Experts in Recycling Dock Design

The Combs Brothers are the go-to consultants for recycling dock design on the strip. They have helped engineers at several properties including Wynn & Encore, Venetian, City Center and Resorts World design an area that optimizes their recycling program. When Combs first started providing a downstream recycling service, they had to work in cramped trash docks with inadequate drainage and poor lighting. These docks were meant to hold a trash compactor and that was all. There was no consideration to our staff’s work environment and safety. There was also no consideration to the amount of space it takes to effectively recycle a wide variety of commodities. The brothers decided that they needed to be involved in the design process from the very beginning to make sure their recycling program is effective.

An old photo depicting how trash can get backed up if there is not ample space to sort through the stream

Before construction starts, the brothers send the engineer some considerations they should use when designing the recycling dock. These range from critical to optional. There are sq. feet suggestions and ceiling height suggestions to ensure there is enough space for the trash compactor as well as several other roll off boxes so the property can take advantage of food scrap, glass and green waste recycling.  They are notified of the power requirements for the cardboard balers and trash compactors. Also, important things for employees, like drinking water and a landline phone for emergencies are included. This just barely scratches the surface of the recommendations the engineer is given. This is based on years of operating a recycling program in areas that were not set up for success.

A sample of a dock design sketch for a large resort.

Once construction starts, the brothers offer their service to tour the site and make further recommendations on the engineer’s design. This process doesn’t stop until opening day. A few weeks ago, the brothers visited Resorts World to see all their hard work at the completed recycling dock. Resorts World is set to open summer 2021.

The brothers touring Resorts World during construction – summer 2020

 

Las Vegas Livestock Pork

The buying local idea always seems great: keeping money in the economy in which you reside and giving back to the community you live in. Often, the How is the hard part, especially when it comes to buying from local farms. Living in a desert presents its own challenges to finding local food and farmers, but when you do find the farmer; the process can seem intimidating, the locations remote, and the product is often different from the store.

I wanted to take a moment and address some common concerns that may come up when you are looking at buying a pig, for fresh pork, from Las Vegas Livestock

 

The amount of meat:

A whole pig? I am used to buying a couple of cuts at the store. Where and how will I use it all? Storage can definitely be an issue; a full size market hog at 250 lbs live will yield 150 lbs of usable meat cuts (see figure 1.) These cuts then come rolled and packaged like the cuts you are used to in 1-5 lb packages. The meat cuts from an entire hog typically fit in 2-3 boxes. Each box is 2’ tall, 1.5′ deep, 2.5’ long box, to give you an idea of volume. 

This can fit in a whole freezer if it was empty, but it is likely yours is not. This doesn’t mean you need the expense of buying a new freezer. An option is to split with people you know. We sell hogs as single units, but you can split the meat amongst friends and family, cuts can be customizable, and most cuts can be split up to 4 ways. This can help free up freezer space as well as lessen individual cost.

Figure 1:

The Cost

The cost of a whole pig can seem intimidating. The total cost of our pork calculates to $3.30/lb. Some cuts you see in the store may be less expensive than this, but most will be more. Buying in bulk allows you to distribute the cost of the more expensive cuts. Additionally, you are guaranteed a more fresh (and tastier) product than is available in stores.

The price for around 280 lb hog ( this is market weight, and will yield 170 lbs of retail cuts and ground meat) is $300 – including delivery to John Mulls in Las Vegas by LVL. Customized processing at John Mulls is a flat $220; this includes bacon, ham, spiced sausage etc. Here is their website: https://johnmullsmeatcompany.com/ if you want more info.

Cuts I don’t want/am unfamiliar with

Our butcher allows cuts to be customizable, if there is a cut you know you don’t prefer it can be ground or potentially prepared another way. However, it’s a great time to learn how to use less common cuts. Check out (https://www.pork.org/cooking/cuts/) for some great recipes for all pork cuts! Some underrated cuts l think are the loin, which is as lean as a chicken breast, but much more flavorful, and the shoulder can make excellent pulled pork. New cuts can inspire and excite a creative palate. 

