A  How-to Guide for  Food  Service  Providers

                                             V                             v
      Every day, food service providers, such as supermarkets, hospitals, universities,
      restaurants, and food preparation companies, make decisions about what to
      do with surplus or leftover food. This surplus food, also known as food scraps,
food waste, or organic materials, includes all prepared foods, produce, bakery and
dairy items, and meat. There are many ways food service providers can improve the
environment and provide benefits to communities by reducing, reusing, and recy-
cling uneaten or unused food rather than throwing it away. This guide helps food
service providers start a food waste reduction and recovery program at their facilities.
To Recover or Not to Recover: Why Do It?
Separating and managing your food scraps can result in both economic and environmental
Economics: It Pays to Reduce and
Recover Food Scraps
Reducing and recovering food scraps might
save you money by:
v Decreasing disposal fees. Food banks and
  Tenderers often provide free pick-ups for
  excess food, and composting fees can be
  less than landfill/incineration  tipping fees.
T Decreasing sewer treatment and electric-
  ity costs since food waste is not going
  down the drain.
T Decreasing purchasing costs because you
  are only buying what is needed.
v Increasing tax deductions for food dona-
  tions to charities.
T Increasing revenue from selling compost
  made from food scraps.
Environment: Saving Resources
And Reducing Waste
Putting surplus food to good use benefits
the environment by:
v Creating a nutrient-rich soil amendment
  when composted, which improves overall
  soil  health.
v Eliminating potential dumpster issues
  such as odors, pests, and fires.
T Conserving landfill space and decreasing
  methane and other greenhouse gas emis-
  sions from landfills.
T Decreasing the volume of waste managed
  at incinerators, which reduces air emis-
  sions and the volume of incinerator ash
  that needs to be landfilled.
                                                                                                       -.  ,.

    Shopping for Change

The Massachusetts Department of
Environmental Protection and the
Massachusetts Food Association part-
nered to increase organics recycling at
supermarkets in their state. These two
organizations established a voluntary
supermarket recycling certification pro-
gram to promote recycling and reusing
food waste and other materials. Partici-
pating supermarkets save money and
receive both positive recognition and
waste load inspection regulatory relief.
In August 2005,62 supermarkets, nine
haulers, and six composting facilities
achieved a 60 to 75 percent recycling
rate of food scraps and other organ-
ics. The supermarkets reportedly saved
$3,000 to $20,000 annually per store by
simply diverting organics!
   A Lesson in Successful

The San Francisco Recycling Program
(SFRP) used stakeholder involvement
to create a successful composting pro-
gram at local schools. SFRP and Sunset
Scavenger, a division of Norcal Waste
Systems, met with interested teachers,
principals, subcontractors, and custodial
staff to discuss roles and responsibilities
during the different steps in the com-
posting process. Stakeholder meetings
allowed SFRP to identify and solve
potential problems and foster a sense
of responsibility needed to sustain its
programs. SFRP's stakeholder involve-
ment also led to student and parent
interest in food waste recovery. In 2000,
the four public elementary schools and
one private high school participating in
the program diverted nearly 200 pounds
of food scraps daily. The City of San
Francisco uses its successful  partnership
approach to expand its food diversion
program to haulers, composting facili-
ties, dairy farmers, local colleges, and
other organizations.
           Reducing  and  ReccN
Surplus food can be beneficially used in a variety of
                                         methods of redu<
                                      soup kitchens
                              tiering and fuel  conver
                                      for digestion to i
Assess your
food waste:
Take a quick look
at the food waste
you are throwing
away and identify
potential food recovery
opportunities to decrease
the amount you generate.
Conduct a food waste audit:
For more detailed information,
track and collect data on the types
and amounts of each food scrap item
you are generating. Collecting these
data will help you determine if some of
your food waste can be reduced by ordering
or producing less, how much could be sent
to food banks or shelters, and how much could
be recycled through animal feeding, rendering, or
Plan for costs: There are costs related to collecting,
transporting, and composting food scraps. Talk to neigh-
boring organizations about also instituting food waste
collection at their facilities to create a cost-effective route
for your hauler. You also might be able to generate revenue by
selling compost created from your food waste.
Start the program: Talk to national waste organizations, haulers,
town planners,  recycling coordinators, and even the mayor or town
manager to get support and assistance for your food waste recovery
program. Employee training is also vital to the success of a food waste
recovery program. You might want to consider an incentive program for
employee participation.
Decide what food waste recovery option works best for you: Use the
information gathered from your waste assessment and audit to decide which
food waste recovery option is best for your organization. The quality of your food
scraps and your estimated generation rate will help you consider how to divert your
food waste. To learn about waste disposal options and find haulers in your area, visit
your state or county environmental department's Web site. You can also ask your current
recycling or waste hauler about hauling your food waste to a recovery facility.
For information on working with local waste management companies to improve your
recycling rates and cost savings, visit www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/reduce/wstewise/pubs/

