Delaware Restaurants Recycle

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Can Restaurants Really Get to Zero Waste?

January 13, 2012

I wanted to share with you a great article on food waste recycling from the Delaware News Journal. Please click to view the food waste recycling article.

Delaware restaurants are recycling more than ever before.  According to a DRA survey on recycling habits, 50% of Delaware restaurants are engaged in some sort of recycling program.  Still lagging the national average of 60% (according to a National Restaurant Association survey), the state’s hospitality community is poised better than ever to exceed the national averages.  Better education, passionate staff participation and customer desire all factor into the decision to recycle today.  Landmark recycling legislation requiring haulers to deliver recycling containers to Delaware restaurants as of September, 2011 makes it easy for restaurants to begin!

Conversation about recycling however cannot stop at bottles, cans, paper and cardboard only.  By far, the heaviest portion of garbage produced in a restaurant is food waste.  Fees at our landfills in Delaware are increasing at astronomical rates with Delaware charging haulers at least $80 per ton to dump their garbage.  By contrast, the state’s two organic recycling centers charge haulers $45 per ton.  The food waste is turned into high-grade compost for resale. Over the past few years, more and more restaurants have started recycling food waste and are seeing on average, a 25% reduction in overall trash fees.  What is so exciting about this trend is that it is easy to do and really engages the staff!

Delaware is luckier than most states as we have the facilities that will take organics now!  Delaware Restaurant Association members who are recycling organics along with other materials are diverting more than 90% of their waste and saving a ton of money after re-negotiating with their haulers. 

Make 2012 the year that you increase your recycling efforts!  There are tips on our website to get you started but plan on attending the Delaware Restaurant Association’s 2nd Annual Education Symposium and Annual Member Lunch at Harry’s Savoy Grill in Wilmington on February 21st!  A detailed session will walk you through how to get started!  Call the DRA office at (302)738-2545 for more information.

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