Tips for Launching a Successful Restaurant Food Scraps Recycling/Composting Program
Facility – Many commercial composting facilities are not permitted to accept food
scraps. Contact your state EPA agency. They operate under different acronyms (EPA,
DEP, DEQ, DNR, etc.) in different states to help you identify the nearest permitted
facility to you.
Hauling - You already have a waste hauler who may cooperate with your new food scrap
recycling program. If not, the composting facility that you contact should be able to help
you identify a hauler who they work with.
Convenience – Totes (22, 32 or 64 gallon) are your most convenient way to collect
scraps within the restaurant. Place totes around restaurant work stations where food
scraps are generated.
Signage – Create signage, using graphic images to the greatest extent possible, showing
what items can and cannot be recycled. These should be printed in English and Spanish
and placed adjacent to the totes.
Training – Restaurant staff and management change with time. On-going training is
essential to maintain a clean food scrap diversion program. Your composting facility
should be able to help you with this.
Storage – Food scraps will either need to be collected frequently (ideally, every other
day) OR stored in refrigerated units within the restaurant to eliminate odors. Outside
storage is not desirable unless frequent pick-up can be obtained.
Compostable Scraps – Your success depends on all restaurant employees understanding
what is and what isn’t acceptable for placement in the composting totes. Acceptable
residuals include:
o all produce and fruit scraps, and peelings
o coffee grounds and paper filters
o all paper products (including paper towels)
o any corrugated that is not fit for direct recycling (soiled, waxed, etc.)
o compostable utensils (if used)
o floral waste (from table arrangements)
o outdated baked goods
o compostable ‘plastic’ liners, food wraps, etc.
o You may also, depending upon the permit and approved wastes accepted at the
composting facility, be able to include eggs shells, meat, fish and poultry scraps
and dairy products. The entity that completes your waste audit will be able to
provide you with specific direction in this regard. The acceptance of postconsumer waste should also be explored with your composting facility.
US Composting Council • 5400 Grosvenor Lane • Bethesda, MD 20814 • 301-897-2715
Compost: Nature's Way to Grow!
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Tips for Launching a Successful Restaurant Food Scrap