Food Waste… Don’t waste what is not waste at all.
When businesses start to think about recycling and zero waste efforts they tend to start reducing obvious materials such as paper,plastic, cardboard and aluminum before focusing on food waste. This can be due to these recyclable products being easily monetized to generate profit for the business. However, by recycling food waste and other organic waste, disposal costs will in turn be reduced and continue to lower costs for the business. Recycling food waste is actually cheaper than sending the waste to landfills. If your business is already recycling paper, bottles and cans adding food scraps collection is a natural next step.
In 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that food waste cost roughly $1.3 billion to dispose of in landfill.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food waste is the second largest category of municipal solid waste sent to landfills in the United States. Food waste is accounting for approximately 18% of the waste stream while less than 3% is currently being diverted from landfills in the United States. Over 30 millions tons of food waste is sent to landfills each year.
Food waste is not only a growing issue for the restaurant industry, but also for all commercial businesses and residential buildings produce food. There is a growing trend toward bans of commercial food waste disposal and mandates of residential separated curbside collection programs are occurring across the United States. Most recently Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and California have passed regulations banning food waste from being sent to landfills. Seattle and New York City have also taken steps to pass regulations banning or limiting commercial food waste. These efforts are being put into place to take steps in reducing methane emissions that result from decomposing organic waste and decrease waste volume going into landfills. Is your company ready to comply?
Recycling of organics will help promote an image of environmental sustainability to your clients and employees.
At National Waste Associates, we develop customized recycling services based on your individualized locations. We do this by conducting an assessment of current practices, setting goals for reducing the amount of waste and developing a sustainable approach for continuous reduction efforts. Properly managing and reducing food waste can save money in hauling fees. There are three areas of food diversion efforts that all industries can benefit from are prevention, composting and donation.
Options to Reduce Food Waste
An easy way to start efforts in reducing food waste is reducing the volume of food waste produced. Reducing menu items for restaurants, reducing portion sizes, discounting items close to expiration dates for supermarkets and using proper storage practices are great ways the restaurant and supermarket industry can take in reducing food waste. Tracking the quantity and timing of food deliveries may also be beneficial. Commercial businesses and residential building can take steps to reduce food waste by placing separate bins designed for food scraps. Clearly marking these bins will help spread awareness and promote the new program.
Food waste is easily biodegradable which makes composting another beneficial way any industry can benefit from when looking to reduce food waste. Composting machines and food waste digesters can help introduce a company to new efficient options. Food scraps can be separated to create an on-site composting site or sent out to composting sites for other companies to use to produce rich soils or farm feed.
Examples of Acceptable Food Waste
- Coffee grounds
- Coffee filters, tea bags and napkins
A third effort in food diversion efforts is donation. According to the Environmental Protection Agency an estimated 50 million Americans do not have access to enough food on a daily basis. By donating safe foods to food banks or other organizations this will both reduce food sent to landfills and helps those in need. Businesses can also receive a tax benefit by donating food to food banks.
National Waste Associates provides waste and recycling services for businesses with multiple locations. We understand food waste recycling is complicated in today’s marketplace, which is why we design customized solutions based on your individual locations. For more information on food waste recycling and to learn how National Waste Associates can reduce your waste costs with our professionally managed services and recycling programs, call 1-888-692-5005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.