Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

APR 2018

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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Recycling and Composting T aking preventative action marks the first step in cutting down on waste, per the Environmental Protection Agency. Source reduction remains at the top of the EPA's Waste Management hierarchy. Recovery and redistribution through donations and food banks comes next. After that, composting and recycling represent the next best ways to divert waste from landfills. Recycling minimizes waste by transforming it into a renewable resource. Divert- ing material from landfills cuts down on environmentally harmful methane emissions and can reduce a foodservice operator's waste-hauling fees. Nearly two-thirds of restau- rants recycle cardboard and paper or fats, oil and grease, according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA). Table-service restaurant operators report somewhat higher rates of recycling than operators of limited-service restau- rants, and independently owned restaurants report higher recycling rates than chain/franchisee-owned restaurants, the report also found. Composting diverts food waste, and organic matter in particular, from landfills. More than one in ten operators, roughly 14 percent, say they compost some type of food waste, according to the NRA's 2018 The State of Restaurant Sustainability report. Of the operators who do not currently compost food waste, nearly 4 in 10 cite the lack of a nearby composting facility as a barrier. Still, although it seems simple, the act of composting, and even recycling, is not easy for everyone. Composting Barriers "In many parts of the country, the greatest barrier to widespread composting is the lack of composting facilities and organics collection/transportation infrastructure," says Chris Cochran, executive director of ReFED, a collabora- tion of more than 80 business, nonprofit, foundation, and government leaders committed to reducing food waste in the United States. "However, states and municipalities are increasingly enacting organic waste recycling plans, which prevent food waste and other organics from being disposed of in landfills and are often paired with public grant programs to spur investment in infrastructure. This helps promote the development of composting infrastruc- ture while also incentivizing food waste prevention and food recovery, and simultaneously creating new jobs and economic benefits." Some of the barriers include lack of composting facilities, insufficient space, transportation constraints, lack of infor- mation about how to get started, management or building constraints, and local ordinances and regulations. In some cases, processors cannot compost certain food scraps such as orange peels, egg shells and animal bones. ReFED reports it takes an investment of nearly $3 billion for recycling infra- structure throughout the country, mainly for compost and anaerobic digestion processing and collection. That alone is barrier enough. In order to help pave the way for more extensive composting and recycling nationwide, ReFED — in a partnership with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance (FWRA) and its members —launched several data-driven guides intended for foodservice operators and other players in the food industry. One suggestion in the report titled A Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste by 20 Percent, is for municipalities to include nonfinancial job and environmental benefits into the cost-benefit analysis when making the case for larger recycling and composting projects and infrastruc- ture development. ReFED sees a need for policy adjustment at state and local levels, with the end goal being more comprehensive federal legislation. This would help remove barriers for wider scale infrastructure development, the report said. Innovation is important too, in the form of key technology and busi- ness-model innovations that leverage value-added compost products and distributed recycling. Campaigns to raise food waste awareness among consumers can also help attract the additional funding necessary for recycling and composting infrastructure development, according to the report. Chaz Miller, the former director of policy and advocacy for the National Waste & Recycling Association in Wash- ington, D.C., notes recent legislation in the state of Mary- land specifically points to the need to expand infrastructure. "It's not unusual to see some composting facilities located at local landfills because those facilities are already operating and are cited for materials, so there is nothing new about the trucks coming to them," Miller says. "The biggest chal- lenge is having the space at local landfill facilities or in the community in order to build new facilities. It's tougher in Manage food waste. Boost performance. InSinkErator.com/foodservice ©2018 InSinkErator InSinkErator is a business unit of Emerson Electric Co. By Amelia Levin WASTE MANAGEMENT SERIES 96 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • APRIL 2018

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