How To Compost Food Waste At Work
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How To Compost Food Waste At Work

How To Compost Food Waste At Work

A study released in October 2017 by Terra Tech (with support from the National Resources Defense Council and The Rockefeller Foundation) analyzed the amount and kind of food waste generated in three major metropolitan areas: New York City, Nashville, and Denver. Participants logged their trash and researchers sorted through it to determine how much and what types of food get thrown away.

The most common plant-based food items that consumers throw into the garbage are coffee, bananas, apples, bread, oranges, and potatoes - all foods eaten during a typical workday. For composting purposes, separate plant-based food scraps, along with items like eggshells and coffee filters, from the regular garbage. These items are perfect for composting. Food scraps turn into valuable soil enhancements once they break down via composting.  

When organic waste is in a landfill buried with other trash, it releases the greenhouse gas methane as it breaks down. The carbon footprint of only food waste in the world's landfills is higher than any country's total carbon footprint in the world, after the US and China.  According to the EPA, 20-30 percent of food scraps found in the trash is compostable, potentially reducing the greenhouse gases generated, if separated from regular garbage.

Recycling bins with a dedicated space for food scraps in employee lunchrooms make proper disposal of lunch scraps easier. An integrated recycling bin with dividers for all recyclable materials is ideal. Animal-based food items (dairy and meat) do not break down into compost as easily, so they may not be best suited for a workplace compost program.

For a company already utilizing recycle bins for paper, plastic, glass, and metal, the learning curve is not difficult. Many municipalities have organic material collections, and local urban gardens and schools accept them for community gardens.

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