 

The farm is far away:

We make pickup easy in town from John Mull’s meats in North Las Vegas, another great locally owned business. (https://johnmullsmeatcompany.com/) If you prefer, you can use your own butcher; in that case our farm is only 30 mins north of the heart of Las Vegas.

 

Is it really more Sustainable:

We feed food scraps from commercial businesses such as casinos and manufacturers that would otherwise end up in the landfill, increasing green-house gas emissions. Our farming practices allow us to reduce our carbon footprint of livestock farming as well as the carbon footprint of Las Vegas! For more information on how diverting food waste to livestock helps our environment please see the resources below in Figure 3, and check out their website (https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/reduce-wasted-food-feeding-animals#success). Additionally buying local eliminates fossil fuels associated when transporting goods.

Figure 3:

Is it more Humane

Our pigs are raised outdoors in pens giving them 30 square feet per pig (compared to a industry standard of 12 sq. feet per pig) with large shades, a lot of fresh air and deep bedding to root naturally in. They are raised in group houses and handled minimally and cared for daily. Also, buying local eliminates the need for loading livestock on to trucks, minimizing their handling and stress. Check out our Instagram for more details of the pigs life on the farm!

 

Supporting family business/knowing your farmer

Our family has farmed in Vegas for over 50 years . We love providing to the community that has supported us for so long. We appreciate you choosing our business to provide you with fresh pork and hope to have another 50 years continuing to do so.

Combs Family - Las Vegas Livestock

Benefits & Challenges of Feeding Food Scraps to Pigs

It is no surprise that food waste is a problem in the United States. The latest study that the EPA did in 2017 estimated that 30.6 million tons of food was landfilled. The other 25% of food waste was diverted from the landfill by way of composting, biodigesters and feeding animals. There are several different options when diverting food from the landfill, but they are not all equal. 

The EPA has a Food Recovery Hierarchy which prioritizes action to divert food waste from the landfill. Several factors are used to decide the most preferred method to the least preferred method. Some of the factors that affect the ranking are: economical impact, amount of methane produced and end use of the food waste.  If food is wasted then why are we overproducing? Agriculture has become so efficient and has been able to reduce the use of land, water and resources, all while providing enough food to feed the American people. However, there is a disconnect with getting this food to the end user. This hasn’t been clearer than it has the last few months with COVID-19. Farmers have had food rotting on their fields while the grocery store shelves are empty. Source reduction is the most preferred method of reducing food waste but, it is also the most complicated problem to solve.

food-recovery-hierarchy

 

We’d like to focus on feeding animals; that is our expertise at Combs and Las Vegas Livestock (LVL). It is the most preferred use of post-consumer food waste. As much as we can improve the distribution of food in order to reduce pre-consumer food waste, there is going to always be some wasted food that needs to be recycled, and that is where feeding animals can shine. 

One of the biggest challenges with feeding food scraps to animals is preventing the spread of foodborne illnesses. These commonly come from meat products that have been contaminated during and after slaughter. Just like the CDC recommends cooking poultry to a safe internal temperature or not eating raw eggs, farms must also make sure that they are handling this feed safely. We are regulated by the Swine Health Protection Act which outlines these safe handling instructions for food scraps that are post-consumer and/or contain meat. The basic outline of the law is farms must be licensed and the food must be held at 212 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 min. This is important to protect consumers of pork and the health of pigs in the United States. 

 

 

LVL is the only licensed food scrap feeder in the state of Nevada. We know the importance of following the Swine Health Protection Act, and representatives from the farm are involved in the National Pork Board so they can stay informed about the modern biosecurity initiatives to prevent spread of swine diseases. If you are a food waste producer that is looking to divert your food from the landfill, make sure you are taking your food to a licensed farm. Be suspicious of farms that will take food for free or pay for it. There are costs involved with maintaining a license and making sure the food is cooked and fed in a timely manner.   

