Velcro Canada’s Brampton plant has committed to making responsible use of resources by becoming a “Zero Waste to Landfill” facility. One of the biggest challenges? Figuring out how to close the loop on organic waste.
Recycling food waste produced by employees isn’t as easy as recycling office paper and nylon scraps. Traditional waste management providers were offering only large collection totes for the loading dock. As an open-air facility short on dock space, Velcro knew that accommodating big, foul-smelling waste bins wasn’t going to work. As an alernative, the company tried placing outdoor compost bins in the parking lot. But volunteers for the less-than-glamourous job of tending to the bins were, understandably, hard to come by.
A tip from Partners in Project Green provided the solution: Green Bins Growing, by Collingwood, Ont.-based Wastenot Worm Farms.
Wastenot provides a food waste recycling service suited to mid-size organizations. Small, attractive collection bins are provided for facility lunchrooms, to collect food scraps, coffee grounds, and past-date products. Wastenot comes in weekly to empty and clean the bins, and takes the food waste to feed the hundreds of thousands of worms at owner/operator Jocelyn Molyneux’s earthworm hatchery.
Wastenot’s hard-working red wiggler worms up-cycle organics into worm castings, a high-value bio-fertilizer that is bagged up and sold as an alternative to synthetic chemical fertilizers.
A portion of the worm castings produced are returned to the client. This year, Velcro Canada opted to use theirs in conjunction with an on-site tree planting — part of the company’s participation in the People Power Challenge. Castings help new trees establish a strong foundation, and help supercharge the soil with microbes, hormones and bio-available nutrients that support root growth.
Since implementing the Green Bins Growing food waste recycling service last fall, Velcro Canada has up-cycled almost a full tonne of food waste, creating more than 200 lbs of worm castings.
“Working with a small, local provider like Wastenot ensures we get personalized service that improves our environmental performance,” says Velcro Canada’s Quality and Environmental Manager Tal Rafailov. “They suggested we switch to paper plates and wooden stir sticks, which are accepted in their bin, to cut down on garbage. With great service providers and motivated employees, we achieved an 83.48% diversion rate for January to July 2015, and a 90.86% diversion rate in July 2015.”
Adds Leah Barker, Velcro Canada’s environmental co-op student from the University of Waterloo, who helps coordinate facility recycling: “Employees feel good about using the bins, knowing their leftovers are feeding worm families that convert our waste into soil.”
Adopting a food waste recycling solution to keep organics out of landfill helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — and up-cycling the material locally, with help from a team of diligent earthworms, takes it well beyond Zero Waste. By taking advantage of the potential of Green Bins Growing, Velcro Canada is demonstrating regenerative sustainability, and securely closing the recycling loop to create a better tomorrow.
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|Green Bins Growing by Wastenot Worm Farms||Velcro Canada|