Waste Management (WM) and supermarket chain Publix recently joined forces to help open the new Okeechobee Organics Recycling Facility in South Florida. WM will haul pre-consumer food waste (bakery items, flowers, etc.) from 40 Publix stores in Miami-Dade County and two Publix GreenWise Markets in Palm Beach County for conversion into soil-friendly compost at the new facility.
The Okeechobee operation is permitted to accept up to 30,000 tons of waste per year, including 15,000 tons of food waste and 15,000 tons of yard waste, and is part of WM's strategy to expand organic recycling in Florida and throughout North America.
Garick, a subsidiary of Waste Management and a manufacturer and distributor of organic lawn and garden products, is producing product from the Okeechobee composting facility.
North America generates over 80 million tons of organic waste each year and in the U.S., about one-third of municipal solid waste is organic. About 65% of yard waste and 2.5% of food waste collected in the U.S. is now diverted from disposal, WM said.
WM currently operates 155 recycling facilities and processes about 10 million tons of recyclables per year, halfway to its goal of managing more than 20 million tons each year. In 2010, Waste Management recycled, reused, or managed enough material to fill a football field 2.11 mi. high.