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How to start composting

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in SmartBrief on Restaurants — tracks feedback from restaurant owners and managers about current trends and issues.

Last week’s poll question: Has your restaurant tried composting?

  • Not yet, but if the collection process was convenient and cost-effective, we would try it — 48.15%
  • Yes, it’s one of our eco-friendly initiatives — 25.93%
  • My restaurant isn’t interested in composting — 25.93%

It’s clear from last week’s Restaurant SmartBrief poll results that composting is a significant issue facing restaurants of all sizes, but not everyone is sold on the idea or has the means to implement it. Composting isn’t just a buzz word or a hippie concept. San Francisco recently passed legislation that called for residents to be fined if they do not compost their trash. The new rules won’t just apply to residents — small businesses, including restaurants, stand to be fined if they fail to compost. Another example is Seattle, where a law banning single-use takeout ware just went into effect. Restaurants are coping by switching to compostable service ware and exploring food-waste collection services.

But just because your city doesn’t have a compost law doesn’t mean you have a good excuse not to compost. As NPR reported last month, composting can save your restaurant money. Some eco-minded entrepreneurs are starting up curbside compost-pickup services that help restaurant owners save on trash pickup.

How can a restaurant get started with composting? Don’t worry, you don’t have to head out and immediately invest in on-site worm composting like one Boise restaurant. Start by educating yourself! The Environmental Protection Agency’s guide to composting is a good place to start. Talk to your peers about their composting initiatives and get their tips. Research compost-pickup services in your area. This video from “Cooking Up A Story” provides a good example of one Portland restaurant’s journey in composting.

Do you have suggestions for how to get started in composting? Leave your tips in the comments!

PhillDanze via iStock

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