St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District Pages

St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District

The St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District has been working to expand recycling in the St. Louis region since 1993.  The District is a regional public agency that serves St. Louis City, St. Louis County, Jefferson and St. Charles counties.  Almost two million people reside within the District, making ours the largest of the twenty Solid Waste Management Districts in Missouri.

These Districts assist local governments, private businesses, and non-profit organizations in establishing and expanding waste reduction, recycling, composting, education, and household hazardous waste programs.  Each of these programs plays an important role in properly managing the waste generated by homes and businesses on a daily basis.

The growth in recycling has been tremendous since Missouri’s recycling law was passed in 1990, when less than 5% of all waste was being diverted from disposal.  According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, more than 45% is now being diverted from disposal.  That is a huge increase in a very short time, and recycling is poised to continue this growth in the coming years.  Missouri has developed a vigorous recycling industry that expands our economy, protects our environment, and strengthens our communities.

The District has assisted in this effort in several ways.  In addition to technical assistance and educational resources that have helped the industry grow, the main tool has been the waste reduction and recycling grant program.  Since inception, the District has provided more than 700 grants totaling in excess of $30 million dollars to help all aspects of the recycling industry.  This may seem like a lot of money, but it translates to just about $1 per person per year.   This assistance has helped catalyze the growth of the industry by fostering collaboration and cooperation to form true public-private partnerships, which leverage tremendous amounts of additional investment.

The District appreciates the thousands of dedicated people who have committed their professional and volunteer efforts to develop an industry that will serve our state for years to come.  With their tireless work, the St. Louis region has accomplished significant waste reduction.  The District is honored to work along side these dedicated individuals. They are the true heroes in this transformation, and the region owes them a debt of thanks.  As the District works to confront the enormous environmental challenges facing our society, recycling continues to make strides to protect our environment, while growing our economy with jobs and taxes.

The District thanks and congratulates all of our partners for a job well done, and let’s keep up the good work!






At Butler’s Pantry:

First Food Composting Machine in Missouri Fights Landfill Waste

Watching the almost clear liquid draining from the shiny stainless-steel machine at Butler’s Pantry, you’d never know that just 24 hours ago it had been a load of food waste generated by the catering company’s prep kitchen.

The device that makes this transformation of garbage to liquid possible is the Orca Green composting machine. Missouri’s first has been turning trash into nutrient-rich water at Butler’s Pantry in the Lafayette Square neighborhood since this spring.

“People are aware of yard waste composting,” said Jack Croghan, partner in Green Smart Food Services, the company that markets the Orca Green. “But what they probably don’t know is that there are few large-scale composting facilities here in the Midwest that collect organic waste on a daily basis.  Add to it the fact that post-consumer organic waste presents health code issues for most, if not all, composting facilities. So, the food waste generated by a company like Butler’s Pantry  was going to a landfill until we brought them the solution with the Orca Green.”

Sending their food waste to a landfill meant paying waste haulers to truck their trash from Butler’s Pantry. Now prep workers walk to the loading dock area, open the Orca Green, place the waste food inside the machine and walk away.

The Orca Green operates almost silently. An auger churns the waste and tiny capsules filled with natural micro-organisms combine with water and heat to turn the food scraps into liquid which can be safely released into the sewer system or collected to fertilize gardens. Virtually all food scraps – cooked or uncooked, large or small – can be added at any time and easily processed.  The only items to avoid are egg shells and large seeds, such as peach seeds.  In addition to food waste, the machine can handle compostable paper and food service products such as cups, bowls and utensils.

“Our customers and their clients understand that they have a responsibility to minimize their impact on the environment,” said Croghan. “The Orca Green can help them with their goals to give their clients greener events.”

Butler’s Pantry is a second-generation catering business servicing corporate functions, social and special events, and weddings of all sizes.

“We can process well over 200 pounds of waste a day through the Orca,” said Butler’s Pantry president Richard Nix. “It saves us money on waste hauling and it gives us the opportunity to be a pioneer in environmentally responsible catering. That makes our customers happy, which is always our end goal.”

For more information on the Orca Green composting machine, please visit online at www.GreenSmartFoodServices.com.  The website for Butler’s Pantry is www.ButlersPantry.com.




City of St. Louis To Pick Up Recyclables From Households

In 2009, the City of St. Louis landfilled about 205,000 tons of solid waste collected from City residents, government facilities, public spaces, and special events, which costs over $7 million in landfill tipping fees.

