In Beyond the Straw: How To Improve The Sustainability of Your Operation, Part 1, we learned how the sustainability of a disposable product depends on the material used to make it. Compostable, recyclable, and reusable disposables all have different attributes and uses, so make sure to do your homework before making a selection.
If you have chosen to use compostable or recyclable products, they must be disposed of properly to realize the full potential sustainability of the products. How do you make sure you can achieve this?
All disposable products will end up one of three places at the end of their life cycle: besides the landfill, the recycling center or back to the earth’s soil through composting are the other two options.
Products that are made from compostable materials and are certified compostable must be composted to realize the full environmental benefits, which are to create a circular system where materials are reused as soil after they finish their life cycle.
Tips for a Good Composting Program:
- Source disposables that are made from compostable materials. Make sure you get the right product at the right price by collaborating with your procurement team.
- Find a local composter that is able to compost the disposables you use. Use a service like FindAComposter.com If you can’t find a local composting agency, consider starting an on-site composting program.
- Make sure to educate consumers on what can and cannot be composted in your facility. Materials that are not compostable will leave contaminants in the resulting compost.
Tips for a Good Recycling Program:
- Ask your recycling facility what materials they accept, and whether or not the recyclables need to be separated prior to collection.
- Educate consumers on what can and cannot be recycled to minimize the amount of landfill-destined waste your operation produces.
- Educate consumers on cleaning out food and liquid from recyclable disposables before they are deposited in the recycling bin. Any food or liquid left in the disposable will change the composition of the recycled material.
In order to maximize the benefit of any composting or recycling program, help your customers do the right thing. Make sure it is easy to figure out what items to compost, recycle, and dispose, and where to deposit each item.
To learn more about how Foodbuy can help your operation become more sustainable, please Contact Us.