The Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s Waste Reduction Record-Setters Project fosters development of exceptional waste reduction programs by documenting successful ones. These programs can be used as models for others implementing their own programs to reduce garbage.
The Don’t Throw Away That Food information packet below is oriented toward commercial and institutional food discard generators, and highlights record-setting food recovery programs.
The Waste Reduction Record-Setters Project was developed by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) under a U.S. EPA grant .
DON’T THROW AWAY THAT FOOD Information Packet
Case Study Fact Sheets
75% Recovery of Food Discards In 1996 Del Mar Fairgrounds, a 375-acre site, diverted 38 tons, or approximately 75% of its food discards from landfill. The fairgrounds achieved this through a comprehensive waste reduction program which includes: off-site composting of food from its annual 20-day fair (1996 attendance 1,018,659); vermicomposting of food from its Satellite Wagering Facility; and sending used cooking oil to a rendering company.
90% Recovery of Preconsumer Food Discards The Medical Center Hospital of Vermont (MCHV) Campus of Fletcher Allen Health Care delivers approximately 90% of its food preparation scraps and steam table leftovers to an off-site composting facility. The hospital also donates produce to a food bank and sends old grease to a rendering facility. Its food discard recovery program allows Fletcher Allen to save approximately $1,400 per year in landfill hauling and tipping fees and to support a local farm.
100% Recovery of Food Discards Using a static aerobic composting system, this 6,000-acre residential educational and recreational facility in the Catskill Mountains composts 100% of the food discards from its kitchen and dining room. From 1990, when Frost Valley began its comprehensive waste reduction program, to 1997, the facility reduced its total solid waste by 53% (by weight). Through food recovery, Frost Valley now realizes a net savings of $5,200 annually and provides a unique educational opportunity to thousands of visitors per year.
70% Recovery of Food Discards In 1991, the Government of Ontario, Canada, created the Green Workplace Program (GWP). The GWP facilitates waste reduction, resource conservation, and environmentally responsible purchasing in provincial facilities. An integral part of the GWP’s waste reduction programs, composting diverted approximately 1,500 metric tons (1,650 U.S. tons) of food discards from landfills in FY96. From all its composting programs combined (in-vessel, on-site, and off-site), the Government of Ontario avoided C$150,000 in trash disposal costs in FY96. Of this avoided cost, C$8,580 was from its in-vessel program.
90% Recovery of Food and Floral Discards Larry’s Markets recovers approximately 870 tons of organics annually through its off-site composting and rendering programs. Stores also donate canned goods to local charities. The chain realizes a net savings of $40-$55 per ton of material recovered (about $41,000 per year).
75% Recovery of Food Discards Students and employees at Middlebury College collected approximately 288 tons of food discards for on-campus composting in 1996. This represented approximately 75% of the college’s total food discards. As a result of its composting program, Middlebury avoids approximately $137 per ton in landfill hauling and tipping fees. In 1996, this led to a net savings of over $27,000.
90% Recovery of Food Discards In 1997, 47 of 70 correctional facilities in the New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) composted at 30 sites, which accept from 1/2 to 4 tons of food discards a day. Participating facilities recover 90% of their food and other organic discards. Through composting, DOCS facilities realize a net savings of $564,200 per year in avoided disposal costs.
50% Recovery Begun in 1996, the San Francisco Produce Recycling Program is a collaborative effort among many public and private participants-the city and county, produce businesses, a farmer, a hauler, a food bank, and a composter. From June 1996 to August 1997, this program provided 450 tons of edible food to charities, 300 tons of inedible food as animal feed, and 750 tons of food to a composting facility. In that period, food discards came from more than 40 wholesale and retail businesses; the program has since greatly expanded.
80% Recovery of Food Discards and Other Organics In New Jersey, 25 Shop Rite stores divert 3,000 tons of organics per year. They collect a wide array of materials for off-site composting and rendering. As a result, participating stores divert approximately 80% of their organics to a composting facility and 90% of their total waste stream through recycling, including composting. On average, stores realize a net savings of $57 per ton in avoided disposal costs.