Global Green USA is the American affiliate of Green Cross International, founded by President Gorbachev to foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future. For 20 years, Global Green USA has been a national leader in advancing smart solutions to climate change that improve lives and protect our planet.
Global Green works to reduce food waste through a combination of on the ground pilots, active research, and stakeholder engagement to improve the overall system of waste.
Our recent highlights include introducing the “eco-ambassador” approach to new cities and apartment complexes, recruiting over 80 citizens who signed up to be “eco-ambassadors” to improve waste diversion in their apartments, and working with cities to evaluate approaches to improve the overall waste system.
We've selected a few of our favorite recent articles and resources. Enjoy!
Ensuring Sustainability: Building Ambassador Waste Diversion Programs
Results from Initial Pilots with Sensors for Tracking Waste in Santa Monica
Initial results of testing out the use of sensors as a means of gaining more long-term insight into the effectiveness of waste diversion outreach programs, and improving the overall economics and efficiency of waste collection.
This report and an accompanying webinar outlines opportunities for both carbon sequestration, water management and cost savings.
This report and an accompanying webinar outlines opportunities for both carbon sequestration and water management as well as cost savings.
Compost Use in the City of Los Angeles: The Model Water Efficiency Ordinance (MWELO) in Practice
Compost absorbs water. Several years ago, Global Green helped support the passage of an ordinance for improved water management that includes provisions for compost use. We revisit the ordinance and see how its going in LA.
Moving from Demonstration to Scale: Scaling Up Compost Infrastructure
This article provides an overview of the Gore composting technology and examples of how it can be used in a distributed fashion in dense urban areas, including NYC and Prince Georges County, Maryland.
Global Green by The Nyc Compost Project Hosted By B.. - 1M ago
The NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse is a program funded by the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY), which features a community composting facility, located under the Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City, New York. The compost site uses a SG Mini™ System with GORE® Covers, which was developed by Sustainable Generation, and consists of a GORE® Cover placed over an aerated static pile. SCS Engineers (SCS) was hired to assist the NYC Compost Project Hosted by Big Reuse with the design and construction of their new site in 2017, which will increase the processing capacity to a maximum of 1,000 cubic yards of food scraps annually.
The NYC Compost Project works to rebuild New York City’s soils by providing New Yorkers with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities they need to produce and use compost locally. The compost facility is part of a community-scale composting network. The finished compost is used in community gardens, street trees, and other public greening projects.
The following design and operations features are presented in this paper:
Composting system underneath the Queensborough Bridge in New York City
A growing number of cities and towns are adding both residential and commercial sector food waste collection. In parallel to regulatory trends and consumer demand, there’s a need for more infrastructure.
For many areas, it is challenging to see where to start when building new infrastructure. One option can be to start with a demonstration site and build from there. The GORE® Covers are an example of infrastructure that can be built and scaled in a modular fashion.
The diagram below shows the basic inputs/outputs of food waste and woodchips, which are placed under the cover to produce compost. The covers are designed to trap moisture and odors and help accelerate the composting process with the aid of an in-floor aeration process over an 8 week period.
Several areas where space may be available for demonstrations include:
Wastewater treatment facilities
Recycling Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs)
Starting with Demonstration Scale: Less than 1 Acre
According to the principals at Sustainable Generation, Authorized GORE® Cover Sales and Service Provider for North America, sites as small as 50 X 100 feet can be considered for a demonstration. It is recommended that sites are larger than 1 acre so that there is an opportunity to expand. Using a 50 x 100 feet pad, the company can process 100 tons over 8 weeks. This 8-week demonstration phase provides time to test receiving the organic waste feedstock supply, learning how to compost and comply and finding end markets prior to building a full-scale facility. This mitigates technology risks as well as conserves capital expenditures.
Users have the option of whether or not to continue operations after 8 weeks. The pilot period can be paid for via a leasing arrangement, something that is atypical in the world of organics processing, thus allowing the project to get started.
