Restaurants send scraps to the compost heap
What happens to the food you leave on your plate? If you’re dining in Orange County, it might be headed for composting.
Souplantation in Laguna Nigel has been asked to join other restaurants in the Orange County area to join a new recycling initiative in the county.
CR&R Waste and Recycling Services has begun recycling food waste at restaurants in Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and Tustin.
The one-year pilot program started April 5. Restaurants separate their food waste into green bins, much like you would separate glass bottles and aluminum cans for recycling at home. Employees place the larger green bins on the curb, and a CR&R truck picks up the material three times a week. The trucks take the waste to a California Bio-Mass Inc. composting facility in the Coachella Valley.
Some 40 percent to 45 percent of restaurant waste is food, said Trisha Throop, community relations and environmental compliance supervisor at CR&R. The average restaurant, CR&R states, throws away more than 50 tons of organic waste in a year. For the entire state, that number increases to 5 million tons.
Cities already are required to divert 50 percent of waste from landfills to recycling facilities. The waste company is estimating that 20 tons of food will be diverted from landfills each week through this new program.
And next year, the landfill disposal fees are increasing by 32 percent.
The restaurants joining the composting program get a lower trash bill, and they will be helping the environment.
The year-long program is funded through a $400,000 grant from the County of Orange Waste and Recycling Department.