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K-C Partners with USCC, Keep America Beautiful to Create Workplace Composting Guide

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Kimberly-Clark Professional (Roswell, Ga., USA), the U.S. Composting Council (USCC), Bethesda, Md.,  and Keep America Beautiful (Stamford, Conn.) have introduced a free Guide to Workplace Composting to help organizations develop workplace composting programs that support sustainability, waste reduction and zero waste initiatives. 

The guide provides step-by-step instructions and resources to help office buildings, manufacturing facilities, hotels, hospitals, universities, and other workplaces divert organic matter – such as food scraps, used paper towels, coffee grounds and coffee filters – from landfills through composting. Composting is a landfill-free way of using decomposed organic materials to fertilize and condition soil. Compost also can reduce erosion, improve drought tolerance, and help reduce the generation of greenhouse gases.

"Composting closes the loop," said Frank Franciosi, executive director of the U.S. Composting Council. "It increases organic matter in the soil to grow plants, trees, and crops. It's a holistic approach that puts carbon back where it came from."

Food waste is the single largest component of disposed municipal solid waste and accounts for a significant portion of U.S. methane emissions, and landfills are the third largest source of methane in the U.S.

In September 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the country's first-ever national food waste reduction goal, calling for a 50% reduction by 2030. A number of states, including California, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Connecticut, have initiated bans on landfill disposal of food waste from large commercial food waste generators. 

Kimberly-Clark Professional decided to create a workplace composting guide for customers who wanted to compost its paper towels, but needed help getting started. 

"We're very proud to have partnered with the U.S. Composting Council and Keep America Beautiful to address some of the challenges that workplaces face in creating composting programs," said Ben Jarrett, North America sustainability leader, Kimberly-Clark Professional. "It's not hard to do. It just takes some time and planning." 
 
For Keep America Beautiful, which has a Recycling@Work initiative to support workplace efforts to reduce waste and improve recycling, the collaboration resulted in "a great resource for those workplaces that are ready to add organics to their recycling programs," said Brenda Pulley, the organization's SVP for recycling. 

"Composting is the natural, next step for implementing a 'reduce, reuse, recycle' strategy to give our garbage another life. We want to make it easy for workplaces to implement an effective program, which is why it's so important to support them with the right tools and resources," added Pulley. 

Every Kimberly-Clark Professional paper towel can be diverted from landfill via composting. Before developing the guide, Kimberly-Clark Professional conducted a composting test of its Kleenex and Scott brand towels at its Roswell, Ga., headquarters. During an initial four-week period, it diverted 2,500 lb. of paper towel waste from 50 restrooms. The compost passed the U.S. Composting Council Seal of Testing Assurance Program tests, indicating that it was suitable for use. 

"Our success demonstrates that towel composting programs can be implemented at customer locations, enabling us to provide another solution to improve overall sustainability and reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill," Jarrett said.

 

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