Little Sisters of the Poor offers a continuum of care to the needy elderly of Saint Paul, Minneapolis and surrounding areas. The Jeanne Jugan Apartments, with 27 units, is an independent living community for low income seniors. The attached 74-bed Holy Family Residence provides seniors with limited income and assets a place to receive board and care, and skilled nursing care services. Through a county grant program, EcoConsilium partnered with their Mother Superior and her directors of facilities, housekeeping and foodservice to evaluate the campus-wide waste and recycling collection system. The recycling program was not optimized due to a lack of collection containers and equipment, and food waste was being thrown away in the trash.
After a year of planning and preparation, we helped Little Sisters launch a facility-wide conversion to a best practices recycling collection system and a new organics recovery program. We facilitated the installation of a food waste barrel storage shed on the loading dock; launched a new food-to-hogs program in the main kitchen and five separate dining rooms; managed the assembly and labeling of 535 new trash and recycling containers and equipment; and conducted multiple staff and resident recycling and organics training sessions. After the new waste diversion program settled in, we helped staff collect dumpster fullness data and facilitated right-size meetings with the hauler.
The improved waste diversion practices decreased trash volume by 25%. While recycling volumes increased, our right-sizing process eliminated operational inefficiencies and decreased hauler recycling services by 30%. As a result, trash and recycling hauler costs decreased $450 a month. Even though the new organics services added costs of $350 a month, Little Sisters was happy with the net savings of $100 a month and the environmental benefits of their new waste diversion program.