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Valley Outreach provides food, clothing and emergency assistance to people in need in the St. Croix Valley region.

Challenge

Valley Outreach runs a high-volume food shelf, which means they have lots of organic material in their waste stream. “It’s the nature of a food shelf to have to sort through food donations and inevitably throw some food away,” commented Kateri Routh, Director of Operations at Valley Outreach.

Valley Outreach wanted to find a way to keep their food waste out of the trash. Being located in Stillwater made it difficult for them to find an affordable option to handle their organic waste. They contacted BizRecycling for help finding an environmentally responsible way to handle their organic waste.

How We Helped

BizRecycling connected Valley Outreach with one of our Recycling Experts. They were able to help Valley Outreach find an organic waste hauler who worked with them to put together a recycling program that met Valley Outreach’s unique needs.

BizRecycling doesn’t want cost to be a barrier for businesses to start recycling better. Starting a new organic recycling program can be expensive, especially if you need new bins, compostable bags, and signage. This is why we offer our grant programs.

Our Recycling Expert helped Valley Outreach apply for a BizRecycling Grant. The grant helped Valley Outreach pay for new equipment and supplies for the organics recycling program. There was also funding to pay staff and volunteers while they attended training on the new organics recycling program.

Outcome

In the first month of the organics recycling program, Valley Outreach diverted 7,300 pounds of organic material from their trash. They estimate that they are now composting nearly 60 tons of inedible food waste annually. Because they are recycling so much food waste, Valley Outreach has been able to cut their trash service needs in half.

Valley Outreach believes organic recycling is the right thing to do. “Every food shelf should be thinking about this option. It’s good for the environment and it’s good for our community as a whole.” said Routh.

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