Large volume of waste
A recent study by the waste industry found that organic materials made up half of all household solid waste -- and up to 75 percent of that can be composted and re-used. Jill Ziegler and others said the numbers are probably even higher for sports arenas and certainly for restaurants but no doubt lower for offices and other businesses.
In a three-week pilot program in November 2009, eight downtown businesses, with the help of the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District and sustainability group Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S), combined to collect 9 tons of food waste. Most of that came from food preparation work in their corporate kitchens or restaurants, not from the vast amount of leftover fan food at the sports venues.
That's the next level: The Browns and Cavaliers expect to be collecting and composting fan food waste -- possibly including biodegradable plates, cups and cutlery -- by next season. The Indians are also working on a plan for Progressive Field but haven't yet settled on a contractor to pick up the material.
All of this makes Cleveland a part of the new movement toward zero waste, said Beau Daane of the county waste district. "We're very excited to see the number of companies downtown and elsewhere who are taking the lead on this," he said. "This is a movement catching on here and around the country."