While the technology works anywhere, the economics of these systems are most favorable in areas with “above $40 per ton tip fees and secured markets for compost products.”
Case Study - Prince George’s County, Maryland: From Demonstration to Expansion
Prince George’s County Composting Site. Mobile systems expanded the facility capacity in a modular fashion.
In 2013, Prince Georges County implemented an SG Mobile™ System with Gore Covers (covered aerated static pile) as a way to test mixing in a food waste input with yard “green” waste composting. The system expanded in a modular fashion starting with 3 mobile systems that process 250 tons every 8 weeks. The County expanded the system to receiving 12,000 tons per year in year which currently on a ½ acre pad. The Prince George’s County Western Branch is now expanding the facility to 57,000 tons per year.
To make compost systems move to the demonstration to scale, some items to consider are:
Taking into account savings on hauling and disposal costs by keeping facilities closer to the point of generation.
Building robust markets for compost, particularly in areas with low tip fees. To support the market, Global Green recommends looking into policy tools used by sectors such as solar for end market development, such as long-term purchase agreements.
To learn more about starting or scaling up organics diversion in your location, please contact us at email@example.com
Conscious Capitalism LA's 2017 Profit and Purpose (PxP) Conference brought together purpose-driven businesses and entrepreneurs to discuss the power of storytelling to create change. Global Green participated in a panel shared with Kiss the Ground and LA Compost. Discussed in this panel were the benefits of compost, how easy it is to compost both at work and at home, and the plethora of composting options that are now available to businesses and the community given recent legislation (AB-1826* & RecycLA*). The panel drove home the message that compost is an absolute necessity to combat food waste and climate change today, and with every step as we move forward.
*Increased access to food waste diversion and composting options has been provided in the City of Los Angeles given the state's Mandatory Commercial Organics Recycling Ordinance (AB-1826) and LA's new Franchise Hauling Zone Agreement (RecycLA).
Global Green by Amandine Chaleil & Matt De La Houss.. - 2M ago
For the past year, Global Green has been conducting outreach via the use of eco-ambassadors. In order to track results from the program remotely, we have piloted technologies for reducing waste in multi-family residences. From our work this year, an average of 1.5 lbs of food waste per household were diverted from landfills and we’re aiming for eco-ambassador programs to achieve results in the same range. In cities where the costs are borne in the trash bin (and not compost bin) then economic savings can be achieved by closely tracking and achieving diversion results. We’re currently testing out and modeling what is possible.
Testing reports on sensor technology is an opportunity to improve the information in a field where data is in scarce supply. Sensors provide site-specific, real-time waste stream data. They’re also compatible with the larger energy/water/waste reporting platform used by thousands of multi-family operators nation-wide, EPA’s portfolio manager.
For this pilot, the sensors, provided by Enevo for the pilot period, measure fill rates and collection frequency. Remote sensors were installed as part of a multi-family food waste project to assess the volume of the of material going into the trash, recycling and food scrap bins.
In total, two multi-family buildings located in the City of Santa Monica were equipped with remote sensors on each of the 3 waste streams, recycling, mixed (landfill), and organics. One participant was a national Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and the other is a Southern California affordable housing nonprofit. The sensors were installed and collecting data for twelve weeks.
These sensors are measurement tools which allow us to remotely conduct waste audits of the bins involved in the pilot project by both tracking the rate of waste generation, as well as collection frequency and efficiency. Some visual inspection is recommended to go along with sensor data to ensure the correct materials are going into the accurate bins, as well as to monitor contamination.
By tracking fill rate and collection frequency data, sensors can help to:
Inform when waste pickup is optimal
Track the volume of waste in each bin over time
Ensure waste is picked up only when the bins are full
What data is gathered?
The information collected through sensors can help property management companies, haulers, and cities to optimize waste collection service to save money and encourage further diversion.
After a pilot period of 12 weeks, the data supports that sensors offer both environmental and economic benefit.