To avoid landfill tipping fees, improve residential services, and protect the natural environment, the City will provide blue recycling dumpsters and rollcarts to collect recyclables from residents.  Recyclables will be accepted as single-stream:  all recyclables can be mixed with each other, but must be separated from non-recyclable trash. When recycling is implemented in an alley, residents will have one trash pick-up and one recycling pick-up each week.  Recycling is a new component of the City’s comprehensive solid waste program that costs $11 per month per unit.  Recycling pick-up is being phased in on a Ward-by-Ward basis.

Since the 1990’s, the City has offered residents alley/curb pick-up of automotive batteries and appliances to be recycled, and has managed over 27 drop-off residential recycling sites spread throughout neighborhoods.  Locations are listed at http://stlouis. missouri.org/citygov/recycle/locations.htm.

The City also provides information of how commingled recyclables can be separated into more useful streams at http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov /recycle/processing%20commingled.html. Keeping recyclables uncontaminated (e.g., no trash, yard waste, food, etc.) ensures their usefulness to processors and manufacturers who buy or accept them.  Follow the trail at http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/recycle/MaterialsDestinations.html to learn where recyclables are transported to and what products they’re recycled into.

True recycling is a closed-loop system:  consumers must elect post-consumer recycled content products, to ensure markets for recyclables, otherwise there’s no reason to collect them.  Visit http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/recycle/buyreusedrecycled.htm for retailers.

As packaging materials and commodities markets evolved over time, items collected for recycling grew to the current list of what’s already accepted at City drop-off sites and alley/curb pilots:  aluminum bottles, cans, foil, pie plates, trays; brown, clear, green glass bottles and jars; plastic containers marked #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7; steel bottles and cans; aseptic packaging (e.g., juice boxes or packs); gable-top containers (e.g., juice cartons); unwanted mail; magazines; newspapers; office papers; corrugated cardboard (e.g., packing boxes); chipboard/paperboard (e.g., dry food boxes); carrier stock (e.g., soda cartons); and telephone books.

Reduce, reuse, and recycle options are as varied as states signified by stars on the U.S. flag.

To explore, visit http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/recycle.



Composting Helps Grow A Sustainable Community


Responsible collection and composting of commercially generated food waste is alive and growing in the St. Louis region.


According to various industry studies, waste from restaurants and other food service establishments contains more than 75% organic material (predominately food waste). On average, a single restaurant may dispose of more than 50 tons of organic waste each year.  What some may not realize is that this organic material, when recycled through a controlled composting process, has the potential to positively impact the environment. Composting provides an alternative to placing waste in landfills, produces a nutrient rich soil amendment which, when used, enhances soil’s water retention and fertility. It makes a garden grow.

Many St. Louis area restaurants and food service establishments have taken note of these statistics and benefits and have found that compost enhances their ability to buy high quality produce locally. These businesses are implementing simple but cost-effective programs to collect their organic waste. They insist upon disposal at local state-permitted facilities. They confirm that the organic material will be recycled into beneficial earth-friendly products such as compost and used by local growers. They then buy food products from those local growers to close the loop.

St. Louis Composting recently began accepting and processing organic matter collected from participating restaurants and businesses and composting this organic material to produce nutrient-rich compost. St. Louis Composting manages this additional material to its composting process by monitoring and maintaining levels of moisture, nitrogen, oxygen and temperatures in the compost piles to create ideal conditions for microbial activity. This controlled process creates compost that can go from garden to table and back again in 3 months.

Training and coordination between food waste generators, collectors and composters as well as the desire of the general public to reuse this resource, has resulted in the collection and composting of approximately 250 tons of organic material per week over the past 6 months.  St. Louis Composting hopes to increase these amounts to 300 tons per week in the next 60 days.

For more information, contact St. Louis Composting at 636-861-3344 or visit the website at www.stlcompost.com.




National Organization Honors St. Peters’ Composting Program

The City of St. Peters has garnered another major honor for its Organic Resource Recycling Program. The Solid Waste Association of North America recently chose St. Peters as the winner of the 2010 Gold Excellence Award in Composting.

