Report on 8/16/01 Recycling Forum at Salt Lake Olympics
By Gary Liss
Consultant to GrassRoots Recycling Network
Salt Lake Organizing Committee (SLOC) for the Olympics convened a Recycling
Forum on August 16 in Salt Lake City that I attended on behalf of the
GrassRoots Recycling Network. A lot of progress was made, but more remains
to be done. Below is a list of the recommendations from that meeting,
and a list of the attendees. GRRN is hopeful that top management of the
Olympics will adopt these recommendations quickly to enable staff to accomplish
as many of these as possible in the short time remaining before the Olympic
Forum supported a two-bin system for Front of House (FOH) areas where
the spectators would be located. The Forum agreed that it was important
to engage the public in separating materials as part of the Olympics
Zero Waste goal. The Forum also felt that SLOC had DESIGNED OUT WASTE
from FOH, and felt that should be part of the message of Zero Waste
included in the SLOC Solid Waste and Recycling Plan, and education and
agreed to goal of greater than 90% diversion of waste from landfills
and incineration to be included in SLOC Solid Waste and Recycling Plan.
Forum encouraged SLOC to highlight the penalties to the contractor for
not meeting its 85% diversion goal and the incentives for the contractor
to go beyond that.
Forum supported multiple source-separated streams for Back of House
(BOH) areas where athletes and media will be located, for office paper,
cardboard, and other materials for which SLOC is still working to develop
programs. SLOC will source separate food waste and other compostables
from BOH food preparation areas.
announced that they are negotiating with companies to provide biodegradable
plates and bowls for all food services. If they are able to get those,
SLOC would like to customize menus to be able to be served in the products
commercially available. The Forum did not expect much food waste or
food paper from FOH, given the price of foods to be sold. Any compostables
collected will be recovered at the MRF and composted. Reject materials
and impurities will be removed through a positive sort and screening
at the MRF, and all organics will be composted.
stringent security plans will require all participants to go through
magnetic screens (like at airports) and searches of bags being carried
into the venues. No glass will be allowed from the public on site. No
food and beverages will be allowed in from the public. This will eliminate
most of the contamination problem experienced with the recycling system
at the Sydney Olympics.
will use and wash reusable utensils in the Olympic Village. SLOC will
use a variety of substitutes for traditional food and service items
(detailed below). SLOC will not provide box meals for Opening or Closing
ceremonies, and will limit box meals to only volunteers or staff that
cannot come to central locations. Box meals will be placed in paper
bags, which will be composted. Most athletes will be served deli or
hot meals in central locations.
Forum recommended use of biodegradable bags to line collection bins
if technically and economically feasible. If that doesn't work, the
Forum recommended SLOC explore with TREX to recycle the liner bags to
Forum supported training all 18,000 Olympic volunteers on solid waste
and recycling messages (including "Clean as you go"), and
to solicit volunteers from corporate sponsors specifically to help monitor
and educate on source separation system. SLOC will add educational section
about this to Staff and Volunteer Handbook that is almost done.
used recycled content building materials in the 3 buildings that needed
to be built for the Olympics. C&D materials that are expected are
cardboard, wood, cabling and carpet. SLOC intends on composting wood,
recycling cardboard, and having vendors take back as much carpet and
other items as possible. Details will be included in SLOC Solid Waste
and Recycling Plan.
will sell equipment and furniture at dissolution of SLOC at end of March
agreed to explore the use of leases, "net-cost" purchase agreements
(cost to SLOC AFTER considering level of buyback of collection bins
from SLOC), or sharing costs for recyclables bins with surrounding host
cities and local commercial venues to reduce the costs of obtaining
additional recycling bins needed for 2-sort system.
Forum supported use of different colors for the FOH bins and lids, to
help clearly identify acceptable materials. The Forum supported blue
bins to be used for bottles and cans, with clear consistent signage
for the bins at eye level and on the bins. Forum supported having an
opening appropriate for the items to go into it, on the side of the
container. Forum supported different colored bags for liners to match
uses of the bags, to be co-collected in same trucks. The Forum supported
use of clear bags BOH so MRF workers can see what's in the bags. The
Forum supported the use of a mix of whatever containers are available
or most economical for BOH, including existing 750 garbage containers
in venue areas, and possible use of rolling carts and cardboard collection
containers indoors. The Forum supported the use of cleaning staff multiple
sweeps through bleachers at venues to collect bottles and cans for recycling
in different bags than other materials.
Programs: Green Valley Recycle & Compost, LLC (GVR, the MRF and
compost operator) has arranged for 2 composting sites: one in Davis
County next to Wasatch Landfill and one near Salt Lake City Airport,
close to their MRF (on the grounds of Weyerhaeuser). GVR will use a
variety of composting technologies, including package commercial systems
(e.g., NaturTech and Earth Tubs), and an aerated static pile. This is
one of the major recycling legacies of the Olympics, as there have been
NO food waste composting facilities in the region to date. GVR is developing
a 12-year agreement with Weyerhaeuser. The Forum encourages communities
in the Valley to collect commercial food waste from restaurants, hotels,
venues and Special Events after the Olympic Games for composting in
Forum asked SLOC to complete a final Solid Waste and Recycling Plan
in a form that could be posted on their website and be made public,
to highlight all the things that are going to be done.
Forum proposed that the two sorts of "Resource Recovery Stations"
be "Bottles and Cans" and "Mixed Recyclables." The
Forum did not support including paper with bottles and cans, as it was
felt the liquids from the bottles and cans in this setting would contaminate
the paper. As Salt Lake City collects paper from its street-side recyclables
containers in the downtown area outside the Olympic venues, it would
have been more consistent for attendees to have paper included in with
bottles and cans. A compromise struck was to have paper reuse bins at
entrances and exits to supplement the basic 2-bin sort on a limited
Forum did not support having a "compostables" stream in FOH
areas, as it was felt there would be little materials for this stream,
and it would be more confusing to the public. Any compostables collected
will be recovered at the MRF and composted.
because GVR has committed to achieving 85% diversion without any FOH
source separation, it is difficult to project how much more diversion
could be obtained from a more aggressive source-separation program.
The SLOC Solid Waste and Recycling Plan will still rely significantly
on the processing system to accomplish its Zero Waste goal.
indicated that they would still use "portion control" packages
for condiments, although they will place them in self-serve area rather
than giving to everyone automatically. SLOC will use fountain drinks
and cups, and don't have a market for the cups. Other problem materials
still remain, including: FOH utensils (they have not found any biodegradable
ones that work well), cups for fountain drinks (not clear if they will
be recyclable), cup lids, straws and cabling.
August 16, 2001, List of Olympic Recycling Forum Attendees
Back of House (BOH) Source Separation Plans
Suggested Food & Beverage Packaging Substitution List
SLOC Waste & Packaging Guidelines
As of July 25, 2001
is asking each of their staff to think about the items they will be using
and bringing on to the venues. What type of packaging do they come in?
Do they have packaging or wastes associated with them that will ultimately
be thrown away? SLOC asks staff to talk to their buyer/distributor and
ask them to remove or change the packaging before it gets to SLOC.
Gary Liss & Associates
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Loomis, CA 95650-8929