By Will Reisman, @WillReisman

Recology AwardThe San Mateo Transit District has been awarded a BizSMART @Work award from RethinkWaste and Recology, illustrating how committed the District is to sustainable waste management practices.

Annually awarded by Recology San Mateo County, the region’s chief waste services provider, and RethinkWaste, a joint powers authority of the cities and county, the BizSMART honor is presented to local companies and organizations that are leading the way to reduce waste and conserve natural resources. The Transit District was recognized for its efforts in both recycling and composting.

“We are honored to receive this award from Recology and RethinkWaste,” said Michelle Senatore, the Transit District’s Principal Planner of Sustainability. “Sustainable waste management practices are very important to the culture here at the Transit District, and to see those efforts recognized is highly rewarding. We will continue to explore new ways to make our waste management systems as efficient and environmentally-responsible as possible.”

In 2014, the Transit District launched the Central Waste Management Upgrade Project, an initiative aimed at improving its compost, recycling and landfill systems. The program, developed by a joint task force of Transit District employees and Recology representatives, upgraded waste bins and signage and introduced food composting collection at the agency’s main headquarters in San Carlos.

As a result of the program, the Transit District has reduced landfill waste at the central headquarters by 34 percent compared to prior years, equivalent to the waste generated by 65 California households. Overall, employees at the central headquarters now divert 71 percent of their waste away from landfill, resulting in a 15 percent reduction in the facility’s Recology garbage bill. Based on the success of that program, the Transit District plans to expand the waste management upgrade project to its bus maintenance and operation facilities in San Carlos, Redwood City and South San Francisco.

Along with its work at its employee centers, the Transit District is making strides to improve its waste management strategies at its transportation hubs. In October, all of the trash bins at the San Francisco Caltrain Station were replaced with new triple-stream recycle stations, labeled for recycling, compost and landfill. For stations south of San Francisco, Caltrain attached stickers on every trash receptacle, notifying passengers that any waste placed in the bins would be sorted off-site. The stickers were a way of letting the public know that Caltrain is committed to sustainable waste practices.

To find out more about the Transit District’s sustainability policies, customers can visit here.

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