Large Building Solid Waste Collection

agulates grease so that it can be chopped, washes the blade, and cools the motor. More energy is used when the waste reaches the sewage treatment plant.

If you specify a garbage disposal, look for one with adequate motor horsepower and grind chamber capacity to grind quickly and efficiently. Deluxe disposal models use stainless steel extensively in the grind system to prevent corrosion. Insulated sound shells shield grind chamber noise, and some models offer a secondary sound baffle. Disposals require an electrical connection, usually a 120V, 60-Hz, AC, 15- or 20-A three-wire grounded circuit.

An alternative to the garbage disposal is the compost pile. Composting is a controlled process of decomposition of organic material. Naturally occurring soil organisms recycle nitrogen, potash, phosphorus, and other plant nutrients as they break down the material into humus. When decomposition is complete, a dark brown, powdery material called humus has been produced. As you can tell by its rich earthy aroma, the finished compost is full of nutrients essential for the healthy growth of plants and crops. Compost happens as long as there is air and water to support it.

Composting is a convenient, beneficial, and inexpensive way to handle organic waste and help the environment. Composting reduces the volume of garbage requiring disposal, saves money in reduced soil purchases and reduced local disposal costs, and enriches the soil. Self-contained units are available, and some community groups sell bins made from recycled plastics for very reasonable prices. Food wastes can be collected in a covered container beside or under the sink. Meats and animal wastes usually are not included, as they attract animals and create odors. Collected food wastes are then carried to the compost pile, where they slowly decompose into clean, rich soil for gardens. Yard wastes (leaves, grass clippings) are also added. The compost pile should have a cover, to keep out unwanted animals. The odor of a well-maintained compost pile is not unpleasant, and the compost itself has a pleasing earthy smell.

Vermiculture is a simple, if somewhat unusual, method of using worms to turn kitchen waste into extremely rich castings for use in the garden. The vericul-ture bin is a very effective means of reducing the amount of waste that goes into the landfill while also producing an organic fertilizer to return to the earth. Red wig-gler worms are placed in one section of the worm box with wet, shredded newspaper. Food scraps from the kitchen are added to the box as they accumulate. Worms feed on fruit and vegetable peels, tea bags, coffee grounds, and pulverized eggshells, and can consume ap

Large apartment complexes fence in their garbage can areas to keep out dogs and other pests. This area is a good place for bins for recycling, and even a compost pile for landscaping. The solid waste storage area needs garbage truck access and noise control, and should be located with concern for wind direction to control odors.

Both the building's occupants and the custodial staff must cooperate for successful recycling in a large building. Office building operations generate large quantities of recyclable white paper, newspaper, and box cardboard, along with nonrecyclable but burnable trash, including floor sweepings. Offices also produce food scraps (including coffee grounds) and metals and glass from food containers. Dumping this all into one collection bin saves space, but with high landfill use costs, separation and recycling spaces are becoming more and more common.

The collection process for recycling in larger build- i( ings has three stages (Fig. 12-2). First, white paper, recyclables, compostables, and garbage are deposited in separate compartments near the employees' desks. In order to make an office building recycling system work, the interior designer must often design a whole series of multiple bins and the trails that connect them. Office systems manufacturers are beginning to address some of these needs. The process often needs to be coordinated with the sources of the materials, such as paper suppliers, and with the recycling contractors who pick them up.

Next, custodians dump the separate bins in a collection cart. There are also bins for white paper in the computer and copy rooms and for compostables and garbage in the employee lunchroom. Floor sweepings

Figure 12-2 Office building recycling.

are added to the garbage. The custodians take the full cart to a service closet at the building's core and deposit each type of separated waste in a larger bin. The storage closet also has a service sink to wash the garbage bins, and may have a paper shredder.

Finally, white paper is shredded and stored for collection by recycling and garbage trucks at the ground floor service entrance, near the freight elevator. Com-postables are stored or sent to a roof garden compost pile. Garbage is compacted and bagged. Compactors reduce wastes to as little as a tenth of their original volume. The storage area should be supplied with cool, dry, fresh air. Compactors and shredders are noisy and generate heat, and must be vibration-isolated from the floor. A sprinkler fire protection system may be required, and a disinfecting spray may be necessary. Access to a floor drain and water for washing is a good idea.

In some buildings, wastes are ground and transported by a system of very large vacuum pipes, which suck the wastes to a central location for incineration or compression into bales. Garbage grinders flush scraps into sewers, adding to sewage system loads.

The renovation of a late nineteenth century New York building for the National Audubon Society is an excellent example of making recycling work. Designed by the Croxton Collaborative, the eight-story building was renovated in the 1990s. The collection system uses two desktop paper trays, one for reuse and one for recycling. Central recycling points are located near four vertical chutes that pass through each floor. The chutes carry collected materials to a subbasement resource recovery center for recycling. The one for white paper is near the copier. Food wastes and soft soiled paper, returnable plastic bottles and aluminum cans, and mixed paper (colored paper, file folders, paperboard, and self-stick notes) are all collected in a pantry area near staff kitchens. Shelves in the pantry hold returnable glass bottles, coated papers (from juice and milk cartons), magazines, and newspapers.

Custodians pick up the wastebasket contents from work areas and the materials from the pantries, and take them to the subbasement to sort. In the subbasement, large movable bins collect material dropped down the chutes. Glass bottles, newspapers, and other items are boxed or baled. Recycled materials are taken to the delivery dock for pickup by recycling and garbage collectors. Organic wastes are refrigerated until enough accumulates for screening and adding to a composter. This composter is closed for odor control, but supplied with air for aerobic digestion. After about three months, the waste turns to humus and is used for a roof garden.

Food and organic waste represents a significant portion of the waste stream, and states and communities are creating opportunities for businesses to begin organic waste diversion programs. In Boston, Slade Gorton fishing company has established an effective source-separation process that captured 15 tons of fish by-products in its first two months. The Massachusetts

Institute of Technology implemented a pilot source-separation system in the year 2000 in the primary on-campus dining hall. Food preparation waste from the kitchen is collected daily for composting, helping MIT to achieve its 30 percent recycling goal and reducing the cost of waste disposal. MIT is now developing plans to divert all of the school's organic waste, including yard waste and food, for composting. This will help to maximize recycling while minimizing costs, odor complaints, and the need for workers to carry all that trash.

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