The graph below illustrates data provided by the sensors and the related software that shows containers fill level over time for the mixed waste (landfill) stream at one of the pilot buildings. The first graph displays container fill rate over a 1-month period, a snapshot of the entire 3-month pilot period displayed in the second graph below.
From Data to Action
The data reveals waste collection most often occurs with bins underfilled to less than 50% of full capacity. The observation of under-utilized bins leads to 2 different potential actions:
Action 1: Reducing collection frequency
Action 2: Reducing bin size
Action 1 is to reduce the number of waste collections per week. By reducing collection frequency by 1 or 2 days, this represents a potential monthly cost savings of:
Cost Savings = Cost of Each Pick-up X # of Reduced Pick-up per month
Cost Savings = $171 * 4 (assuming one reduced pick-up per week)
Then cost savings are about $685 and $1,370, respectively.
Sensors can thus help identify necessary changes to improve waste hauling efficiency, and the waste cycle itself by incentivizing waste reduction. Additionally, sensors assess the residents’ participation in recycling and potentially optimize the waste stream and waste management decisions.
Action 2 is to reduce bin size.
Bin Size Rate or Larger Bin - Bin Size (Rate) for Smaller Bin = Cost Savings
In the City of Santa Monica program, we are generally working with 2 cubic yard bins. If these were reduced to 1.5 cubic yards, then costs are reduced. First, this option needs to be carefully considered to make sure that enough bin “space” is left to prevent overfilling. Secondly, once “peak demand” is determined then cost reduction measures can be considered and implemented. For example, if the collection cost of 2 cubic yards bins costs $650, and the collection of 1.5 cubic yards bins costs $550, then there is potential to reduce costs by $100 per collection. Further, if this bin were collected twice per week for one year, this is a cost savings of $10,400 per year.
How to Participate:
Want to learn more about reporting on residential apartment waste diversion programs success and the role that technology can play? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Global Green is working on modeling scenarios for compost use in order to review how more soil can receive the benefits of compost in urban and suburban areas.
One way that this happens is via ordinances, such as the Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance in California.
What is the Model Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance?
The 2015 update of this ordinance requires compost use in soil for irrigation & landscape design plans to improve water efficiency.
Commonly known as the MWELO, the Model Water Efficiency Landscape Ordinance promotes water efficient landscapes in new developments and retrofitted landscapes. It is designed to use California’s limited water supply in an efficient manner for landscape irrigation.
Timeline of the MWELO update process:
April, 2015: California Governor Jerry Brown Executive Order B-29 required the update of the MWELO by California Department of Water Resources (CDWR) in response to severe local unprecedented drought to achieve 25% reduction in water use.
December, 2015: New MWELO requirements went into effect.
March, 2016: Deadline for local agencies, both cities and counties, were expected to adopt the updated version of the ordinance MWELO.
January, 2017: Start date for annual reporting on MWELO implementation by local agencies.
Learn more about the MWELO ordinance in a previous article on this topic:
Some of the important changes of the updated MWELO concern the required integration of compost regarding water efficiency.
Compost has enormous drought relief and thus water conservation potential in soil amendment. Indeed, its greatest benefit to the landscape sector is its ability to conserve moisture which reduces water consumption and related costs. Research completed in the US and abroad proved that soil amendment can reduce the water need for irrigation by 25 to 50%.
Therefore, compost is a key element of the “watershed approach” of the MWELO update.
MWELO applies to the following landscape projects:
NEW construction with a landscape area of 500 square feet or more
A rehabilitated landscape project of 2,500 square feet or more.
Under both landscape and irrigation design plans section, the MWELO requests for eligible projects:
A minimum organic matter content of soil of 6% in the top 6 inches of soil
If not possible, a minimum compost incorporation rate of 4 cubic yards per 1,000 square feet at a 6 inches depth into the soil
The compost use features must be provided on plans
The use of compost results in numerous environmental benefits which make it a valuable sustainable material for climate change mitigation:
Soil health quality increase
Plant growth increase
Where is the link with Global Green’s work?
