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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Foodservice Industry Ready to Embrace Composting?!

Peter Romeo, renown restaurant industry author, writes about the practicality of bringing composting options to restaurants on the National Restaurant Association's blog in a post titled Compost Your Way to Zero Waste.

Zero Waste Zone Director, Holly Elmore, is quoted on the practicalities of the first step: Identify the available infrastructure consisting of collection options for food waste delivery to state-permitted facilities.

With only approximately 300 plus food-permitted composting facilities in the nation, many communities have only one option for their excess food and prep scraps: The Landfill.

The NRA 's discussion of the collection of organics for composting validates the industry is ready to mobilize on its tremendous environmental impact. In the last several years, the U.S. EPA directed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Division to place primary focus on diverting organics, including food residuals, from landfills.

As Compost, The Quiet Hero noted in his session at the NRA Show in May, food residuals in landfills are the top man-made generator of methane gas, which is 20 - 25 times more potent than naturally produced carbon. With only only 2.5% of food residuals transported for composting or other alternative options, the 31 million tons of food waste sent to landfills annually is the equivalent of 5.2 million cars on the road for one year.

The time is NOW for the foodservice industry to mobilize and demand food residual collection for composting, or other alternatives, compliant with state regulations is available through out the nation. Private enterprise is ready, willing and able to meet the pent-up demand. In many communities, regulatory and zoning roadblocks remain the two primary obstacles.

As a member of the nation's largest private sector industry, foodservice operators may cast a powerful collective message to local, state and federal regulators: The foodservice industry chooses to produce valuable compost, or other products, with the food residuals produced in their operations. Landfill destination is not acceptable as the primary or only option for these food residuals.

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