There are so many wonderful reasons to take on composting. If you have not tried composting to date, here are some great reasons to start.

  1.  It’s good for the environment. Why send food scraps to the landfill when there are better uses for it? Composting means less waste goes to the landfill, which extends the life of the landfill too.  Plus, food takes a long time to decompose in the landfill. Why build a mountain of food waste when we can use compost to help grow food?

    Right now, our top soil is depleted. Compost puts much-needed nutrients back into the soil, so more great tasting produce can be grown. Plus, farmers get a better yield when they grow food in compost.
     
  2. It’s good for our bodies. Food grown in compost tastes better and is more nutritious than food grown with synthetic chemical fertilizers.
     
  3. It’s good for the air. When food is landfilled, it decomposes without air, creating methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20+ times more potent than carbon dioxide, which is detrimental to the ozone layer and contributes to climate change.
     
  4. It’s good for resource efficiency. The food production process utilizes many resources on its way to our tables. Seeds must be planted and watered, and then the food is harvested, processed, distributed, purchased, prepared and eaten. In the United States, about 40% of this food is wasted between the farm and the table. That’s a lot of resources that could have been saved.
     
  5. It’s good for water conservation. The amount of water able to be reduced from using compost is significant. Compost assists in drought resistance and erosion control as it is able to hold on to moisture and nutrients for plant use much longer than soil depleted of organic matter. The more water that is able to be contained in soils reduces the volumes of water in stormwater management systems that need to be treated by municipalities, resulting in increased efficiency and lower costs to communities.
     
  6. It’s good for our economy. Food scraps can be recycled into a higher and better use, rather than ending up in a landfill. Compost is highly regarded by farmers and gardeners to provide plants with nutrients. By diverting food scraps and producing a valuable product, the economy will reap rewards as well. 

It depends on a number of factors -- size of your collection bin, purchase of indoor bins, frequency of pick up, how many other businesses in your area are composting, and your contract with the compost hauler.  
 
As an example, Jewel grocery stores have successfully implemented food scrap composting at 169 of their stores in Illinois. There are only six company stores in the state that do not have access to this service at a reasonable cost. The program has been cost-neutral overall. Due to infrastructure, there are some variances in price from store to store for the service. The company does find value in this program and significantly reduces their volume of waste sent to landfill. Initial training was done in-house by the Environmental Sustainability Manager and has since transitioned to the managers in each unit to continue ongoing training efforts. 
 
Depending on the makeup of your specific food service location, there may be opportunities to take advantage of current compost pickup routes or work with other businesses to share the cost of collection. This provides efficiency for haulers (referred to as “route density”) and cost savings for food scrap generators (such as restaurants). 
 
 
No, you do not need to change your purchasing habits. However, there are changes in purchasing that can increase compost and decrease landfill waste.
 
Depending on whether your compost facility accepts paper/compostable dishware, it is recommended to use BPI Certified compostable utensils, plates, and container liners in your operations to optimize your compost efforts. The cost of biodegradable items continues to decrease as market demand increases, and savings may also become apparent through diverting costs away from landfill waste.  The items that are accepted depends on the composting facility receiving the material. But below are some resources about compostable products. 
 
FTC Green Guides
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission provides a program to ensure compliance with the agency’s recently revised Green Guides. The Commission publishes the guides to help businesses market their products accurately, providing guidance as to what constitutes deceptive and non-deceptive environmental claims. View the report here.
 
 
 
ASTM D6400: Standard Specification for Labeling of Plastics Designed to be Aerobically Composted in Municipal or Industrial Facilities
 
 
Advanced Disposal, Collective Resource, Organix Recycling, Lakeshore Recycling Services, Prairie Land Disposal, Republic Services, Resource Center, Roy Strom Company, Social Ecologists, Waste Management. See the Service Providers page for contact information. 

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