Bering  Surplus  Food
ways. The food waste recovery hierarchy prioritizes
ring surplus food.
  volume of food waste generated
ate  extra food to food banks,
;, and shelters
sion; and food scraps
recover energy
                                                              Use your waste
                                                            audit to identify
                                                          ways to decrease
                                                         the amount of food
                                                       waste you generate.
                                                     Are there any trends in
                                                    the types and amounts of
                                                  food waste you produce? If
                                                 so, consider changing your busi-
                                               ness operation to buy only what
                                             you use.
                                           Feed People: You can donate unsold
                                          or excess food products that meet qual-
                                        ity and safety standards to food banks.
                                      Many national and local food recovery
                                     programs offer free pickups and containers. The
                                   Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act
                                  (Public Law 104-210) protects food donators from
                                legal liability. The text for this act is available through
                              the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDAs) Web site
                           Feed Animals: Determine if local farmers or zoos use food
                         scraps as animal feed. There are laws and regulations protect-
                       ing animals from contracting diseases through consumption
                      of food scraps. Contact your county agricultural extension office,
                    your state veterinarian, or your county health department to find
                   out about specific state regulations and contact information for
                 licensed farmers. You also might find companies that convert food
               scraps into animal food products.
             Industrial Uses/Rendering: Fat, oil, and grease can be rendered into a raw ma-
            terial to make biodiesel, soaps and cosmetics. Anaerobic digestion of food scraps
          and waste oils produces biogas that can generate heat and electricity, fiber that can
        be used as a nutrient-rich soil conditioner, and liquor that can be used for fertilizer.
      Composting: Food scraps can  be composted. Ask the composting facility you plan
     to use for a list of acceptable materials and hauling options. Another option is to com-
   post on site. Before beginning such an operation, be sure you have adequate space, staff,
 end users, and support and cooperation from business or residential neighbors. Contact
your local or state environmental agency to find out more about composting options in
your area and more information on special issues that apply. Learn more about the science
and technology of composting—including various methods—at www.epa.gov/
   Food for Thought

Coca-Cola sends leftover food
from its cafeteria and banquets to
Atlanta's Table, a local branch of
Foodchain (a network of prepared
and perishable food rescue pro-

Stonyfield Farm Yogurt donates
leftover yogurt to local hog farms.

The University of Vermont com-
posts 115 tons of its dining hall
food waste per year for an annual
savings of nearly $11,000 in avoided
landfill tipping fees.
                                                                                       Hungry for the Basic Facts
                                                                                         Almost half the food in the United
                                                                                         States goes to waste.
                                                                                         Approximately 100 billion pounds
                                                                                         of food — about 3,000 pounds per
                                                                                         second — is wasted in the United
                                                                                         States each year.
                                                                                         Food scraps make up almost 12
                                                                                         percent of all the municipal solid
                                                                                         waste generated in the United
                                                                                         Less than 3 percent of food waste is
                                                                                         Food waste losses account for up to
                                                                                         $100 billion per year; $30-40 billion
                                                                                         occurring within the commercial
                                                                                         or retail sector (e.g., restaurants,
                                                                                         convenience stores) and $20 billion
                                                                                         from farming and food processing.
                                                                                         To learn more about food waste, visit

Resources  for  More  Information
General Information
•  EPA Organic Materials Web page: www.epa.gov/organicmaterials
•  EPA Waste Information Where You Live: www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/regions.htm
•  EPA and USDA. Waste Not/Want Not: A Guide for Feeding the Hungry and Reducing Solid Waste Through Food Recovery:
•  Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service: www.csrees.usda.gov/
Food Donation
•  Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act: www.usda.gov/news/pubs/gleaning/appc.htm
•  The National Hunger Clearinghouse: 1-800-GLEAN-IT; www.worldhungeryear.org/nhc_data/nhc_01.asp
Animal Feed
•  USDAs list of state veterinarians: www.aphis.usda.gov/vs/sregs/official.html
•  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's directory of state and local health departments: www.cdc.gov/doc.do/id/0900f3ec80226c7a/
  (scroll down page)
Industrial Uses
•  Renderers' Association, Inc.: www.renderers.org/About Us/index.htm (click on the "North American Rendering" button for a report on the North
  American rendering industry)
•  National Renewable Energy Laboratory Biomass Energy Basics: www.nrel.gov/learning/re_basics.html
•  EPA Composting Web site: www.epa.gov/composting
•  U.S. Composting Council: www.compostingcouncil.org/index.cfm
•  Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Supermarket Composting Handbook: www.mass.gov/dep/recycle/reduce/smhandbk.pdf
 United States
 Environmental Protection Agency
 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW.
 Washington, DC 20460
 Official Business
 Penalty for Private Use $300
 July 2006
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