Local Case Studies

Taco Punk
Taco Punk, located on East Market Street, has implemented one of the most aggressive recycling and composting programs of any business in Louisville. The restaurant’s clear drinking cups, silverware, and napkins are completely compostable, meaning that all discarded customer waste is either composted or recycled. 

Taco Punk diverts over a ton of compostable material and nearly 1,000 pounds of recyclables every month!  Landfill-bound waste is easily managed by a single, small dumpster that is only serviced twice per month.   

Despite the higher cost of buying compostable products, Taco Punk has developed a loyal following of environmentally-conscious customers and drastically reduced the amount of material ending up in our landfill.

Heine Brothers’ Coffee
Heine Brothers’ Coffee realized early on the environmental benefits of launching a business recycling program and has taken full advantage of Louisville Metro’s curbside recycling program offered within the Urban Services District. 

In 2012 alone, the company’s 13 area locations recycled nearly 8,000 pounds of newspaper and office paper, 34,000 plastic milk jugs, and all of their cardboard boxes. In addition, Heine Brothers’ Coffee composted approximately 54,000 pounds of used coffee grounds and tea leaves!

While some additional cost was incurred when implementing its recycling and composting programs, the company has reduced its garbage hauling cost and built a loyal following of customers by proving itself as a responsible local business.

Highland Cleaners
Through an aggressive recycling initiative, Highland Cleaners on Bardstown Road has replaced its daily dumpster pick-up service with a twice-a-week, two dumpster system (one for landfill-bound waste and one for recyclables). The switch has reduced costs by about $110 per month and diverted more than 50% of their waste from the landfill!  

Highland Cleaners has realized additional savings and waste reduction by recycling its used steel hangers, constructing a LEED-certified building, and installing energy-efficient light bulbs and programmable thermostats.

Highland Cleaners is working closely with its suppliers to ensure all of their packaging is recyclable. They continue to push the bar for sustainability by constantly seeking innovative ways to adopt environmentally-friendly business practices.

KentuckyOne Health
Every day, the average hospital generates 26 pounds of waste per bed. With this in mind, KentuckyOne Health has taken a leadership role in environmental stewardship with an ambitious recycling initiative. Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital is the pilot site, serving as a model for future roll-outs to other KentuckyOne facilities in Louisville.

This recycling initiative includes three parts: composting, single-stream recycling, and specialty-waste recycling. Composting has already begun at Sts. Mary & Elizabeth, with 3,126 pounds of food waste diverted from the landfill in just the first three weeks of the program.

Single-stream and specialty-waste recycling began in Summer 2013. Specialty waste recycling is especially exciting because it will handle items that have never been recycled before, such as disposable surgical drapes and IV bags.

Preliminary estimates suggest that nearly $500,000 in savings could be realized if KentuckyOne Health’s Louisville facilities divert 35% of landfill waste. This research indicates that not only is recycling good for the environment, it can generate enormous cost savings! 

December 2013 Update: Read an article highlighting the ongoing success of KentuckyOne Health's program.

Crowne Plaza Hotel
Since July 2012, Crowne Plaza Hotel has taken aggressive steps to reduce its landfill-bound waste.   Before implementing their recycling program, Crowne Plaza’s two compacting dumpsters were hauled away to the landfill. Now, food scraps from the kitchen are thrown into brightly colored carts and hauled to a regional composting facility, diverting approximately 8-10 tons of food waste away from the landfill each month. 

With the removal of food and other organic materials, the remainder of waste is hauled to a recycling processing facility, greatly reducing the amount of material ending up in the landfill. Through a reduction in landfill tipping fees and fewer hauling charges, Crowne Plaza’s recycling and composting programs have led to average monthly savings of $900 per month! 

At the start of the program, an extensive educational campaign helped teach employees about the importance of separating food waste. When new or temporary employees are hired, their orientation guide explains Crowne Plaza’s recycling and composting policies and procedures. Through basic employee training and small shifts in procedure, what was first viewed as a major challenge has now become part of everyday operations at Crowne Plaza, resulting in both cost-savings and reduced landfill waste.

American Printing House for the Blind
The American Printing House (APH) for the Blind is using a combination of single-stream and source separated collection methods in its offices and production areas to earn rebates from recyclable material and minimize landfill-bound garbage.   Since the launch of these programs, recycling rebates have exceeded the cost of landfilling the garbage that APH generates!
In a 10 month period starting in October 2012, APH recycled over 118 tons of paper, cardboard, plastics, metals, electronics, and Braille plates though their source separated program.  Additional items that do not fit within traditional recycling programs are donated to non-profit groups for repurpose and reuse.  For example, a recent remodeling project resulted in nearly 8,000 pounds of used cinder blocks that were donated to the Habitat Restore.
APH also takes advantage of free programs to recycle printing supplies from the many printers and copiers used to produce their products.  Finally, all employees are encouraged to utilize APH’s recycling programs.  For instance, many employees who do not have curbside recycling service will bring recyclable material from their homes.

Want to share a story about your business? 
Contact Mark Noll to have your business included as a case study!

Recycling poster at Taco Punk 

Reusable silverware at
Heine Brothers' Coffee


Green options at Highland Cleaners

Image from KYOne Health
Encouragment poster at Sts.
Mary & Elizabeth Hospital

Spanish language poster at Crowne Plaza
Spanish language poster reminding staff to place food waste in yellow carts at Crowne Plaza Hotel

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle information at the American Printing House for the Blind