New EPA effort urges shopping malls to recycle

Can’t finish that Cinnabon? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a group that represents shopping centers hope the mall where you bought that grapefruit-sized cinnamon roll will recycle your leftovers.

Chances are if you bought it at a mall in the Granite State, the roll — or at least its packaging — is being recycled.

On May 24 at the International Council of Shopping Centers spring conference in Las Vegas, the EPA and the ICSC launched

“America’s Marketplace Recycles,” an initiative aimed at recycling waste generated at malls — including corrugated cardboard packaging, wood pallets, plastic packaging, landscaping waste and food waste. But more than just being environmentally friendly, the program also is encouraging waste reduction in packaging and promoting the recycling message to consumers, especially teens who frequent America’s malls.

The ICSC will provide incentives to members who participate in the program and rewards for leading recyclers.

While officials at most of New Hampshire’s major malls had not heard about the new EPA program, they are already ahead of the game. All of them have some kind of recycling program already in place.

In April 2004, a month before the EPA announcement, Simon Property Group entered into a partnership with Waste Management to boost recycling programs at the malls it owns, including three in New Hampshire.

The first phase involves expansion of a corrugated cardboard recycling program.

Simon, the country’s largest developer and operator of shopping malls, owns the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua and the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem.

Les Morris, a Simon spokesperson, said that the company is aware of the new America’s Marketplace Recycles program and is looking closely at the guidelines — guidelines that, he said, the company “will probably be able to meet or exceed.”

As for Simon’s current recycling efforts — which all three of its New Hampshire properties participate in — plans call for expanding them to include food waste recycling “in the future,” said Morris.

New Hampshire efforts While none of the managers at many of the state’s largest malls had yet heard about the America’s Marketplace Recycles program, that doesn’t mean they haven’t been recycling at least some of the tons of materials that are generated by their facilities each day.

At the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, for instance, “we have been recycling our cardboard for years,” said General Manager Deb Stone.

The mall currently recycles corrugated cardboard, through the Simon contract with Waste Management, but Stone said the mall had been recycling cardboard for years prior to the deal.

A spokesperson for the Mall at Rockingham Park said the mall also recycles cardboard.

Joseph Eaton, senior general manager at Steeplegate Mall in Concord, said the facility is another cardboard recycler, and, “by law, fluorescent lamps.” “We’ve also asked contractors doing demolition and refitting to recycle construction materials.”

Recycling of construction and demolition debris — known as C&D — and use of recycled products are encouraged under the America’s Marketplace Recycles guidelines.

Of food recycling, Eaton said, “There is no mall-wide mandate. Tenants decide for themselves if they want to recycle food waste, and there are laws governing that.”

He said he was not aware of any tenants recycling leftover food.

Food waste, along with cardboard, has been recycled “for years” at Pheasant Lane Mall, said mall Manager Ginny Szymanski.

She said the facility uses four compactors for cardboard recycling and another dedicated for food waste.

“We find that recycling offsets some of the costs of disposing of nonrecyclable trash,” said Szymanski. NHBR

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