Food Waste Amidst Hunger!
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
August 11, 2011

In 1967, the world had about 3.2 million people living in it. In the forty or so years since, the world has doubled its population. San Antonio and Bexar County depend primarily on three landfills: Covel (Waste Management), Allied Waste and Texas Disposal Systems (TDS), the latter being in Travis County.

The U.S. population is 311 million, the State of Texas is 22 million and the population of Bexar County is 1.7 million. While we pay $22.49 per ton, the State pays on average, $30.96 per ton and the country, $42.00 per ton according to the Environmental Protection Agency (2009-10). The reason that the City and County enjoy such low rates relative to the State and the Nation is in part because of our long-term contract born of a competitive process wherein three separate companies had to compete for our business.

Given the growth of the world and the community in which we live, it behooves every citizen to be mindful that recycling is everyone's duty. Just since 2000, Bexar County has taken on a population equivalent to that of the City of Corpus Christi or 223,000 new residents. That these populations will accelerate the filling of our urban landfills is quite evident.

Over the last four years of 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010, even with the serious growth of our City and County, landfill tonnage to the 6 landfills that serve San Antonio has declined. Recycling, especially the City of San Antonio's single stream efforts with the green and brown bins, a drop in consumer consumption have contributed to making our community a more thoughtful place relative to previous years.

In a 2007 study by Franklin Associates, its research showed that food waste is 12% of the waste stream. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that food scraps were 14.1 percent of the waste stream. Given that our city collects the larger percent representative components of our waste stream such as paper, cardboard, glass, plastics and other non-food scraps and given the need to conserve food in an appropriate manner, this year's Annual Resource Recovery Roundtable set for Friday, August 12 at the Heritage Room of St. Philip's College will focus on food waste.

Dr. Tina Marie Cade, Professor of Horticulture will present "Food Composting at Texas State University" She will demonstrate how a large institution can make a difference with its dormitories and cafeterias on campus through composting.

Students of Texas State University will deliver Research Presentations on Organics!

Mr. Ryan Beard, Municipal Account Manager for Texas Disposal Systems will present on food composting at schools and prisons.

Susan Ghertner, Director of Environmental Affairs for HEB will present on Food Composting at the Grocery Store.

Importantly, the City will present an update on the City of San Antonio's path to zero waste and touch on organics.

David Marquez, Executive Director for Bexar County will talk to us on the role of local units of government and landfills.

The Noon Luncheon speaker is Ms. Maia Corbitt, Executive Director will provide a Wrap-Up on Recycling Bills in the Texas Legislature and the need for better data.

For further information, contact Georgia Zannaras, Resource Recovery Manager for AACOG at 210.362.5287 or gzannaras@aacog.com.

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