approximately half of the city’s garbage is still made up of recyclable or compostable material, primarily food waste, paper and construction materials.

The national recycling average is 32.1 percent. While each city calculates its diversion rates differently, Seattle, San Francisco and Portland are considered the national leaders in municipal recycling. Seattle's rate includes recycling set out for collection by businesses and residents, materials hauled to the city's recycling and disposal stations and on-site composting. Some other cities include private recycling of construction, demolition and hazardous materials in their diversion rate.

Learn more about SPU.
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City of Seattle Press Release dated July 20, 2011

New Seattle phone book opt-out card will be in mailboxes this month
Seattle residents and businesses are being urged to check their mail for a yellow postcard from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) that they can use to stop receiving unwanted phone books.

During July, the yellow cards are being sent to 280,000 residence and business addresses so that Seattleites who don’t have Internet access can select their phone book delivery preferences by mail.

Using just the stopphonebooks website since the program began May 5, Seattle families and businesses have registered more than 36,000 addresses with the City’s phone book opt-out service, declining delivery of more than 227,000 phone books this year.

“Preventing waste by choosing the phone books you don’t want is a good example of what sustainability means,” said Timothy Croll, SPU’s director of solid waste. “Last year, the average Seattle household got six phone books weighing more than 11 pounds. So opting out saves tons of paper — more than 200 tons per year already — and cuts down on greenhouse gas generation.  “Producing a ton of paper, even 100 percent recycled paper, means generating the equivalent of 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas.”

Last year the Seattle City Council passed an ordinance establishing the opt-out registry. During hearings, dozens of people told the council that the yellow pages publishers ignored stop delivery requests on their own websites. With the City program, publishers can be fined when they don’t honor requests.

As a result of the ordinance, the Phone Books Opt-Out Registry is funded by a fee charged to yellow pages publishers and is provided at no charge to users.

Seattle residents and businesses can also use the website to stop much unwanted junk mail. Croll acknowledged the irony of sending out mail to encourage people to stop junk mail but he pointed out that the mailer, which will use four tons of paper, is expected to help 28,000 more households and businesses stop 168,000 phone book deliveries, saving 150 tons of paper.

The stop phone books card also provides a phone number, (206) 504-3066, for people who would like to call in their requests
Two million yellow pages phone books are recycled in Seattle every year at a cost of approximately $350,000 to Seattle Public Utilities ratepayers.
The Council established a fee of $0.14 per book, likely declining to $0.07 per book after five years, to pay for the registry. Based on the principle of product stewardship where producers are responsible for recycling their products at end-of life, the legislation also imposed a cost recovery fee on yellow pages publishers, requiring them to reimburse the city for the cost of collecting and recycling discarded phone books, currently $148 per ton.

“This ordinance has national significance as the first phone book opt-out requirement in the country,” said Scott Cassel, Executive Director of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI). “PSI is using Seattle’s legislation, along with other legislative examples from around the country, to create a model bill for states and municipalities that are ready to follow Seattle’s lead.” 
City of Seattle Press Releases dated October 10, 2011 and May 4 and July 8, 2011.

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