Next week is St. Patrick’s Day and at Roadrunner we’re celebrating by reflecting on what we’ve done during the past year to be more “green.” Everything we’re doing to save energy, food and therefore money, might surprise you. We call all of our efforts in this area our Green Initiatives.
Baler we use daily to prep 284,000 pounds of recyclables in 2013. Recyclables
include items such as cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.
By far the biggest thing we do that is “green” is food rescue. While some of the food that we acquire is brand new, most is food that a retailer or wholesaler doesn’t want to sell to their regular customers. We say we “rescue” this food because it would otherwise go into landfills if retailers, manufacturers and growers didn’t have us to give it to.
In 2013, we rescued, or facilitated the rescue of, almost 23 million pounds of food. Next time you are at the Food Bank, we’ll show you what this food looks like. Most of it is beautiful, fresh, nutritious food. What we can’t use we compost, which is another Green Initiatives activity. After feeding people, “food rescue” is probably the most important service we provide because here in America we throw away a shameful 40% ($165 billion’s worth) of all the food we produce.
In 2013 we formalized our Food Rescue Program to certify partner agencies to pick up donated food too. Program agencies become certified by Roadrunner Food Bank by making a commitment to training, food handling, reporting and monitoring. So far, 12 agencies have become certified, and we plan to certify more.
Partner Agencies are able to use this graphic endorsing their certification
along with their food rescue efforts once they are certified.
And it isn’t just about food. Here at Roadrunner we also recycle all cardboard, plastic and paper, for which we actually earn revenue, not just save on waste removal. When I say “we” I really mean volunteers. The food and materials recycling are all done by saintly volunteers, and it isn’t always the most pleasant work shall we say.
Other Green Initiatives projects we can brag about in 2013 included: replacing the grass in front of our building with xeriscaping (thanks again to hundreds of volunteers), installing fairings on our fleet to cut down wind resistance and installing low-profile tires on all our trucks.
The biggest project last year was the implementation of new fleet management systems that help us route, load and track our trucks and drivers to ensure maximum efficiency.
All of these Green Initiatives activities are accomplished by our COO, Teresa Johansen and her talented, hard-working and dedicated Ops team. They’ve accomplished all of this while also receiving, handling and delivering almost 30 million pounds of food last year; a record they achieved without adding a single vehicle to our fleet.
2013 Green Initiatives activities resulted in, at minimum, $100,000 in savings. Because we can distribute five meals for every $1, that’s 500,000 additional meals for hungry people.
St. Patrick would be pleased I think.
Stephanie Miller is the Director of Development at Roadrunner Food Bank.