Hy-Vee partners to convert organic waste into compost
Published 9:55 am Monday, April 25, 2016
More than 20 tons donated to city
Albert Lea’s Hy-Vee last week donated more than 20 tons of organic compost to the city for its parks and community gardens as part of a program to divert organic food waste from landfills.
The compost will be used to improve fertility of soils in various flower gardens and community gardens in the community, said Parks Superintendent Joe Grossman.
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The donation came on Earth Day after Hy-Vee last August teamed up with GreenRU — an Iowa-based business that creates customized recycling programs of organics and food scraps for local restaurants, businesses, schools, universities and other organizations.
According to a news release, the company is a zero-waste recycler that diverts food waste from area landfills by turning food scraps and other organics into compost used for farming, landscaping and other land applications.
Store Director Peter Streit said as part of the program, staff each day take all of the store’s organic waste from the kitchen and other parts of the store that is unable to be donated to local food pantries and put it in a separate dumpster outside of the store.
That includes everything from inedible food waste, excess fruits and vegetables, bakery products, solid dairy products and floral clippings to napkins and coffee filters.
The goal is to lower what goes into a landfill, Streit said.
GreenRU turns the waste into compost, which is also ultimately sold to customers at the store’s garden center.
According to the release, waste reduction is a key part of Hy-Vee’s overall sustainability efforts. More than 220 Hy-Vee stores have implemented composting operations and collectively divert more than 2 million pounds of food and organic waste away from landfills each month.
“We are committed to the well-being of our customers, employees, community and the global environment,” Streit said. “This new recycling program is just one way we are fulfilling a commitment to our local community and customers to make sustainable choices, and the numbers demonstrate the impact of this new program.”
He said the donation to the city was something store leaders wanted to do because they know how important gardens are in Albert Lea.
The compost was unloaded at the corner of West Ninth Street and South Broadway.
The donation equated to about $6,500 worth of compost.