St. Peters Organic Resources Recycling Program beneficially recycles biodegradable yard waste matter and dewatered biosolids. St. Peters collects residential yard waste curbside and offers drop-offer service to businesses at the Earth Centre facility (end of Ecology Drive). The nutrient-rich biosolids are byproducts of St. Peters’ wastewater treatment process. Dewatered biosolids and yard waste are processed, mixed, composted, tested and sold back to the community to be used to improve soil or control erosion. The Organic Resource Recycling Program recycles 6,000 tons of biosolids and processes another 30,000 cubic yards of yard waste into reusable mulch and compost on an annual basis.

With assistance from the St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District grants, the City has purchased equipment critical to the operation including a compost mixer, a trammel screen, and a stacking conveyor.  Compost produced at the facility is used for backyard gardening as well as for construction projects including erosion control, road project re-vegetation, and constructed wetlands.

For more information, contact Bill Malach at City of St. Peters 636.485.9920 or email bmalach@stpetersmo.net.  Their website is www.stpetersmo.net.

Home Composting

Taking care of organic waste at home is cost effective because it saves money on collection, transportation and processing. The benefit to the environment is considerable as residents create a resource by returning organic material to the soil, which improves the health of plants in yards and gardens and saves water. Home composting saves money because you buy less fertilizer and compost.


To help you get started on home composting, call (636) 278-2244 or (636) 477-6600, ext. 1463 for a free home composting brochure.

Additional information is available through the Missouri Botanical Garden.  Contact the Master Composting Hotline at (314) 477-9555.  A knowledgeable attendant is available to answer questions from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Monday through Friday.  This is a free service provided by the Missouri Botanical Garden.



The Economic Benefits of Recycling

by David Berger,

Executive Director St. Louis-Jefferson

Solid Waste Management District


In 1990, more than 90 percent of Missouri’s waste went to landfills, while less than 10 percent was being recycled.  Since the majority of what we “throw away” can be recycled, this resulted in a huge loss of valuable resources that impacted both the environment and the economy. Missourians demanded change, and the St. Louis region responded.

St. Louis has grown a dynamic recycling industry that diverts nearly half of all waste from landfills through waste reduction, recycling and reuse. This accomplishment is due to an unprecedented level of cooperation among the public, private, and independent sectors of the community.  By working together, more has been accomplished than many thought possible.

There are many components to the recycling industry.  Reducing the amount of waste generated, collecting and processing materials for use in new products, composting yard waste and organic materials, diverting household hazardous waste, and making new products from recovered materials are all part of modern recycling.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of tons of what was once considered waste is being used to create valuable new products.  Conserving and

reusing these resources results in tremendous environmental benefits for our region and beyond.  Recycling saves natural resources, conserves energy, reduces air and water pollution, and lowers greenhouse gas emissions.  These benefits continue year after year because all of us do our part.

It’s not just our environment that benefits from recycling.  The recycling industry is also a major contributor to our regional economy.  Almost 16,000 people are employed in local recycling businesses and the industry’s economic impact exceeds national averages.  The payrolls and state and local taxes generated by the recycling industry are an important component of the economic base of St. Louis and Missouri.

The recycling industry has grown because we all do our part, from participating in local collection programs to purchasing products made from recovered materials.  This is a true public-private partnership of which we can all be proud.  What’s more, the recycling industry is poised to continue growing in the years ahead.  To keep growing, each of us has a role to play, and we all need to do our part.

The St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District is proud to have played a role in the growth of this industry by providing technical and financial assistance to recycling since the early 1990’s.

To find out more about recycling and how you can help, please visit the District’s website at www.swmd.net.



Find It On The Web — Recycling Information

Associations, Organizations and resources

America Recycles Day- www.americarecyclesday.org

Envirolink – www.envirolink.org

Global Recycling Network – www.grn.com

Missouri Recycling Association – www.mora.org

National Recycling Coalition – www.nrc-recycle.org

Resource St. Louis – www.resourcesaintlouis.org

The Healthy Planet magazine: www.thehealthyplanet.com

e-cycle St. Louis – www.ecyclestlouis.org

e-cycle Missouri – www.e-cyclemo.org

St. Louis Green –  www.Stlgreen.com

Keep America Beautiful – www.Kab.org

Earth 911 – www.earth911.org

Local Recycling Information – Government

City of St. Louis  –


Jefferson County Residents – www.jeffcomo.org/code/recycle/index.html

St. Louis County Recycling Information –


St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District – www.swmd.net

St. Charles County Recycling Information – www.scchealth.org/docs/es/index.html