 

https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/food-material-specific-data#:~:text=EPA%20estimates%20that%2040.7%20million,percent%20of%20total%20food%20waste.

https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/food-recovery-hierarchy

https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/swine-disease-information/other-programs

Managers wearing facemasks

Keeping You Safe During COVID Pandemic

Here at Combs, we are excited to be returning back to work in June. Our administrative team is already back to work and preparing for the return of the rest of our employees. It is our goal to provide a safe working environment that will minimize risk and continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We are preparing to implement procedures based on NV OSHA response to COVID-19 pandemic.  Most importantly we want our employees to be safe. It is also important to us to keep the resorts we are working at safe as well. This post is meant to help let our employees know what to expect coming back to work, and it will also help our customers know the proactive steps we are taking to put safety first.

 

Firstly, please provide Combs Brothers with any requirements that your property has. We want to work with you to make sure that the recycling docks continue to be a safe place. We will be providing our employees with face coverings and disposable gloves; employees will be required to wear this additional PPE. In locations where hand washing is unavailable, alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be available and resupplied by our field supervisors. Physical distancing will be stressed to our employees to make sure that they are maintaining 6ft apart from resort staff and each other.

In order to protect our employees and customers, we will be conducting surveys daily to make sure workers with symptoms are not working. It is important that those who are sick stay home and seek medical treatment. If your property is doing thermal scans before our employees enter the building, we are happy to comply. Please send us any requirements that you have in place so that we can prepare our employees.

 

It is also important to stress to our employees that we are into the hot summer months. Hot work training will be provided to everyone upon returning to work. Make sure that you staying hydrated and seeking shade if you are feeling symptoms of heat stress. This is especially important because you may be required to get a thermal scan before entering a resort property.

 

If you have any questions about our new procedures, please contact Combs Brothers and we can share our new policy with you.

 

 

Aquí en Combs, estamos entusiasmados de volver a trabajar en Junio. Nuestro equipo administrativo ya ha vuelto al trabajo y se está preparando para el regreso del resto de nuestros empleados. Nuestro objetivo es proporcionar un entorno de trabajo seguro que minimice el riesgo y continúe reduciendo la propagación de COVID-19. Nos estamos preparando para implementar procedimientos basados ​​en la respuesta de NV OSHA a la pandemia de COVID-19. Lo más importante es que queremos que nuestros empleados estén seguros. También es importante para nosotros mantener seguros los resorts en los que estamos trabajando. Esta publicación está destinada a ayudar a que nuestros empleados sepan qué esperar para volver al trabajo, y también ayudará a nuestros clientes a conocer los pasos proactivos que estamos tomando para dar prioridad a la seguridad.

 

En primer lugar, proporcione a Combs Brothers los requisitos que tenga su propiedad. Queremos trabajar con usted para asegurarnos de que los muelles de reciclaje sigan siendo un lugar seguro. Proporcionaremos a nuestros empleados cubiertas faciales y guantes desechables; los empleados deberán usar este EPP adicional. En lugares donde el lavado de manos no está disponible, nuestros supervisores de campo dispondrán de desinfectante para manos a base de alcohol. Se hará hincapié en el distanciamiento físico a nuestros empleados para asegurarse de que se mantengan a 6 pies de distancia del personal del complejo y entre sí.

 

Para proteger a nuestros empleados y clientes, realizaremos encuestas diariamente para asegurarnos de que los trabajadores con síntomas no estén trabajando. Es importante que las personas enfermas se queden en casa y busquen tratamiento médico. Si su propiedad está realizando exploraciones térmicas antes de que nuestros empleados ingresen al edificio, nos complace cumplir. Envíenos los requisitos que tenga para que podamos preparar a nuestros empleados.

 

También es importante enfatizar a nuestros empleados que estamos en los calurosos meses de verano. Se proporcionará capacitación sobre trabajo en ambiente caliente a todos al regresar al trabajo. Asegúrese de mantenerse hidratado y buscar sombra si siente síntomas de estrés por calor. Esto es especialmente importante porque es posible que deba realizar un escaneo térmico antes de ingresar a una propiedad del complejo.

