Calgary - As spring turns thoughts to gardens, the Calgary Stampede has been doing its part to grow Calgary’s compost stockpiles.
After a successful composting pilot program to compost the massive volume of kitchen waste from Stampede’s central kitchen, the Stampede is moving ahead with a permanent composting program. Since February, Stampede chefs - who prepare 175,000 meals throughout Stampede Park year-round - have been separating their kitchen peelings, waste food, meats, bones, fats and plastics. It’s estimated that composting diverts about 80 per cent of the Stampede’s kitchen waste from landfill, where organics would otherwise decompose into carbon dioxide and methane.
“I haven’t seen our chefs so excited about something for a long time,” says Derek Dale, Calgary Stampede’s executive chef. “Most of us compost waste from our own kitchens at home and we were really motivated to be do this on such a massive scale here in our Stampede kitchen. It just makes great sense.”
The Stampede composts materials that include vegetable peelings, coffee grounds, fruit, cooked meat and bones, vegetables, plus many plastics and wrapping that can be recycled. Contractors from P.E.L. Recycling collect the Stampede’s waste bins twice a week and deliver the materials to the East Calgary Compost Depot.
Dale explains industrial-scale composting is a bit trickier than home composting because waste can be contaminated with the wrong type of material, making an entire shipment unsuitable for the City’s compost depot. P.E.L. Recycling held special workshops to train all Stampede kitchen employees to ensure they are separating materials correctly and getting into good habits.
“We are starting off with this composting pilot in our main kitchen, but the intention to grow our composting both in size and scope,” says Kevin Mulligan, the Stampede Park maintenance manager whose passion for environmental solutions sparked this composting pilot. “We intend to incrementally include other materials such as glass, and to collect compost materials from other Stampede kitchens, guest waste and other sources of organic waste.”
Composting is one another way the Stampede is continually improving its social and environmental performance. The Stampede donates all useable leftover food to Chef’s Table food donation program. During Stampede 2013, Suncor Energy staged a green breakfast event on Suncor Family Day, serving 20,000 meals with compostable cutlery, plates, cups and napkins. This single event successfully diverted 640 kg of organics and 230 kg of cardboard and plastic from landfill. The Stampede also has strong environmental programs that include energy consumption reduction measures, recycling programs and bio-fuel recycling of oils and grease.
About the Calgary Stampede
As we enter our second century, the Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned 10-day Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
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About the Calgary Stampede and the Environment
In order to maintain the integrity of our planet and our communities, the Calgary Stampede has formulated goals that will uphold community values and standards. Recycling practices, energy efficiency technology, green products, and water safeguarding measures are just a few of the efforts in place on Stampede Park. Initiatives and programs include:
· Suncor Family Day at the Stampede in 2013 served 20,000 free pancake meals, with Suncor Energy ensuring the event used compostable materials, diverting 641 kg of organics and 250 kg of plastics and cardboard from landfill.
· During Stampede 2013 - 641,265 beverage containers were recycled, more than 42.1 metric tonnes of cardboard and recyclables were collected, and about 8.84 metric tonnes of used cooking oil and grease collected and recycled for use as bio-fuels.
· Stampede has a year-round environmental management system registered to ISO 14001. ISO: 14001 is an international standard for an environmental management system which was implemented to mitigate or eliminate any negative impact to the environment through our activities, products and services. It also ensures we are compliant to all applicable environmental laws; we strive to continually improve and prevent pollution:
o A bulb eater that crushes fluorescent tubes and separates the mercury and phosphorous vapors.
o Very unique refrigerant recycling process for our air conditioning and refrigeration units.
o Twenty on-demand hot water heaters on Park.
o Twenty waterless urinals on the Park.
o A no idling policy for vehicles.
o Fleet right-sizing ensures the most efficient vehicle is used for the task; and the use of bio-diesel.
o High efficiency lighting which uses less power and provides more light throughout the Park.
o Lights on the Midway are not turned on until dusk to cut power consumption. Programmable systems used to monitor and control energy consumption.
o Big Belly Solar powered trash compactors on prime locations of the park.
About PEL Recycling
Organic material is a major problem in our landfills and P.E.L. is the only commercial recycler that collects compostable material! Landfilled organics produce methane, and due to its greater impact, (absorbs infrared radiation 21 times as effectively as carbon dioxide) methane causes more intense climate change. Calgary companies such as hotels and restaurants recycle almost 100 metric tons a year and the volumes are growing. Offices are getting on board and recycling their coffee grounds and fruit peels - every bit helps!
About Green Calgary
Green Calgary is a dynamic, non-profit urban environmental organization with a mission to empower Calgarians to create healthy homes and communities through environmental education, products and services. Since 1978 Green Calgary has sought to address a range of pressing urban environmental issues including pollution, waste management and resource conservation. As the nature and understanding of these and other issues has evolved over the years, so too has Green Calgary’s focus, programs and approach. In addition to providing information and raising awareness, our organization strives to provide the specific tools and resources that empower individuals and groups to make positive environmental changes.