Massachusetts recently enacted the most aggressive mandatory composting program in history. How are companies adapting?
Boston Medical Center is starting with food service first. Using a program called TrimTrax, the 496-bed medical center weighs food waste in their kitchens prior to disposal, creating awareness around what is being wasted.
If you have to carry your own food, you’re less likely to overload. University of Massachusetts dining service has gone trayless across the campus.
Diverting more than 800,000 tons of current food waste will require an infrastructure that can handle it. State officials are encouraging organizations to get creative. That may mean partnering with local food banks to salvage still-edible foods, changing the way cafeterias order, prepare and serve food, and connecting businesses with local farms that may be able to use some of the waste as feed for livestock. The state is also providing technical assistance and $1m in grants, and $3m in low-interest loans to spur development of local composting and anaerobic digestion facilities.
“I’m all for composting,” says Rauch, “But the absolutely best thing is to reduce the amount of food waste generated. Then distribute it to people who need it. Third is to distribute it to animals that we’re going to eat because it’s a better use of what’s already committed in the carbon footprint. Next is composting and anaerobic digestion, and last is landfill which is the worst thing you can do.”