 

Si tiene alguna pregunta sobre nuestros nuevos procedimientos, comuníquese con Combs Brothers y podemos compartir nuestra nueva política con usted.

Our new website and what that means for you

Combs Brothers LLC is starting off 2020 with a brand-new website! The brothers have never been much for bragging about their business, but there have been too many exciting developments in the last few years for them not to share with their customers and those interested in Las Vegas recycling.

What does the new website mean to our customers? This website along with our social media will help our company communicate the innovations and services we provide to our customers recycling programs. There will be more collaboration between our customers, and the website will be a platform to share ideas and projects to make Las Vegas the leader in the resort industry waste reduction.

Even though they are not braggers, the brothers are very passionate about this industry. We are very excited to show that passion for recycling and waste reduction through our website. The visitors will gain more insight into how the most efficient recycling docks function to reduce waste and save our client’s money and resources.

We hope that you enjoy the website and all the information we have included. Please help us share this story. Combs Brother’s exists because of our customers commitment to sustainability so our story is your story.

Introducing Las Vegas Livestock: A look back on 2018

It has been a big year for food scrap recycling in the Las Vegas Valley. Hank and Clint Combs fulfilled their plans of opening a pig farm right outside of the Valley. Las Vegas Livestock, the farm, will utilize the most modern technologies in order to become a premier food scrap recycler. Using pigs as a means to recycle food is not a new to Las Vegas. The brothers’ father, Robert Combs, had been recycling food in Las Vegas for over 50 years. Now that the Combs Brothers have a farm of their own, they can take this innovative idea and expand on it. At the new location there is plenty of room to grow to meet the demand of Las Vegas.

sonny-perdue

Sonny Perdue and the Farm Manager, Sarah Stallard

In the last year, Las Vegas Livestock has been getting great support. The biggest thing to happen to the farm in 2018 was a visit from the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue. The tour started at a Combs Brothers’ recycling dock. Perdue was able to see the wasted food at the source, and he followed it out to the farm where it becomes food for the pigs. It was such an honor to host the Secretary of Agriculture, and Las Vegas Livestock received national recognition when Perdue mentioned it in a tweet.

Another wonderful opportunity both Las Vegas Livestock and Combs Brothers received was recycling food scraps from Waste Expo held at the Las Vegas Convention Center last April. Waste Expo is a convention for waste management, landfill and equipment companies. The publication Waste 360 hosted the expo and wrote a wonderful article about the farm; it can be found here.

The issue of food waste has become a hot topic in the waste industry. Las Vegas Livestock is a viable option for handling this food, and it is great to have all the support the farm has received. The farm is still in its infant stages so keep checking in for updates. There are big plans for 2019!

Are the value of your recyclables in the dumps?

Anyone involved in the recycling industry this year has noticed a large downturn in commodity prices. It is discouraging for companies who believe in sustainability efforts but are trying to make it economical. China has always been the largest buyer of the world’s recyclables. According to CBS News, China is following an anti-pollution policy that includes no purchases of paper, metals or plastic that has more then 0.5% contamination. This has plummeted the value of commodities in the USA.

This isn’t very discouraging for us at Combs. Our business is there to provide our customers with downstream recycling in order to separate out the recyclables from the contaminants. We are able to pull out a pure recycling product. So why are rebates still low? The recyclable market is flooded with contaminated material from MFRs (Material Recovery Facilities). Municipalities are not as educated on what is recyclable and what is not. At Combs we have material that can stand out, and we are diligent about finding markets for our recyclables to make sure we are getting the best rebate.

Even though Combs is able to pull out the recyclables with little contamination, there may be a missed opportunity to recover even more material via upstream separation. There are recyclables that get landfilled because once they come in contact with contamination, they become worthless. If you are having trouble with contamination or are looking for higher diversion rates, Combs can help. Keep tuned to hear how Combs can help their customers upstream to maximize their sustainability efforts.