Bon Appétit started its efforts to reduce food waste in 2005, changing portion size, preparation and daily waste monitoring at its restaurants. Four years later it had achieved a weekly reduction in CO2-equivalent emissions between 40 and 50 tons.
More recently the restaurant and food services company created a new position, waste specialist, to further keep food out of landfills.
Meanwhile, Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pa., sends about 800 pounds of food daily to the school’s farm to be composted. This halves the dining services waste each day and saves the school about $750,000 a year in transport and landfill fees.
In Bellevue, Wash., the Whole Foods market installed WISErg’s Harvester outside its doors. The Harvester converts the store’s food waste into fertilizer, which WISErg then sells to farmers and gardeners. Whole Foods pays WISERG a monthly service charge — this costs less than hauling the food waste to the dump — and WISErg shares data with the store on food that ends up in the Harvester. This helps Whole Foods better manage its inventory.
After paper, food waste comprises the greatest volume of waste going into landfills, according to the EPA. In 2012, 36 million tons of food waste were generated, but only 3 percent of this waste stream was diverted from landfills.