In some cases, businesses can save up to 75% on trash removal services just by reducing the amount of waste that is hauled away.
With International Compost Awareness Week beginning May 3, the National Restaurant Association’s Conserve program is encouraging more restaurants and other small businesses to start composting their food waste. Yes, it can be challenging, but also rewarding. While it requires additional effort and planning, once a program is in place, operators will reduce their trash hauling and tipping fees by limiting the amount of food waste they send to landfills.
For anyone wondering what compost actually is, it’s the natural process of breaking down organic waste into a nutrient-rich soil mixture to feed plants. Compost is added to gardens, crops and landscaping to help fertilize plants and enrich the soil they’re grown in. Most people can compost at home, but because of the volume of food scraps restaurants produce, their waste generally has to be hauled away to a commercial-grade composting facility.
So why should restaurant operators care about composting their food waste? Here are three reasons:
- It reduces waste disposal costs. Food waste is full of water, making it heavy. Even though heavier items cost more to haul away, composters need food scraps so they’ll often pick it up for a reduced cost (or occasionally for free).
- Businesses may soon be forced to compost. Some states, such as California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and Rhode Island, are already regulating large volumes of food waste going to landfill. Though most restaurants are exempt from those efforts, cities including Seattle, San Francisco and New York have passed laws that could end up affecting larger restaurants.
- Food is too good to waste. We love food and don’t want it to go to waste. Compost facilities take plant trimmings, such as broccoli stalks, damaged cabbage leaves and spoiled carrots, and make soil amendments that nourish new plants to make nutritious food. That is a big plus! In addition, when food decomposes in a landfill, it can emit methane, a greenhouse gas. Composting is a win for the environment, the community and businesses.
Composting is part of an overall strategy to use food efficiently. Get involved, start your own program today and help make a difference.
Are you sold on composting and want to begin? Read more about composting on the Conserve website. Conserve offers environmentally responsible tips, tools and solutions for restaurants interested in sustainability.
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