VistaTek’s Sustainability Audit

JON KLAPPERICH  Program Manager with  Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation  www.mnchamber.com

JON KLAPPERICH Program Manager with Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation www.mnchamber.com

Over the last two years, VistaTek has been working with Minnesota Waste Wise Foundation to become more sustainable. They performed a waste audit for us during a company meeting. This was great for all of us to see first-hand what we are and are not doing correctly.

Findings and Grades

Composting our organics (A-)

Landfill content (B)

Recycling (C-) 

  • Almost every item in compost/organics bin was either food organics or BPI certified compostable plastic products.

    • There are a lot of items that seem compostable that are not.

    • “Eco-friendly” plastic products are not compostable without the BPI certification. (All SelfEco Caterware products are BPI certified)

    • Plastic/Wax lined paper plates and cups are not considered compostable (need to go in trash)

  • We were putting recycling in a trash bag and then throwing it in the recycle container.

    • Fact: If the recycling is in a trash bag, the sorting company will assume it is trash and divert it to the landfill.

  • We were recycling all numbered plastic 1-6.

    • Fact: In our area, Washington and Hennepin County, only plastic identity numbers 1, 2 and 5 are recyclable.

  • We were putting all paper towels in the recycling.

    • Fact: Paper towels should be put into the organics bin. These will assist in the composting process. These will not make through the recycling process.

  • We were leaving food in recyclable containers.

    • Fact: Washington and Hennepin County will not accept organics inside recyclable plastics. We were asked to dump the food/organics into the compost bin, rinse out the plastic, then recycle it.

All in all, it was a great experience and our team learned a lot. Each day we make these little changes, we can feel better about tomorrow.

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Recycle Tips:

  • Leave the plastic caps on the plastic bottles. Once the caps are removed, they are too small for the sorting equipment.

  • Pizza boxes with cheese and grease can be composted. Only clean and dry pizza boxes can be recycled.

  • Aluminum has the highest value for recycling. It can be melted back into a reusable product within 30 days. It also has unlimited recyclability! 

  • There is a good saying…”When in doubt… Throw it out”.

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”