In 2016, the Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR) team at Global Green implemented a Food Waste Reduction and Recycling program engaging more than 523 households in 10 cities across California to combat food waste. More than 84,000 lbs of food waste were successfully diverted from landfills, avoiding harmful greenhouse gases emissions (mostly carbon dioxide and methane).
What is the MWELO implementation compost use impact like in real life conditions?
The City of Los Angeles adopted the updated MWELO on December 1, 2015 through the Municipal Code (LAMC), under the Green Building Code. This means only building projects falling under the Green Building category must comply with the MWELO requirements.
It must be emphasized that the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification is a voluntary initiative.
Among all the projects falling under the green building inspection this same year, about 13,700 of them complied with MWELO which accounts for a total landscape or project area satisfying MWELO of around 800,000 square feet.
How cool is this data?
The 800,000 square foot project area in 2016 represents a significant compost use volume of 400,000 cubic feet, when considering the MWELO requirement of 6 inches depth (0.5 feet) compost incorporation into the soil (800,000 square feet * 0.5 feet = 400,000 cubic feet).
Based on the MWELO 6% organic matter requirement, the 400,000 cubic feet of area satisfying it suggest a total compost use (or at least organic soil amendment) in City of Los Angeles for the year 2016 of 24,000 cubic feet (400,000 cubic feet * 0.06 = 24,000 cubic feet).
We at Global Green like compost… a lot. In short, compost creates a closed-loop system between food, soil, and consumers. We recycle our food scraps to be composted into soil amendment, which is then used to fulfill a cornucopia of purposes such as growing food, mitigating storm-water and water conservation issues, soil remediation of brownfields and construction sites, and the list goes on. Fortunately, compost’s resume of environmental services is becoming better known outside of compost producers and community garden circles. In fact, we’re finding compost is making its way into construction and city planning, as well as state legislation (California's Model Water Efficiency Landscaping Ordinance) and green building certification programs.
One way in which we’ve found this to be true is in our QAP Analysis. Twelve years ago, Global Green began completing an annual review of green building practices represented in each state’s Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, publishing a national performance ranking of QAPs (see here for 2017 QAP Analysis Report). For many years, both the topics of 1) landscaping as a form of water conservation, and 2) soil as a form of hazard abatement have been incorporated into our QAP scoring criteria, and given CoRR’s focus in recent years on food waste diversion and compost, we decided to take this year’s QAP analysis one step further. This year, in addition to recording mentions of landscaping and soil, we expanded this search by including mentions of the following: soils report, soil remediation, erosion prevention, compost, and community garden.
Our reasoning here was to see if the state Housing Finance Authorities (the agencies setting each state’s QAP criteria) are jumping on the compost bandwagon. Much to our delight, we found that several are doing just that!
This year, six states mentioned or recommended using compost in site development and/or remediation plans; these states are California, Colorado, Montana, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Washington D.C.  We also found the State of Arkansas and Washington D.C., both, recommend providing food waste/organics collection programs in their QAPs. As is becoming a common practice, many of these states incorporated compost and organics collection into their QAP by incentivizing or requiring green building third-party certification programs such as Enterprise Green Communities 2015 Criteria (EGC) that include compost and/or organics collection programs in their criteria . In this line, Global Green is working with the U.S. Green Building Council to soon incorporate compost into LEED certification as well. Multi-family residential dwelling developments seeking LEED certification may soon be able to score innovation credits if a comprehensive composting program is included in site development plans.
In summary, both local food waste processing and consumption of compost are increasingly being promoted and incentivized in the urban planning landscape, ultimately planting the seeds for a more sustainable urban food system.
 Gittlin, Madisen. 2017 QAP Analysis: Green Building Criteria in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Programs. November 2017. Page 8.
