The food service guide to keeping compostables out of landfillscomposting. Green Mountain Compost

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1 The food service guide to keeping compostables out of landfillscomposting Green Mountain Compost

2 Why composting matters to your business Add up spoilage, trimmings and plate scrapings, and your kitchen or restaurant is probably generating about a pound of food waste for every person you serve.* Waste of any kind means lost profits and opportunity, and that s an expense we can help you avoid while setting you up to be in compliance with Act 148, Vermont s universal recycling and composting law. Starting in 2014, Act 148 banned food scraps from the landfill, requiring them to be separated from trash on the following schedule, depending on how much you generate: July 2014: 104 tons per year ( gallon carts per week) July 2015: 52 tons per year (5-6 carts per week) July 2016: 26 tons per year (2-3 carts per week) July 2017: 18 tons per year (about 1 cart per week) July 2020: All food scraps, including from households, are banned from landfill disposal Composting is one of several options. Vermont s Food Recovery Hierarchy (see graphic below) shows ways to slash your landfill-bound trash by applying the 3 R s Reduce, Reuse, Recycle to your food stream. Vermont Food Recovery Hierarchy Source Reduction where this guide comes in. We ll take you step-bystep through setting up and executing a successful collection program. Your food scraps can then be used for on-site gardens, donated to local farmers, or will go to Green Mountain Compost in Williston to become rich compost and other soil amendments. See the resource list at the end of this guide for more info about reducing waste and donating leftovers. More bottom-line benefits: Up to two-thirds of what you re throwing out with your trash may be food scraps and compostable paper. Donating and/or composting that material, rather than sending it to the landfill, will save diesel fuel, reduce air pollution and truck traffic, and possibly reduce your trash service costs. The landfill is 70 miles away; donation and composting options are right here in Chittenden County. Food scraps take decades to break down in a landfill, and in the process produce methane, a greenhouse gas that s 21 times more harmful to our atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Studies show that letting your customers know that you donate and/or compost your food scraps can boost customer loyalty and employee morale. Food for People Food for Animals Composting & Anaerobic Digestion Energy Recovery These carrots were buried in a landfill for ten years next to newspapers that were still readable! At Green Mountain Compost, food scraps become a valuable soil amendment in just a few months. Step 1: Reduce waste system-wide. Stop waste where it happens: purchasing, prep, and service. Step 2: Repurpose/reuse food and scraps. Donate usable food to a food shelf, and scraps to farmers to feed pigs and chickens. Step 3: Recycle food and scraps as compost! That s * Too Good To Waste, 2010 Sustainable Restaurant Association survey results of a cross-section of 10 London, England restaurants averaging 145 to 3200 covers/week.

3 Setting Up Your Program 1. Identify where you generate waste Prep stations all food trimmings: peelings, meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables Cooking burned or mishandled food Cooler spoilage Buffets unrecoverable leftovers Customers scraps, leftovers, paper napkins 2. Estimate average weekly volume. Typical commercial trash cans range from 33 to 64 gallons, with the capacity often stamped on the side or bottom. For one week, designate one or two trash cans for food and soiled paper only, and keep track of how many you fill. 3. Contact your trash and recycling hauler for a service estimate. Negotiate your pickup schedule and fees with your waste hauler before you launch your program. Haulers provide 32- or 64-gallon lidded, wheeled carts in your outdoor trash/recycling area, with pickups one or more times per week. Fees are based on the Ensure Success! Get staff input Actively solicit staff suggestions at every step. They ll often see potential for improvements that could save you time and money, and they ll feel more invested in the program. Run through the system to address any food safety or ergonomic issues. Announce and educate Make sure all employees understand the steps and requirements. Include food scrap management training in all new-employee orientations. Set up a test run Start the program on slower shifts or with preconsumer food trimmings for the first few months. Once that s dialed in, add busy shifts and leftovers from customers plates. Monitor and tweak the system Do bucket locations make sense? Are they being emptied regularly? number of carts and frequency of service. Since food scraps will no longer be in your trash, you may be able to reduce your trash dumpster size and/or pickups after you see the results of separating compostables for a month. 5. Get free help: Collection buckets, signage, and training. See the last page of this guide for free resources CSWD can provide. 4. Set Up Your Kitchen Buckets Get staff suggestions for key spots where food scrap collection buckets should be placed, as well as locations for informational signs. Food Service Compost Haulers Casella Resource Solutions: Gauthier Trucking: Myers Container: It s a piece of cake. Once we started, we couldn t believe we hadn t been doing this before. Best Western Windjammer General Manager Dan Phelan Is there any trash or recycling being put in the food scrap bins? If so, you must remove it before the compost cart is picked up. Contaminated loads may be rejected by your hauler or by Green Mountain Compost. Collect data Track the number of outside carts filled daily or weekly so you know how much food you re keeping out of the trash. Check your trash dumpster right before it s serviced. If it isn t full, get a smaller dumpster or reduce your service frequency! Share data with staff and the hauler contract negotiator so they understand the positive impact they re having on your waste stream. See last page for FREE Resources

