How to Profit by Recycling Food Waste

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According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) food waste is second only to paper waste in the amount generated each year. In 2010, more than 34 million tons of food waste was generated, accounting for 14 percent of municipal solid waste. Less than three percent of this waste was recycled, a figure that the agency wants to increase significantly, and which could reap financial benefits for food business owners such as restaurants and grocery stores. Commercial food waste management and removal is gradually expanding industry, as the public increases its demands for responsible and meaningful community stewardship and environmental consciousness in the businesses it supports, and states and local government agencies seek to increase the regulation of food waste disposal and incineration, in efforts to minimize the practice.

While the efficient management of food-related businesses and improvements in food purchasing, inventory control and storage and preparation practices can yield meaningful reductions in food waste generation, inevitably the amount of food that is wasted will still be significant. Instead of this environmental waste food ending up in a landfill or incinerator, it can and should be recycled, and there are waste removal services that can provide this function to restaurants, supermarkets, hotels, schools, hospitals and other businesses with large food waste components.

By donating food waste to local non-profit programs, a business not only increases its reputation as a community supporter, which will, in turn increase its customer base, but can reap significant tax advantages from making these charitable donations. To encourage this practice the federal government enacted the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, in 1996. This act protects donors from civil and criminal liability, should products donated in good faith cause harm to needy beneficiaries.

A business can generate income from its food waste by selling it to a waste removal services company, which will remove the waste from the business premises and provide it to producers of recycled products such as bio-fuels, animal feed, cosmetics and soaps

The EPA and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has formulated a “food recovery hierarchy” for the efficient and cost-effective disposal of food waste, with landfill disposal and incineration ranking as the least preferred option. The hierarchy is formulated, as follows:

1. Source reduction – reducing food waste by means of efficient operational controls to reduce waste at source.

2. Feeding people – donating excess food to non-profit operations such as homeless shelters, food banks and soup kitchens.

3. Feeding animals – supplying farmers with food scraps to feed their livestock.

4. Industrial uses – providing fats, oils and grease for rendering into products such fuel, cosmetics and animal feed products.

5. Composting – recycling food waste into soil amendments.

6. Disposal or incineration – wasting opportunities to recycle food waste and profit from its recycling.

Key Takeaways

  • A business can generate income from its food waste by selling it.
  • Food waste is second only to paper waste in the amount generated each year.
  • By donating food waste to local non-profit programs, a business increases its reputation as a community supporter.

Need Help?

If you would still like more information about how you can profit by recylcing food waste, feel free to contact us at any time. 

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