Doing the Right Thing With Compostables and Composting at T. Rowe Price
OWINGS MILLS, MD., May 17, 2021— Compostable servicewares including cups, plates, bowls, utensils and other items are becoming more commonplace as product formulations evolve and product quality increases. T. Rowe Price in Owings Mills, Md., firmly embraces recycling, composting, and use of compostables as part of its corporate environmental policy and is on the forefront of changing practices for the good of the planet.
Compostable containers are used at all T. Rowe Price locations in Owings Mills, Baltimore, and Colorado Springs, Colo., where CulinArt provides dining services (since 2013). Next up is implementing compostables in office coffee services. There are 93 pantries over all T. Rowe Price sites, so phase-in of compostables in OCS will be gradual.
One challenge to implementation is educating customers that compostables are in use and that they must be separated into their own recycling bins when customers are through with them. “The client started out with simple trash cans” for composting, explains Eric Smith, senior director of dining services for CulinArt, and created marketing and signage to encourage customers to participate.
To take that to the next level, the company acquired multi-section bins made from recycled milk containers, into which customers deposit compostables, recyclables, and regular trash. Smith worked with CulinArt’s Marketing Department to create signage with pictograms to prevent items from being placed in the wrong bins. “It’s a matter of training and mentoring in order to do the right thing,” Smith adds.
Starting in 2015, the team began working with Veteran Composting, having adopted the Compass Waste Not Program to assist in accounting for what is going into the compostable stream and to better help control food cost. “We collect our scraps and any possible product that is expired,” Smith says, “which is measured by the quart and recorded. We collect this through clear, five-gallon, marked food containers and then place it in outdoor large totes.”
Veteran visits the site once a week to collect the used bins and replace them with clean ones. As the vendor’s name suggests, all of the composting collection and processing is done at its facility by a team of armed forces veterans or their family members. “At the time we started this program, Veteran was the only approved vendor to pick up food scraps from foodservice and restaurant operations in Maryland,” Smith notes.