Recycling News From St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District

Solid Waste Management

The St. Louis – Jefferson Solid Waste Management District is a regional agency that was created in 1993 to assist the public, private and nonprofit sectors in establishing and expanding programs for recycling and waste reduction. The service area includes the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County. Funding for this program is provided by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. For more information visit www.swmd.net or call 314-645-6753.

Sustainability is a Team Effort

Yes, individual actions are important, but real impact happens when people decide to do something together. That’s the driving force behind OneSTL, a collaboration of organizations and individuals working together to create a more sustainable St. Louis region.

From its inception in 2013, OneSTL has been a group effort to share ideas, grow expertise, and combine resources to meet regional sustainability goals. This starts with the OneSTL Plan for Regional Sustainability, which contains hundreds of goals, objectives, and strategies. In 2017, OneSTL partners held a regional sustainability summit where six Working Groups began to each focus on a narrowed set of metrics to achieve impact.

Biodiversity is improving quality of life for all through actions that welcome nature into our urban, suburban and rural communities.

Energy and Emissions is looking at methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Food Access is identifying ways to help low-income residents overcome barriers of access to healthy food.

Materials and Recycling aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills through reduction and recycling.

Transit-Oriented Development is finding ways to increase transit ridership by focusing on houses, jobs, and shopping close to MetroLink stations.

Water and Green Infrastructure is addressing issues related to water quality by encouraging existing groups to adopt local lakes, creeks, and rivers.

Some of the organizations involved in the OneSTL Working Groups include the St. Louis Food Policy Coalition, The Nature Conservancy, Heartlands Conservancy, St. Louis Earth Day, Washington University, U.S. Green Building Council, Citizens For Modern Transit, St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, T-Rex, City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Madison County, University City, and East-West Gateway Council of Governments.

You can get involved and engage with us and the Working Groups at our monthly Sustainability Labs held on the last Tuesday of the month at three locations, T-Rex in downtown St. Louis, Old Bakery Brewery in Alton, and the BeerSauce Shop in St. Peters. Visit www.onestl.org to see the upcoming agenda of the Sustainability Lab as well as more detailed information about the Working Groups. Contact us to learn more at onestl@ewgateway.org.

Total Organics Recycling Helps Reduce Waste Stream

Total Organics Recycling collects between 500-600 tons of organic waste per week around the St. Louis area. This volume accounts for the weekly tonnages being diverted away from landfills. So, Total Organics Recycling collects organic material, then what? They are broken down into a nutrient rich soil supplement in a process called composting. Compost is the product that comes from the decomposition of organic material such as food scraps, leaves, grass clippings, brush or yard trimmings. Compost is an organic material that has the unique ability to improve the chemical, physical and biological characteristics of soils or growing media.

Why Should You Compost Your Food Scraps?
It’s good for the air. When food scraps are sent to the landfill, they break down anaerobically because there is no oxygen. This process produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which is damaging to the ozone layer and contributes to global warming.

It’s good for water conservation. Compost helps soil retain water, which helps with erosion control and in times of drought. The more water that is able to be contained in soils reduces the volumes of water in stormwater management systems that need to be treated by municipalities, resulting in lower costs to communities and increased efficiency.

It’s good for reducing the use of resources. When food is thrown into the landfill, it cannot be recovered. In the US, about 40% of food is wasted between farm to table, including those resources that went into producing that food. These resources include water, energy, fertilizers and pesticides.

Total Organics Recycling makes food scrap composting easy and can get you on the path to zero waste! We offer totes for food scrap collection and pick up the filled totes on scheduled days agreed upon. Your totes are dumped and rinsed on site and then replaced. By partnering with Total Organics Recycling, you can divert food waste from the landfill and can potentially lower your current trash costs!

The Green Movement isn’t just a trend. Everyone is doing their part and implementing sustainability programs. Some of our green leaders include the St. Louis Cardinals, Missouri Botanical Garden, Schnucks, St. Louis Zoo, Schlafly and many other well-known establishments around St. Louis. Many schools in the St. Louis area have also jumped on board, such as Parkway School District and Pattonville. We can help any business become a green business.

Reduce. Reuse. Refab. Processing Reclaimed Lumber For Easier Installation

In the back room of a sprawling 1880’s warehouse in the Benton Park West neighborhood, Refab employees are making the most of their immense inventory of reclaimed lumber, sourced from old homes, buildings, and barns around the St. Louis metro area. Refab Lab, a new program from the area’s leading building material reuse organization, is pumping out tables, butcher block countertops, feature wall paneling, and more for customers who want all the charm of reclaimed wood without all the challenges that come with using secondhand lumber. “We like to think of it as reducing the barrier to reuse,” says Founder + Executive Director, Eric Schwarz, “the more we can process reclaimed lumber, the easier it is for our customers to install it.”

With a mission to promote creative re-use, the Refab team will work with you to see your vision come to life—and meet you where you’re at. If it’s a finished piece you are looking for, cool! If you want to build your own dining room table but don’t have a garage full of woodworking equipment, no worries. The Refab team will get you halfway to the finish line. No matter what your skill level is, Refab Lab offers services that can save you time and money on your next reclaimed wood project.

If you are not in the market for a custom wood creation, Refab is still a great resource for both the usual reclaimed fare, like doors, cabinets, and hardwood flooring, and the more unusual stuff, like industrial metal gears, real slate chalkboards, and rusty tractor seats. Ask one of their friendly salespeople and you might even learn that that chalkboard that you found for the kid’s room has a story to tell.

Refab is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday at 3130 Gravois Ave, St. Louis, MO 63118. Visit their website, refabstl.org, for more information on their deconstruction and donation pickup services, training and reemployment program for recently-homeless men, and, of course, reclaimed wood creations.


Associations, Organizations and Resources
America Recycles Day – www.americarecyclesday.org
Earth 911 – www.earth911.org
e-cycle Missouri – www.e-cyclemo.org
Envirolink – www.envirolink.org
Global Recycling Network – www.grn.com
Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program – www.HHWSTL.com
Keep America Beautiful – www.kab.org
Missouri Recycling Association – www.mora.org
National Recycling Coalition – www.nrcrecycles.org
The Healthy Planet magazine


City of St. Louis – www.stlouis-mo.gov (Search Recycling, click Refuse Division’s Recycling Program)
Jefferson County Residents – www.jeffcomo.org (Then go to Services and click Recycling)
St. Louis County Recycling Information – www.stlouisco.com
St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District – www.swmd.net
St. Charles County Recycling Information – www.scchealth.org/docs/es/docs/recycle