Costco unveils new recycle program
Whether they know it or not, Carson City Costco customers who throw away a soiled napkin or an uneaten pizza crust will not be filling up the local landfill.
They’ll be helping crops grow, instead.
The wholesaler unveiled a new waste program at its Carson City location two weeks ago that invites customers and requires employees to separate trash from waste for composting and recycling.
Throughout the store there are now multicolored bins – green for compost, blue for recyclables and red for trash – and are a part of a program unfolding within the wholesaler’s Northern California and Nevada stores.
The idea is to separate waste such as biodegradable goods like soiled napkins or unused cake mix from other trash destined for the local landfill.
G Rock, a Sausalito, Calif., sustainability consulting firm, is helping the company roll out the program. The goal is to divert 80 percent of the trash produced by the company to composting or recycling, said Ryan Carney, a spokesman for G Rock.
At the Costco in Livermore, Calif., for example, the program has reduced the trash that store sends to the area landfill from 65 tons to 9.5 tons, or 75 percent, each year, said Tish Ambrose, Carson City Costco’s assistant manager. The majority, about 49 tons, is now sent to be turned into compost and
6.5 tons is recycled.
The figures should be similar in Carson City, too, Ambrose said.
It’s not just for customers. In the bakery, for example, workers are tossing used plastic wrap in a recycling bin and unused breads or paper wraps for cakes in a composting bin.
Ambrose said the store’s 250 employees also had to be trained to separate the waste produced each day so they wind up in the right pile before being picked up for disposal.
About 65 percent of the materials will be shipped to Full Circle Composting, a Carson City business that makes compost.
“Everything that goes into the compost will be turned into potting soil within 60 days,” Ambrose said.
She said the Carson City Costco also has been sending some of its unused produce to Friends In Service Helping for years, which in turn sent the unused produce to an area pig farmer for feed who would in turn send the local charity a pig each year.
As for the recyclables, such as plastic bottles and tin, they must be separated by hand in Carson City, which has no recycling facility that can separate the materials.
“It is one extra step we had to add here, but we figured it was worth it because it is good for the environment,” Ambrose said.