Evolving Perspectives on Compostable Food Serviceware
The original premise was if we allowed food waste to be mixed with food soiled paper and compostable service ware that we would be able to attract more food into the recovery system. I also believed with proper training, signage and feedback that we would be able to reduce contamination to an acceptable level.I now believe that original premise is false, for a several reasons based on my experience. First, we need to define the types of food waste that the generator is producing. For instance if the generator is a fast food establishment, there is very little food waste being generated. The food comes in frozen packaged in paper and cardboard, heated and served in paper and cardboard. The only food is that which was eaten or fell on the floor. There is a high probability of contamination from condiment packaging. Second, is that is very difficult to distinguish between compostable and non-compostable products. Another problem is that the paper, cardboard and service ware add little if any value to the compost or composting process.I believe that recovering food from the waste stream is recovering a valuable resource that recycles nutrients and reduces emissions in landfills, I am not convinced that same can be said for the packaging and utensils.