At Agri-Cycle, our goal is to reduce food waste for businesses and communities alike. This includes stopping food waste at the source (also known as food loss), implementing sustainable practices, and using our food waste recycling program. That last one is the focus of this blog, including what you can do to make the most of our tote bins, adopt food waste best practices at your business or home, and practice sustainability in other ways when it comes to food and food waste.
What Can Go in Agri-Cycle Totes?
We work with many business partners and local municipalities to provide their employees and residents (through residential drop-off points) with access to food waste recycling tote bins (or larger containers for commercial users) to keep food waste out of the dump. We have a comprehensive poster often posted by the bins for homeowner use below, but we’ll go over the most important parts here:
- All Types of Food Waste Allowed: Any kind of food waste is allowed, from fruit and vegetable scraps to meat and dairy. Egg shells, coffee grounds, and tea bags, along with jellies, sauces, condiments, and food-safe oils are also safe to put in the bins.
- Food Waste in Packages is Allowed for Commercial Clients: With the use of our depackager, we also accept food waste still in their packages for commercial clients. Damaged or expired products still in their packaging (metal, plastic, or cardboard) is allowed, as long as there is significant food left in the container.
- Yard Waste and Other Organics Are Not Allowed: However, we do draw the line at yard debris and other non-food organics. While our anaerobic digestion bacteria are hardy, yard debris is a mixed bag and can gum up the system, as can other organics such as diapers or pet waste.
- Chemicals and Medical Waste Are Forbidden: Since our recycling process is all organic, chemicals, including from medicines, may not only interfere with the AD process but also the final products, including food for hungry cows at our Stonyvale Farm!
Other Best Practices – Reducing Food Loss
As we mentioned in the intro, reducing food waste at the source – known as food loss – is as important as dealing with food waste before it lands in the dump or sewers. It’s also a very costly issue, with food loss and waste (FLW) costing millions of dollars and lots of landfill space, according to the EPA’s From Farm to Kitchen: The Environmental Impacts of US Food Waste 2021 study. Some measures that apply to businesses and homes alike are:
- Reduce Expired and Perished Food Through Donations: From food banks to other charitable organizations, many rely on food donations from individuals and businesses to keep them going. This reduction helps feed hungry people.
- Don’t Overuse the Garbage and Garbage Disposal: More waste and wastewater has environmental and financial costs, so try to make them your last resort with food waste. Food waste services can even save you money!
Our totes (and more!) keep food waste out of landfills and put it back to work in the form of energy and happy cows, and we enjoy partnerships with both local municipalities and many business partners to make it happen. We hope this guide has been helpful. If you’re currently not part of our food recycling services, we can help! Check out our FAQ for commonly asked questions and contact us today to learn more.