4 Free Resources Help when and where you need it: Technical assistance and training CSWD staff is available to help you plan a system that will work for your business, from waste assessment to collection to negotiating and managing pickup. Purchasing guidance If you re thinking of purchasing compostable food serviceware, check with CSWD to make sure the products deliver on your vendor s claims and are acceptable at Green Mountain Compost. Collection buckets and signage CSWD can provide labeled 4-gallon buckets (shown here) for kitchen scrap collection, or just the labels to use on buckets you may already have. Many kitchens color-code their buckets for instant recognition. CSWD signs will quickly answer what can and can t go into the compost bin. We ll provide a pdf file for you to print, or up to three durable signs per site. Key Questions Is this okay with my Health Inspector? Yes! Separating food scraps for compost pickup is completely acceptable as long as you follow Health Department waste management guidelines. See the attached Fact Sheet for details. If your inspector says your compost pickup is in violation, please contact us at or x237 with the details and we ll help you troubleshoot. How can I manage odors? Properly managed, your food scrap collection area will not smell worse than your normal trash. Monitor your waste area and carts to make sure they re being maintained by your staff and your waste hauler. Inside, run collection buckets through your dishwasher or wash by hand at end of every shift. Outside, add sawdust, lime or newspaper on freshly added food scraps to suppress odors and fruit flies. Food Waste Prevention and Donation Resources EPA.gov Search food waste prevention to get hands-on tips, waste calculators, audit logs and many other useful tools for commercial kitchens. restaurant.org Search food costs for proven money-saving ways to slash food waste. vtfoodbank.org Search donate food for local contacts, tax benefits, and liability information. Contact us to get started today! x Redmond Rd., Williston, VT Printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper 4/15

5 What Goes Where In the Kitchen Recycling Must be empty and free of food Clean, uncoated paper Unwaxed/uncoated cardboard, clean pizza boxes Clean aluminum foil, cans, pie plates Empty metal food/drink cans, rinsed Empty metal spray-oil cans (such as Pam) Empty, rinsed plastic food and drink jugs, buckets and bottles Empty glass food and drink bottles and jars Compostables ALL food & beverages, bones, peelings, seeds, rinds, etc. Coffee grounds & filters Tea bags Soups & sauces Dressings & condiments Cooking oils & grease in small amounts must be cooled Food-soiled paper towels, napkins, tissue & newspaper Greasy take-out pizza boxes Paper egg cartons Uncoated paper bags & plates Wooden or bamboo utensils Certified compostable cups, plates, bowls, takeout containers and utensils. Item or its packaging MUST have this symbol Trash Bottle caps Plastic bags, plastic wrap of any kind Waxed or coated paper Styrofoam Stickers & sticker backing Paper drink & soup cartons Butter foils & papers Sugar, salt & pepper packets Straws (unless certified compostable) Food service gloves & hairnets Got a question about which container something should go in? Contact CSWD! or visit

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