What do you do with nearly 400,000 pounds of food waste every year?
Compost it, of course!
Taking care of our guests and taking care of the environment are top priorities at Urban Farmer. We want to be stewards of great food as well as stewards of a sustainable environment.
That’s why we’ve begun a restaurant wide-composting program to recycle our nearly 400,000 pounds of food waste each year.
The City of Cleveland has no mandatory, public recycling program for restaurants. This is
In contrast to some other cities, such as Portland, Ore., which fines restaurants
if they don’t recycle.
The challenge for UF and other Cleveland restaurants is the cost of private recycling. Because of UF’s waste volume, it costs thousands of dollars a year to recycle the restaurant’s waste.
Earlier this year, UF general manager, Andy Hata, who is passionate about sustainability and
wants to be a leader in this area, brought in a company to conduct a waste audit
at the restaurant.
The findings showed the restaurant produces about 800,000 pounds of waste each year. About half of that is food waste.
After much research, Hata found a composting company, Barnes Nursery in Huron, to pick up UF’s food waste and compost at a manageable cost.
We started the program at the end of the summer, placing large recycle containers throughout the kitchen and in the underground hallways of the restaurant and neighboring Westin Hotel.
We posted signs and trained staff in what could and should be placed in the containers. [Food waste and small cardboard, yes. Plastic and glass, no.]
Hata hopes this program becomes a model for other downtown restaurants and
encourages them to join him.
Next, Hata hopes to purchase a glass crushing machine to recycle all of the glass bottles the restaurant uses each year. With UF’s limited garbage pick-up space and the city’s large trucks, the city is only able to pick up crushed glass. Hata is also exploring building a mini composter on UF’s rooftop.
We want to be responsible with our waste and find innovative ways to create a sustainable program.