A recent Boston Globe article describes how local celebrity chefs and upscale restaurant owners are finding creative ways to reduce food waste. By tracking food loss, utilizing all edible food, and holding employees accountable, these businesses are saving money on purchasing while creating flavorful dishes.
Here are a few outstanding examples, showcasing how Massachusetts restaurants are leading the way to reduce pre-consumer food waste:
- At Coppa restaurant, kitchen employees support Chef Jamie Bissonnette’s efforts by tracking the food scraps they discard for composting using a waste log.
- Boston’s Mei Mei co-owner Irene Li incorporates leftover ingredients into new dishes. For example, its local greens pesto is crafted from kale, spinach, or collard greens with visual imperfections.
- Bondir Cambridge Chef Jason Bond explains that pickling, drying, and repurposing surplus produce is one way to get more out of each product.
Many restaurants work with Boston-based Lovin’ Spoonfuls Food Rescue by sharing frugal food-saving tips with low-income residents or donating surplus food to support hunger-relief.
The U.S. EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy ranks source reduction as the top priority to recover wasted food. Donating surplus food and recycling food scraps through feeding animals, anaerobic digestion, or composting are other alternatives to disposal. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) Commercial Organics Disposal Ban, which went into effect in October 2014, requires businesses and institutions producing one ton or more of food waste per week to employ one or more of these food recovery strategies. According to John Fischer, Branch Chief of Commercial Waste Reduction & Waste Planning at MassDEP, Massachusetts businesses diverted 270,000 tons of food products in 2016, compared to just 100,000 tons diverted in 2008.
RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts provides resources for restaurants such as guidance on food donation and source separation of food scraps in commercial kitchens. In addition, RecyclingWorks is developing best management practices on source reduction of food waste. To speak to a recycling and food waste diversion expert, call the RecyclingWorks hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.