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The Garbage Goldmine

by Sustainable Nikos on August 2, 2011 · 0 comments

in Miscellaneous Schmidt

Throughout my time working for SRELP and blogging on “,” I have continually referenced my goals of reducing “black bin” or garbage waste and increasing the volume of compost waste. However, I have only touched on or vaguely mentioned my project without going into any detail about the nuts and bolts of my task. I refrained from providing detail because although garbage is an undoubtedly important area of our lives, it isn’t particularly exciting. However, having come to the conclusion of my garbage project, I can definitively say that garbage IS something that can be exciting.

Garbage can be exciting in that one can save a boatload of money through careful and responsible waste management. In the case of SRELP’s building garbage profile, for example, Helmut was spending $3,878.05 per month to provide garbage services for the 6 buildings he manages. At several building locations, he was providing more garbage space than his tenants required. Available garbage volume is calculated by adding up the volume of available bin space (2 96 gallon bins provide 192 gallons of available bin space) and multiplying that sum by the number of garbage pickup days per week.  2 96 gallon bins picked up 7 times per week=1344 gallons of weekly available bin space.

By traveling to each building location repeatedly over the course of 2 wees and recording the amount of available volume that was being used, I was able to determine that most of our buildings use far less space than we provide.  In other words, we were paying to provide garbage volume that wasn’t being used.  We then worked to come up with a new available garbage volume that would better fit the habits and necessities of our tenants.  Upon finding said number, we called and changed our building garbage profiles for 3 out of the 6 buildings that we manage.  The results were as follows:

Original price for waste management: $3,878.05 per month

New price for waste management: $2,479.37 per month

By reducing our garbage bin reliance and applying a more eco-friendly waste management program, we saved (and will continue to save) $1,398.68 per month.  If saving almost $1,500 per month doesn’t make you excited, then just think that you can save a lot of money AND save the environment by becoming more compost and recycling conscientious.

Signing off,

A very excited SRELP intern



We are what we throw out…

by Sustainable Nikos on June 10, 2011 · 2 comments

in Miscellaneous Schmidt

Hello all—as this is my first blog post for Sustainable Schmidt.  I am Nikos Buse, I am the new intern here at SRELP, and I have been working with Helmut for about a week and a half. I love it here—I am working in a field which inspires me, feeling like I can make a difference, and struggling to find my apparently elusive sense of humor. However, my boss, one Mr. Helmut Schmidt, has had no trouble appeasing his humorous inclinations, as evidenced by the work he has given me.
Faced with the youthful eagerness, intelligence, impressive work-ethic, and charm that I bring to work daily, he decided to assign me the task of improving how SRELP manages trash disposal. Doubtless he finds it funny in some sad way. However, as I can only play the cards I am dealt, instead of saving the world’s environmental issues and making Mr. Schmidt millions of dollars, I will instead put all of my talents and energy towards lessening our tenants’ reliance on garbage bins, and increasing their awareness and use of compost and recycling—saving my fortunate boss money in the process.
I need to implement composting at 3 locations (Clay Street, Bush Street, and Guerrero Street) and decrease garbage bin reliance at 4 locations (Pacific Ave, Carl Street, Post Street, and Bush Street).  Unfortunately, this goal is complicated by the fact that all of these buildings are older—meaning that they provide less space for the placement of additional bins (for compost and recycling), and rely upon garbage chutes as the main form of waste removal. The latter problem is especially difficult to tackle, because, as Helmut and his sassy (but funny and amazingly talented) assistant John have informed me, some tenants might just dump all waste down the garbage chute and into the black garbage bin, for the sake of convenience.
Most recently, I have called Steven at SF Environment (to no response… which leaves me feeling like Rodney Dangerfield), with the goal of procuring a new 32 gallon compost bin and individual apartment sized bins for the residents of our building on Bush Street. I will also begin to check the volume of the trash there, to see if we can remove a garbage bin, and save SRELP some money.  I am not sure how it will all work out, but I will keep you posted.