In response to the food waste epidemic in the US, Austin, Texas is the first city in the state to pass a local ordinance that prevents restaurants from disposing of food waste in landfills. This landmark ordinance in the capitol city is yet another significant step in reducing food waste state-wide.
New Ordinance in Effect
According to the ordinance that took effect October 1st, restaurants may donate unused food and food scraps to local farms or compost operations and requires employees to be trained on how to handle food waste properly. The ordinance is based on a 2015 study that found that 85% of the city’s trash and recycling came from commercial businesses. Of that 85%, 37% of the waste was organic and able to be composted.
According to Sam Angoori, interim director of Austin Resource Recovery, “The City is committed to helping companies, large and small, find cost-effective solutions and establish diversion programs to ensure food and other organics are put to best use while meeting ordinance requirements.” Austin has committed to be a zero-waste city by 2040, and this new city ordinance is the first step in that plan.
Following Other City’s Lead
Nationwide, roughly 40% of food ends up in landfills. Other cities across the US have established similar plans, including San Francisco which diverts approximately 80% of its total waste generated from landfills. Organic waste ending up in landfills is a problem across the US. “When we waste food, we not only add organic materials to landfills (where they generate methane, a powerful global warming pollutant), but we also waste all the water, land, energy, money, labor, and other resources that go into growing, processing, distributing and storing that food,” says Darby Hoover, senior resource specialist at an NRDC program focused on food waste.
At Quest we not only understand the importance of landfill diversion, we have the industry experience to make it a reality. From food donation, to food waste collection that is turned into compost or animal feed additives, to onsite food digestion, – Quest offers tailored solution, employee training, program execution and reporting that works for your restaurant. We are also constantly staying up-to-date on new regulations and changes in current laws that will ensure your compliance with all local, state, and federal environmental laws.
Contact Quest today, and let’s talk about how we can make your food waste recycling programs a reality.