Q Center is one of the world’s largest meeting facilities and has a long history of environmental excellence. Currently, 80% of the waste generated at Q is diverted from the landfill through recycling and composting programs. In 2011, Q Center’s food service provider, Aramark, began exploring ways to reduce food waste in its operations.

Chef smiling at camera, displaying two dishes

Brian Holt, Aramark’s Facility Director, brought together the waste hauler, Aramark’s Director of Food & Beverage, and Q Center management in order to discuss the feasibility and logistics of a compost program. To Holt, it was imperative that all stakeholders worked together to come up with a solution. “Everyone had to have some skin in the game,” Holt stated.

Through these meetings, the waste hauler realized that composting would be beneficial to their business as it would help to eliminate food from the single stream recycling containers. This would create a cleaner stream for both compost and recycling. They were on board. With the buy-in from Aramark’s kitchen staff and the financial support of Q Center, the conference center started composting in 2012. The program has been cost neutral to operate.

Since beginning the program in November of 2012, Q Center has composted over 250 tons of food scraps from the 45,000 customers it serves each month. The company is currently looking for ways to reach a 90% diversion rate.

For those in the planning stages of starting a composting program, Yannick Le Boulch, Director of Food & Beverage says, “Make sure that you get a waste audit if you are a large institution because it is beneficial to know how much you are actually wasting as a baseline.”

Learn how Q Center has incorporated composting in their long history of environmental excellence at https://illinoiscomposts.org/our-work/restaurant-toolkit/spotlights.