Recycling Is Growing a Greener St. Louis!


St. Louis-Jefferson SWMD Grants Make Good Business Sense

Metropolitan Square, the largest office building in St Louis, used a St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District (SWMD) grant to launch a workplace composting program in 2011. Tenant design firm HOK teamed up with on-site property manager Jones Lang LaSalle to educate other tenants and integrate organics recycling into existing single-stream collection. Over 48 tons of food waste was diverted from landfills in this program’s first year, averaging 4 tons per month. Program leaders have shared their process through the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, providing a template now in use by other businesses and commercial buildings.

A few blocks away, tenants in the Laclede Gas Building have also merged building-wide composting with recycling and conventional trash collection. Design firm Arcturis joined forces with the Laclede Gas, McCormack Baron Companies and Urban Strategies green teams and their building management firm to obtain contracts for integrated waste management services.

Food Waste Composting Joins Recycling to Generate Jobs, Boost Waste Diversion

Locally owned hauling companies Blue Skies Recycling and Always Green are multiplying the value of their SWMD grants through commercial collection contracts that support more than 15 steady jobs. Their recycling and composting services are flexible and efficient, meeting customer needs that range from single sites to high-rise properties to entire corporate and institutional campuses.

St. Louis Composting has leveraged SWMD grants to ramp up processing capacity as food waste augments the organics they’ve composted since yard waste was banned from Missouri landfills in 1991. Compost collection business planning and marketing savvy yields environmental and economic benefits. Full-circle customers like Washington University and Missouri Botanical Garden are keeping food-service waste out of landfills, then buying and using composted products. The rising profile of composting in public waste management services is motivating a broad range of customers to switch from commercial (and often toxic) fertilizers to locally-produced organic soil amendments, for uses from backyard gardening and urban farming to RainScaping and stabilizing soil erosion.

SWMD grants have helped non-profit St. Louis Earth Day establish programs that deliver high-profile public education along with recycling services. Recycling On the Go now partners with almost 70 annual public events to recover recyclables and organics. The Green Dining Alliance is helping area restaurants reduce waste and boost sustainability overall. In the last year these programs touched nearly a million people with positive demonstrations of green practices in fun, festive settings. This work supports two full-time and two part-time positions and 13 seasonal staff, including clients of St. Patrick Center through their Veterans Go Green job-training program.

SWMD grants and technical support for Lambert St. Louis International Airport are yielding top-flight results. The millions of people who travel through or work with the airport encounter highly visible recycling systems. Our visitors meet sustainability in their first impression of metro St. Louis and the state of Missouri. Lambert is one of this region’s top economic engines, employing about 10,000 people through airlines, tenants, vendors and operational staff, who now engage with strong green standards. With SWMD grant assistance, airport staff have also established a food waste composting partnership with concessionaire HMS Host, Inc., diverting nearly 10 tons of organics in this program’s pilot phase. Lambert’s sustainable measures impact aviation, manufacturing, tourism and other key economic sectors, and are receiving extensive coverage in local, national and trade media outlets.
Learn more at www.swmd.net

Missouri’s Solid Waste District Grants 20 Years of Investments with a High Return:

  • Over $5 million invested in Missouri’s economy annually
  • 25,000 jobs generated statewide
  • Tens of millions into state and local tax revenues
  • Educating more than a million Missourians
  • 50% waste diversion rate
  • Thousands of citizen volunteers engaged

Thanks to the St. Louis-Jefferson SWMD…

  • Curbside and drop-off recycling are available region-wide.
  • Convenient single-stream recycling is provided in most communities.
  • Food-waste composting added to yard-waste collection is boosting diversion of organics that make up nearly 20% of municipal waste streams.
  • Regional special collections safely dispose of waste tires, electronics, household hazardous waste.
  • Local enterprises have built systems to recycle garden pots, mattresses, holiday lights, asphalt shingles, construction waste,npharmaceuticals, carpet – and more!
  • Re-Use entrepreneurs distribute medical equipment, building materials, manufacturing and household discards – and more!
  • $40 million in recycling grants have leveraged over $60 million in additional investments over 20 years.
  • Over 900 waste-reducing projects have been implemented in our region.
  • Technical expertise is continually provided to communities, businesses and non-profits.