Implementing a managed food waste recycling program at your organization brings both financial and environmental benefits. Let us take a look at the financial benefits first. The financial benefits2 of reducing/recovering food waste for your organization include;
- Decreasing disposal fees. Food banks and renderers often provide free pick-ups for excess food, and composting fees can be less than landfill/incineration tipping fees.
- Decreasing sewer treatment and electricity costs since food waste is not going down the drain.
- Decreasing purchasing costs because you are only buying what is needed.
- Increasing tax deductions for food donations to charities.
- Increasing revenue from selling compost made from food scraps.
The U.S. EPA even has a ‘Food Waste Management Cost Calculator’ which helps users, ‘estimate the cost competitiveness of alternatives to food waste disposal, including source reduction, donation, composting, and recycling of yellow grease.’
In many cases, successful food recycling programs can be implemented cost neutrally. Program implementation fees can be offset by waste haul fees (think – reduction in volume).
Now that we’ve covered the financial benefits, let us take a look at environmental benefits of implementing a managed food waste recycling program at your organization. When food waste decomposes in area landfills, methane gas is produced. Methane gas, a greenhouse gas, was 25 times the global warming potential as carbon dioxide. According to the EPA, landfills are ‘responsible for one-third of all methane emissions in the United States.’ Diverting organic food waste from area landfills reduces the greenhouse gasses two ways;
- Emissions associated with decomposition in landfills
- Emissions associated with shipping the waste long distances
According to an August 2013 report by Yale University, only 1.6% of the 87 million tons of ‘recovered’ waste in the U.S. in 2011 was food waste. While 1.6% of 87 million tons may seem small, it also represents huge opportunity – both for diversion and also for cost savings. Speaking of opportunity, we recently authored 'TOP 5 GROCER BENEFITS TO PARTICIPATING IN A FOOD RECYCLING PROGRAM’, an E-guide outlining the benefits of food recycling programs (used as animal feed). To learn more about how implementing a retail organics recycling program can benefit your grocery chain;