What started as a pilot project in 2008, to see if Olympia businesses were interested in compost collection, turned into a successful Commercial Organics Program. The City of Olympia offers businesses within the city a different way to dispose of organic waste and the opportunity to save money. Collected materials are turned into compost and kept out of the landfill. The first step is to contact City staff for a free waste assessment.
The program’s success has evolved over time. “Our pilot started with under a dozen city businesses and has grown to over 150,” says Spencer Orman, Senior Program Specialist with the City of Olympia Waste ReSources. “In 2016, we expect to collect over 800 tons of organics for composting. That keeps a lot of waste out of the landfill.” To keep up with demand, a second collection day was added in 2015.
Some businesses are spurred on by keeping waste out of the landfill, others see saving money as a big enticement. Both are possible. Organics collection is a third of the cost of garbage, so the financial incentive to save is there. Separating organic waste for composting helps reduce the size of your garbage container and disposal costs. Olympia offers a variety of collection options for garbage and organics to suit each customer’s need.
What’s accepted goes beyond grass and leaves. Olympia customers can add a wide variety of items including: all foods and many food-soiled papers, such as napkins and paper hand towels; shredded paper; yard waste; and clean wood such as chopsticks, untreated lumber and pallets. Some establishments have a lot of food waste, while others have mainly yard waste. For many, it’s the combination of materials that makes it worthwhile. Participants range from restaurants, grocery stores, health care facilities, to churches, schools, and offices. With so many different places participating, a new composting norm is being created in Olympia. People can compost at work, at school, and where they dine and attend events. This builds upon the City’s traditional home compost collection.
Getting started is easy – just call 360.753.8752 for a free waste assessment. It takes about an hour and covers organics collection, recycling and waste reduction ideas. We discuss what you currently do and what you would like to achieve. A waste assessment shows how your current efforts, as well as new opportunities can keep compostable materials out of the garbage. Each assessment is followed up with a letter with recommendations. If organics collection is right for you, service can start within a week. To help new customers be successful, we offer the first two months of service at no charge when signing up for a year. We help with indoor collection carts, posters and onsite assistance. Along with compost collection, other opportunities to recycle traditional materials, as well as some non-traditional items, such as pallets, foam, scrap metal, and plastics may be available.
For more information, contact Spencer Orman, City of Olympia, at [email protected] or 360.753.8752.