OKEECHOBEE, Fla. -- Publix Super Markets, Lakeland, Fla., and Waste Management, Houston, announced the opening of the Okeechobee Organics Recycling Facility, which uses aerated composting technology to process food residuals in South Florida.
The eight-acre facility, located adjacent to Waste Management’s Okeechobee Landfill, utilizes a forced aeration system with computer controls to regulate airflow and air treatment to process pre-consumer food waste from Publix stores -- including produce, bakery and floral items -- with yard waste into organic compost products. The Okeechobee facility is permitted to accept up to 30,000 tons per year, including 15,000 tons of food waste and 15,000 tons of yard waste.
Waste Management trucks are collecting and transporting the organic material from 40 Publix stores in Miami-Dade County and two Publix GreenWise Markets in Palm Beach County in the first phase of the program. Over the coming months, Publix plans to add additional stores in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to the program.
"Our partnership with Waste Management presents an opportunity in fulfilling our mission to be intolerant of waste by diverting food waste that would typically be sent to local landfills,” said Kim Jaeger, Publix's Miami media and community relations manager, in a statement.
Garick, a subsidiary of Waste Management, is producing the lawn and garden products from the Okeechobee composting facility.