Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

OCT 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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green idea Post-Consumer Composting in Schools By Amelia Levin P re-consumer composting — the method of composting waste in the kitchen before it reaches the consumer — can be a great first step toward im- proved waste management. However, post-consumer composting — waste management after consumption — represents the next step toward reducing even more contributions to landfills. Composting has been commonplace for colleges and universities for some time, but more K-12 schools are now jumping into the game. Take Boulder Valley School District in Colorado, for example. Chef Ann Cooper, director of the district's foodser- vice program, and her team at the School Food Project have implemented a robust, pre- and post-consumer composting program in the district's elementary, middle and high schools. As a supplement to the School Food Project's existing and success- ful on-site teaching garden and farm-to-table food program, the next iteration of the waste reduction program will be to conduct some waste tracking through a grant-funded program with LeanPath, a waste management consulting firm. Implementation Tips While post-consumer composting proves challenging in any foodservice setting because it requires people to self-sort at the end of their meal, this type of composting can be even more challenging in K-12 schools because of the wide range of student ages and the fact that some students will be more receptive to the idea of self-sorting than others. That said, here are some of the ways K-12 schools and other foodservice operations can go about implementing a post-consumer composting program, based on the example set by the School Food Project: ● Obtain funding or form partnerships. The School Food Project partnered with a Boulder, Colo.-based recycling and composting vendor to provide only reusable plates and silverware to students, as well as to help implement the recy- cling and composting program throughout all of the schools. "We have also received a grant from the Boulder Country Resource Conservation Division to invest in our composting and waste management program," Cooper says. Cooper hopes additional grants will help the School Food Project expand its tracking system at additional schools in the Boulder Valley School District. Some areas of the coun- try have better access to composting vendors and resources than others; that's why grant money through partnerships and fundraising can help traditionally underfunded institu- tions and other operators find ways to implement more complex post-consumer composting programs, which require more specialized bins, staffing and training. ● Set up teams and other forms of management and staffing to oversee the program. The School Food Project began its post-consumer composting efforts by holding an all-school assembly to get teachers, students and administrators excited about the program, and to re- cruit potential volunteers. Those volunteers — as well as custodians and other paid staff — help students at the el- ementary level sort their plates at the end of meal periods to help properly compost both cafeteria-purchased food and brown bag lunches brought from home. "Monitoring the bins like this helps the flow go faster and we can be on hand to answer questions for the kids," Cooper says. ● Invest in sturdy composting bins and clear signage. Post-consumer composting requires specific landfill, recycling and composting bins typically earmarked by different colors and clear signage. At the elementary level, signage with different imagery helps children understand ©2017 InSinkErator InSinkErator is a business unit of Emerson Electric Co. *Source: Natural Resources Defense Council While there's no single solution for managing global food waste, we can all take simple steps that have a positive impact on the environment – like using an InSinkErator® food waste management solution to divert food waste from landfills. www.insinkerator.com/foodservice • 800-845-8345 15% less food waste could feed 25,000,000 Americans annually.* FOOD WASTE FACT:

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