Turning Waste Into Nourishment: Effective Food Waste Solutions
Sustainability, food waste management and NYC organic recycling was the topic at hand recently at the NYC Food Waste Fair, and Royal Waste Services Inc. was front and center. As one of the largest privately-owned recycling and waste management companies in New York City, John Reali, Co-Director of Sustainability for Royal Waste Services was asked to participate in a panel called “Your Waste Hauler’s Perspective.”
As a major NYC waste management company, Royal Waste Services Inc. offers single-stream recycling, organics, trash, and construction and demolition debris pickup across all five New York City boroughs. What makes Royal Waste so unique is that they are the only company that not only directly provides services and recycling education to customers, but they also own and operate a putrescible transfer station, C&D recycling facility, organics recycling facility and two SSR facilities to handle every stream of material coming from business and properties.
On the panel, John noted that Royal Waste takes a proactive approach to NYC organic recycling by educating their customers and all of their employees on proper food waste management procedures, which are constantly changing. As Reali said on the panel, Royal Waste believes it’s their responsibility to play an active, leadership, hands-on role in the process of NYC organic recycling.
“Our sustainability team works with customers, tenants and properties to ensure best practices are being enforced to yield the highest diversion possible and move toward zero waste,” he said. “This includes sustainability training, education, signage, metric reports, all to reach our goal of zero waste. Our main focus is always safety, service and sustainability.”
Sustainability is becoming more and more important to combat the negative effects humans are creating for the environment. According to an Earth Institute at Columbia University report, one-third of New York City’s garbage is made up of food waste.
Royal Waste Services predicted food waste management would be a focal point of the industry more than 10 years ago, Reali said, which is why the company partnered with McEnroe Organic Farm in what he called “one of our best decisions yet.”
“I am proud to say… that we were the first company in NYC to offer organic composting pickups,” he said. “We have been servicing large food wholesalers and environmentally conscious customers for quite some time now and realized there had to have been better ways to improve how food waste is being handled.”
Royal Waste Services takes the food waste it collects to McEnroe Organic Farm in Millerton, New York. Here, the food waste provided turns into organic compost for the farm and available to purchase in retailers down the East Coast of the USA. One of the most important aspects of food waste management is to ensure that contamination is as minimal as possible, and Royal Waste Services’ approach is what allows them to guarantee loads are never contaminated.
“Education to customers is vital for success. We continue to work with our customers daily with pictures and surveys, not only checking up on volume but more so on cleanliness of their recycling waste stream,” Reali said. “In regard to organics, contamination definitely is a concern, which is a main reason we chose to make an investment in the Scott Turbo Depackager to ensure material we pick up and process to send to McEnroe Farm is as pure and clean as possible.”
Some of the biggest concerns for businesses when they analyze NYC organic recycling companies is how long food waste remains on their premises, since it can turn unpleasant in a hurry and be a magnet for rats and other pests. Because Royal Waste has the capability of servicing organics up to seven times a week across all five boroughs, they are able to ensure food waste never sits at a customer’s business for an extended period of time.
To combat the potential problem of rats and pests, Royal Waste provides their customers with heavy duty locked toters, which are deodorized and designed specifically to handle NYC organic recycling. The company also exchanges these toters once a quarter or by request to thoroughly clean and swap out all the equipment.
As good as Royal Waste practices, procedures and equipment are, though, the key to their food waste management success is their transparency and focus on educating their customers. Reali said the company encourages customers to visit their NYC organics recycling facility to see where their materials are brought to, how they are processed and what their end destination is. In addition, they have a team of several night managers that troubleshoot any issues that may arise, and a safety team that ensures each part of the job is done efficiently and safely.
“Regardless of what technology you invest in, it all starts with education,” Reali said. “Educating the consumer on what goes in what waste stream is crucial, and that’s why our sustainability team continues to refresh training to ensure cleanliness across each stream.”
Royal Waste Services would love the opportunity to implement an organics program at your business at any time to better handle your food waste. For more information, visit the website or call Royal Waste Services at (718) 526-2623.