 Many additional states are eligible for this tally in that they recommend or require certification through EGC (and therefore indirectly recommend compost use/ organics collection programs), but at this juncture, we’ve only included states that either directly mention compost in their QAP or that require elective EGC criteria (i.e. Erosion and Sedimentation Control is an elective EGC criteria through which compost is a recommended measure).
 Enterprise Green Communities 2015 Criteria recommends remediating soil in a sloped area disturbed during construction by using compost blankets and/or filter socks (2015 Enterprise Green Communities Criteria Manual, page 59)
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 95% of our food waste ends up in the landfill (1). By reducing wasted food, we can save money as well as contribute less to greenhouse gas emissions. The decomposition of our food waste creates methane, which may seem less innocuous than carbon dioxide, but its global warming potential is 34 times greater than the latter (2).
How can we better manage the food we throw away? Composting can close the loop of waste management. However, composting the traditional way in a typical backyard pile could potentially take months or up to more than a year. Some composting facilities have adopted the GORE® Cover Technology, which is a system that controls the release of odors and greenhouse gases from the decomposition process.
GORE Cover Technology, a large cover that is sealed over the compost piles, has an input volume range from as little as 2,000 to more than 200,000 tons per year. It can be used to process a variety of green waste, food waste, biosolids or municipal solid waste (MSW)3. Due to its ability to trap odor and moisture, the cover can accelerate the composting process, converting waste to compost in eight weeks, with the aid of an in-floor aeration process 4.
The GORE Cover is both cost-effective in installation and maintenance. It can ultimately accelerate the decomposition process to potentially produce high-quality compost, create a return on investment, and reduce operational cost. It has been approved and utilized in more than 150 composting facilities and more than 20 countries 3.
A single GORE Cover costs about $75,000 and covers one ‘heap.’ A standard heap is 26 feet (8m) wide at the base, 165 feet (50m) long and 10-12 feet (3 – 3.5m) in height. Each heap contains approximately 1,000-1,200 cubic yards of composting material 5.
Table: Capital Cost Outline for a 40,000 ton/year (16 covered aerated piles) GORE Cover composting plant 6. This figure derives from a study by Columbia University conducted in 2009.
Capital Cost Category
Storm Water System
Gore Cover System
Below are some GORE Cover projects throughout the US that highlight the variety in size and intake each composting facility holds, as well as the estimated capital costs of the project.
Size (Footprint in Acres)
Tons Per Year
Build it Green (BiG! Compost), NYC (7)
0.5 acre (with a 10,000 sq ft composting area)
Miramar Greenery, San Diego, CA* (8)
Miramar Greenery, San Diego, CA* 8
Prince George’s County, Maryland (9)
200 acres (52 acres is paved asphalt)
Cedar Grove Composting,Everett, Washington (10)
50,000 tons of food scraps + 275,000 tons of yard trimmings
$20M (estimated) (11)
LA County Sanitation District (Tulare Lake Compost)
1,000,000 tons (500,000 wtpy,biosolids and 400,000 tpy amendments, with current buildout designed for,100,000 wtpy biosolids, and currently receiving about 32,000 wtpy biosolids)*
*GORE was implemented in the Miramar Greenery composting facility for an eight-month pilot project in 2009, which consisted of two windrows of compost. The facility itself is 74 acres and can process up to 250,000 tons of organic waste per year.
*wtpy = waste tons per year
The GORE Cover Technology is available for purchase from multiple suppliers throughout the country.
With the continued support from the Walmart Foundation, Global Green was able to analyze Food Waste Solutions
Global Green is seeking to gain more information regarding how soil is managed in the urban and suburban environment as a part of the construction process; in both the public and private sectors.
From this information we will develop recommendations for opportunities for increased sustainability, share results with survey participants, and develop case studies. As a component of this project, we seek to provide details on economic and logistical considerations for the use of compost for water management, carbon sequestration, among others. We're also seeking to identify where compost is a good fit as a soil blend as a part of public and private projects.