Getting to Zero Organics to Landfill

Getting to Zero Organics to Landfill

Co-Authored by Delaney Sondag and Payton Turkeltaub Aug 21 , 2018

Baldor Launches a Company-Wide Compost Program

These past few weeks have been a pivotal time in Baldor’s continuous journey towards zero waste. On August 2nd, 2018 Baldor launched a companywide compost program to divert all post-consumer organic waste from landfill. This program in tandem with Baldor’s SparCs program (which captures 100 percent of the excess food product generated from our Fresh Cuts facility) will bring us closer to our goal of becoming a zero organics to landfill company

A key component to the success of this program is education. Baldor’s Sustainability Team worked in collaboration with the NYC based consulting firm Common Ground Compost to develop a comprehensive recycling and composting training program. Over the course of two days, we offered eight training sessions that covered all aspects of Baldor’s waste sorting system. Quite a few questions arose during these training and we wanted to share them with you. We hope you find the answers to these questions helpful!


Where does the compost go?

All post-consumer food waste collected at Baldor is hauled to a material recovery facility where any contaminant (such as a piece of plastic) is removed. After this process is completed, the compost pile is transported to McEnroe Organic Farm in upstate New York. This is where the actual process of composting takes place, turning food scraps collected from our kitchen, cafeteria, and offices into rich, nutritious topsoil.


What goes in the compost bin?

Anything that was once alive can go in the compost bin. This includes all food, including bones, dairy, grains, meat, coffee grounds as well as paper products like paper towels, napkins, tissues, paper wrappers for straws, among other soft paper products.


What goes in the trash now?

Any product with a wax or plastic lining, such as chip bags and paper coffee cups cannot be recycled or composted. Flimsy plastic products like plastic shopping bags and produce bags also belong in the trash (more on this later).


Where do napkins go?

Napkins should only go in the white compost bin. They are made from a much lower quality material than paper. Because of the thin material they are made from, napkins break down easily. They act as a carbon source and assist in the breakdown of food scraps.


Where does aluminum foil go?

Aluminum foil can be recycled as long as there is little to no food in or on the foil.


Where do the paper cups go?

Paper coffee cups and soup cups go in the trash can. The disposable cups and soup bowls in our cafeteria have a plastic polyethylene lining, which is tightly bonded to the paper making the cups waterproof. This plastic coating makes coffee cups non-recyclable.


Plastic bags are made of plastic. Why can’t they go in the recycling bin?

There is a lot of confusion around how to properly dispose of plastic bags. They are not recyclable at Baldor. If plastic bags make their way into a recycling facility, they clog up sorting machines and snag conveyor belts, slowing the sorting process, increasing costs, and making the job more difficult.


While most recycling facilities are designed to only handle rigid plastics, special single stream recycling facilities can recycle plastic bags. This requires a separate collection point for plastic bags, which most curbside and commercial recycling haulers don’t provide. If you do want to recycle plastic bags, ask your local grocery store if they participate in a Store Drop-Off recycling program. These drop-off sites will also accept other soft plastics like produce bags, newspaper bags, ziplock bags and dry-cleaning bags.


Is there concern for the spread of disease when composting?

Unlike a backyard compost pile that can only handle small amounts of kitchen scraps and yard trimmings, an industrial composting facility is designed to process large amounts of organic waste. All disease-causing organisms are exposed to high heat during the composting process. Temperatures reach up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, killing harmful pathogens and eliminating the risk of disease spreading.


Will our compost bins attract fruit flies?

Baldor is only collecting compost, so fruit flies won't be an issue. The actually process of composting will take place off site. Fruit flies are attracted to moisture, so if you are composting in your home, the best way to get around fruit flies is to add a dry component to your compost, such as shredded newspaper or wood chips. This will create a higher ratio of carbon to nitrogen, keeping odors and unwanted bugs at bay.


Are rubber gloves recyclable?

It depends on the type of material the gloves are made of. Latex gloves are not recyclable. However, there are alternatives on the market that are recyclable or compostable; the challenge to recycling rubber gloves is properly separating this waste stream from other recyclable materials. 


The only feasible way to recycling single use gloves is to collect them separately and send to a facility that can properly handle this material. At the moment, Baldor does not have a program in place to recycle rubber gloves, so for now all gloves must be thrown in the garbage.


More questions? Contact us at for more information.


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