Designing a Food Waste Collection Program

The USDA estimates that one-third of all available food supply is wasted, which accounts for 21% of all the waste in the US sent to landfills or energy-recovery incinerators according to the EPA. Unlike the Mobro incident in 1987 that kick-started recycling in the US, the coming food waste revolution looks to be driven by business innovators and some progressive governments looking at the future problem as an opportunity. Food waste bans and collection pilots are being considered or tested by many local and state governments across the country while innovative technology, such as anaerobic digesters, are finding practical applications. Anaerobic digesters have long been successful in Europe given their spatial limitations but in the US, have been slowly adopted due to high upfront costs and lack of organic collection infrastructure. In addition to these advanced solutions, strong organic waste composting markets are springing up all over the country at a much faster rate.

The key for a business looking to address their food waste challenges is collection. Regardless of the organic waste’s final destination, the material must be ‘clean’. In addition to obvious contamination, such as non-compostable utensils and food serving products, the wrong bag can even create serious issues for organic waste processors. To limit contamination, the flow of organic waste must align with the flow of the kitchen worker. These employees must be engaged in the container selection and location decisions to ensure compliance. Custom-designed signage and training will help effectively communicate the new process and result in a quick and prolonged transition.

The second step of an organics program is waste reduction. Effectively collecting organic material data will shed light on overproduction of food. Chefs and production managers can then alter food production to eliminate waste, further reducing costs and impacts.

Reduction In Motion has been working with food services departments and organic waste vendors to develop successful, long-term food waste collection programs for over a decade. We work directly with our clients on-site to engage employees and develop custom signage and training to ensure compliance. Contact us today for a free consultation, (410) 877-1593 or