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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98 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • APRIL 2018 WASTE MANAGEMENT SERIES Community Composting There are various methods of composting, the ReFED report points out. The most common include Centralized Anaerobic Digestion (AD), in which microorganisms break down biode- gradable material in the absence of oxygen, resulting in wet and dry soil amendment and animal feeding byproducts. In-vessel composting happens on a smaller scale. Com- munities transport food from homes and other outlets by truck, car or bicycle to area compost facilities. A growing number of organizations across the U.S. now collect compost from consumers and businesses when no commercialized compost pickup or related infrastructure exists. ReFED esti- mates that 2,500 tons of food waste each year gets composted in this manner. This is where restaurants and other operators not able to compost on a large scale could get into the game. On-Site Composting Equipment Miller says he's seeing more equipment in the form of anaerobic digesters, pulpers, dehydrators and other on-site systems that turn food waste into slurries or pellets for natu- ral soil amendments, animal feed and even pet food. Still, operators investing in this equipment need to have a compost facility or waste hauler in the area that will collect the composted material for redistribution. Again, it all comes back to infrastructure. Oil Recycling There is a robust market for discarded restaurant oil that can convert to fuel. According to NRA research, 74 percent of res- taurateurs surveyed recycle their fats, oils and greases (FOG). If not properly disposed of, FOG can clog sewer pipes and even lead to fines for improper cleanup. The NRA encourages its members to contact the local municipality's water department for proper handling instructions and for an approved list of FOG service providers. Biofuel refineries are still more common on the West Coast and in the Mid-Atlantic, where waste hauling costs tend to run higher, Miller says. "That's not to say the interest in biofuel doesn't continue to grow in other areas every year." The Impact of Legislation Regulatory drivers, often on the municipal level, continue to push more players along the path of waste management, particularly when it comes to recyclables, biodegradables and compostables. Some municipalities have started to reject certain biodegradable packaging claiming to be compostable. Alameda County, Calif., has banned restaurants from dol- ing out single-use plastic bags. Various other bills on the docket this year in California legislature are geared toward waste management. One bill would require CalRecycle to establish minimum recycled content standards for beverage containers to cut down on the amount of waste that gets exported overseas for recycling. Another bill seeks to address the need for more organics recycling infrastructure in order to meet the 75 per- cent organic waste diversion mandate set by the Short Lived Climate Pollutant law, SB 1383. This could help draw more funding to infrastructure development. Last year, a Recycled Content Claims bill was signed into California law requiring manufacturers or suppliers of plastic products making claims related to the recycled content of a plastic product to maintain information and documentation to support that claim. Calling a product simply "green" or "biodegradable" won't cut it anymore in California. Another bill signed into law authorizes the creation of five pilot project bottle recycling centers. A bill banning Styrofoam food takeout containers statewide, however, was struck down. Miller doesn't foresee any federal regulation around waste management, recycling and composting. The priori- ties of certain federal departments, however, can have a stronger impact on recycling and composting legislation. "For instance, there are regulations in Maryland governed by the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act because of a rogue waste facility in that state [that] caused water issues," he says. "There are now requirements for pads and drainage systems because of runoff issues associated with food waste composting." FE&S Lack of composting facility Don't know how to get started Insuffi cient space Pest or odor concerns Local ordinances and regulations Transportation constraints Management or building constraints Other/ Don't know Source: National Restaurant Association, Restaurant Sustainability Survey 2017 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% 39% 36% 27% 26% 25% 23% 15% 31% Reasons for Lack of Composting Restaurant operators cite the lack of a composting facility as a main reason for not composting. Space is also an issue.

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