Because food and paper waste can account for up to 50 percent of the trash output for the average restaurant, more businesses are considering compost programs as a way of limiting their environmental footprint.
The newest of these ventures is in Atlanta, Ga., where some of the major downtown restaurants and hotels have partnered with D.C.-based EnviRelations to provide food waste for composting and donation to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The goal is the Southeast’s first “Zero Waste Zone,” where 34 tons of organic material are diverted from landfills each month and used grease is converted to biofuel.
The U.S. EPA has been promoting restaurant composting for years, and funded a composting program for Modesto, Calif., restaurants back in 2006.
While household composting is typically focused around keeping organic food waste out of the garbage, restaurants can often include meat, dairy and food-soiled paper in their compost pile.