How To: Keep Food Waste Out of the Garbage

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Save Money

Use the calculators below to estimate your savings from food waste recycling:


Ease the Burden on the Environment

As a business operator, you can play an important role in easing the burden you place on the environment. After all, about 55% of the Twin Cities metro region's waste comes from businesses. That's 1.9 million tons of waste. And nearly 11% of that waste consists of food and food-soiled paper.


Benefiting the Environment and More

Keeping food waste out of your trash benefits more than just the environment. There is the very real advantage of reducing the demands on landfills, but the list of benefits goes on.

Other benefits of food waste recycling include:

  • Edible food goes to neighborhoods in need.
  • You can reduce taxes and fees on waste disposal by reducing trash pick-ups.
  • It reflects well on your business, showing customers you care about the community.
  • It increases the cleanliness of your business by reducing the amount of liquid in your garbage.
  • Separated food is more visible, improving inventory management.
  • It improves worker safety and efficiency by reducing heavy lifting of garbage bags and number of trips to the garbage dumpster.

Three Practical Ways to Recycle Food Waste

Food Recovery

  • Food recovery lets you donate any fresh or prepared food that is still fit for human consumption, including:
  • Unserved food items
  • Produce, dairy and deli items
  • Unused food from catered events
  • Day-old and other baked goods

For a list of companies that offer Food Recovery services in theTwin Cities metro area.

Food-to-Animals

There are two options for food-to-animals food waste recycling:
Food-to-Livestock Food scraps are collected by local farms, processed to eliminate harmful bacterial and fed to livestock.
Food-to-Animal Feed Manufacturers
Food by-products and bakery goods are collected and processed to produce livestock feed products.

  • Unserved and uneaten food items
  • Food prep waste
  • Plate waste
  • Unpackaged spoiled or outdated food
  • Unpackaged frozen food

Food-to-animal food waste recyclers accept most food scraps

 

Note: Some food-to-animals programs cannot accept meat.

For a list of companies that offer Food-to-Animals food waste recycling services in theTwin Cities metro area.

Food and Food-Soiled Paper Composting

All food scraps can be composted, such as vegetables,

  • meat, poultry, seafood, shellfish, bones, rice, beans,
  • pasta, bakery items, cheese, coffee grounds, eggshells
  • and more. All food-soiled paper can be composted too,
  • including:
  • Paper cups and plates
  • Paper towels, placemats and napkins
  • Milk and juice cartons
  • Parchment Paper
  • Paper bags
  • Pizza boxes and other food containers
  • Waxed cardboard boxes

 

For a list of companies that offer Food and Food-Soiled Paper Composting services in theTwin Cities metro area.


Learn more about Food Waste Recycling in Your Industry

* All industry tonnage information provided by the Ramsey/Washington Resource Recovery Project


Restaurants

Restaurants can be classified into two different food waste categories:

  • Food Rich:
    • Examples: buffet style, full service and institutional restaurants
    • Amount of food waste generated per month: 10 to 30 tons
    • Most disposal of food waste controlled by employees

  • Food & Paper Rich:
    • Example: fast food restaurants
    • Amount of food waste generated per month:
      10 to 20 tons
    • Most disposal of food waste controlled
      by customers

Food Waste Recycling Options


Retail Grocers & Wholesale Food Distributors

    • Amount of food waste generated per month: 5 to 40 tons.
    • Types of waste generated: out-of-date and damaged goods, spoiled products, and bulk materials and waxed cardboard.
    • Most disposal of food waste controlled by employees.


Food Waste Recycling Options


Schools & Institutions

    • Amount of food waste generated per month: 5 to 30 tons
    • Types of waste generated: unserved food items, buffet foods, food scraps, food prep waste, plate waste, paper waste, pizza boxes, hand towels, waxed cardboard, and milk and juice cartons
    • Most disposal of food waste controlled by students or customers


Food Waste Recycling Options & Case Studies

 

Hotels & Event Centers

    • Amount of food waste generated per month: 5 to 30 tons

    • Types of waste generated: unserved food
      items, food scraps, food prep waste, plate
      waste, pizza boxes, hand towels,
      waxed cardboard, and other paper waste
      (waste generated will vary)
    • Most disposal of food waste controlled
      by employees


Food Waste Recycling Options & Case Studies

Food Processors and Manufacturers

    • Amount of food waste generated per month: 2 to 250 tons
    • Types of food waste generated: high volume, homogenous food waste, food scraps, spoiled products and damaged products
    • Most disposal of food waste controlled by employees


Food Waste Recycling Options


Get Started!

Interested in learning more about food waste recycling? Please contact your county for technical assistance. We're ready, right now, to help you set up food waste recycling at your business.

Anoka County
763-324-3481
Carver County
952-361-1800
Dakota County
952-891-7550
Hennepin County Key Word Search: Organics
612-348-5893
Ramsey County
651-266-1199
Washington County
651-266-1199
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA)
651-296-2233
The MCPA, in coordination with the Metro Counties, offers technical assistance to businesses who wish to divert organics from the waste stream. MPCA representatives will conduct site visits, offer technical assistance and provide grant funds.

Regulations

Metropolitan Council Environmental Services
Metropolitan Council Environmental Services (MCES), the agency that regulates the quantity and quality of waste discharges into the sanitary sewers, prohibits business garbage and food waste, generated due to the handling, processing, storage, preparation, serving and consumption of food, from being disposed into sanitary sewers. For more regulatory information, please contact MCES at (651) 602-4708.

Board of Animal Health
Important information on food preparation requirements for food-to-animals food waste recycling programs.


Other Resources

 

    • Food-to-Animals
      • Board of Animal Health
      • Important information on food preparation requirements for food-to-animals food waste recycling programs.

 

    • Food and Food-Soiled Paper Composting
      • BioCycle
      • Published since 1960, BioCycle is a comprehensive magazine on composting and organics recycling.



      • City of Portland
      • The City of Portland, Oregon operates a food and food-soiled paper composting program for area businesses.

      • Grinnell College
      • This private college in Iowa uses a food and food-soiled paper composting program to divert a portion of 750 pounds of food waste produced per day.