Food Waste Diversion in Multifamily Dwellings
Client: Global Green USA
Key Personnel: Laura McKaughan, Project Manager; Matt de la Houssaye, Director of Global Green's NY Office; Madisen Gittlin, Program Assistant; Jordan McKay, Program Assistant
√ Starting from 0% organics capture at 26 sites, rate increased to 58% with <5% contamination.
√ Post-outreach audits demonstrated an average organics diversion of 70 lbs. per site, versus <10 lbs. per site with no outreach.
√ We estimate that outreach reduced organics going to landfill by about 1.33 tons per multifamily site annually.
Envirolutions partnered with Global Green USA to pilot and evaluate outreach regarding food waste prevention, food scrap recycling, or both at 31 multifamily buildings around the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County. This pilot program will serve as a model for best practices and expanding these services to other municipalities.
Please watch Global Green video for more details about the project.
In addition to informational brochures and food scrap kitchen pails, Envirolutions' door-to-door messaging was enhanced with community meetings with residents and property managers. By establishing a personal connection, we theorized that initial program participation and long-term commitment would increase. A pre- and post-outreach audit--which measured changes in the level of eight waste components--was conducted at each apartment complex, as well as a single audit at each of the four control sites.
Our hypothesis was borne out by the results of these waste audits. Organic material in the landfill decreased, on average, by 1.5 lbs per household, per week. We estimated that targeted households increased the amount of diverted organic material by 7 times as much as those receiving no outreach.
Envirolutions Consulting recommended that resources such as food scrap pails, where to buy compostable pail liners, and language-appropriate educational outreach and marketing on food waste prevention and food scrap recycling be part of the rollout of MFD programs. Engaging property managers and committed residents ("Eco-Ambassadors") who will motivate and inform their fellow tenants is also an important factor for success.