Composting Partnership

by Daisy on 02/07/2015

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My hometown has an organization called Project Green Fork. You can read all about it here, but briefly, it’s a way to encourage food service providers to reduce or eliminate the amount of waste they generate. They oversee a six-step certification process. Upon completion of the steps, a restaurant can use the PGF logo to show the community they are actively involved in loving the environment.

The steps are:

  1. For all disposable products, they must be compostable, biodegradable, recyclable, or made from recycled content. No polystyrene, aka styrofoam, anywhere.

  2. Recycle all products listed by PGF as recyclable.

  3. Work with PGF to develop a composting process to collect pre-consumed fruit, vegetable, coffee grounds, and eggshell scraps and other compostable waste.

  4. Reduce the usage of toxic cleaners wherever possible with plant-based and/or biodegradable cleaners.

  5. Complete an energy audit and develop a plan to reduce energy consumption.

  6. Maintain oven hoods and grease traps and keep inside and outside of the restaurant clean and free of litter and debris.

It’s a great program and since 2008 it has certified over 70 restaurants and kept 4 million pounds of recyclables and 20 thousand pounds of food waste out of landfills.

What does any of this have to do with me? I recently was presented with an opportunity to partner with a restaurant seeking PGF certification, namely, I agreed to compost their kitchen waste.

I KNOW!!

Imagine my excitement. Also a little uncertainty I wouldn’t be able to pull it off.

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So far, it’s working great. This is how it works: I get a weekly delivery of 1 or 2 garbage cans full of the most beautiful fruit and vegetable scraps I’ve ever seen. Avocado peels, pineapple skins, mushroom stems, corn husks and cobs, tomato trimmings, sprouted grains, kale stems. It’s picture perfect.

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Provided you’re into this kind of thing, and I think I know my people. You understand why I’m smitten, don’t you?

So far, I’m putting it all in my compost bin, layering it with lots of browns.

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I may do some trenching beneath growing beds at some point, but for now, to the compost bin it goes.

I’ll show you the finished product when it’s ready.

My only regret is I can’t give it to the chickens because it has eggshells in it. I’m afraid of transmitting disease from factory farm eggs. Maybe I can convince them to sort it into egg and no-egg piles? We’ll see.

Until then, it’s bypassing the chickens. Let me know your thoughts on the matter.

Happy composting.

–Daisy



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Merrilee February 8, 2015 at 5:23 am

I think that’s a fabulous partnership! And that a picture of your finished compost will be more meaningful for them than to say it feeds your chickens! Plus it will help the chickens in the long run as it feeds lots of garden plants. Win win!

Melinda February 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm

A great partnership! It would be great if the eggshells could be collected separately. Goats and pigs would probably be interested in the collection, too. It would be great to think that the grease and bacon fat go to someone who retrofitted a car to run on it and/ or a soap-maker. Imagine if the school cafeterias also participated!

Daisy February 8, 2015 at 6:50 pm

Melinda–Interesting idea about the grease. Somebody needs to run with that idea!

Lena February 8, 2015 at 7:50 pm

Am envious of your arrangement, wow!

I grind up my (organic) eggshells and give them to my red worms in my composting bin. You’d need a LOT of worms to process the number of eggs a restaurant would generate… Perhaps you could nuke them in the microwave after they’re ground?

I wonder about pesticide traces in the conventional produce… restaurants would probably use the cheapest produce they can find. Probably too little to contaminate your organic compost, especially if you manage to make a very hot pile. See
http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2011/06/are-there-toxins-your-compost

Daisy February 8, 2015 at 9:07 pm

Lena–I bet you could find a restaurant near you who would like something like this. It might take a lot of phone calls, though. I’m not going to worry about whether or not it’s organic produce. Maybe I ought to, but I’m just going to assume the best.

sallie February 10, 2015 at 4:24 pm

Lucky girl!!!

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