Blog Post

Widespread changes in consumer dining and purchasing practices during the COVID-19 pandemic shifted food waste generation from business sectors like catering, restaurants, and institutional cafeterias to homes, impacting composting operations across the state. As described by The Vineyard Gazette, the Martha’s Vineyard Food Waste Recovery Initiative is one of many programs that experienced a reduction in volume processed in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, this operation is gearing up in preparation of a promising tourism rebound this summer

Operating at Island Grown Initiative’s Thimble Farm, the food waste recovery initiative started collecting food scraps for composting in 2016. The program grew exponentially over the first three years, processing 360 tons of food waste in 2019. With high aspirations heading into 2020, the initiative set a goal of processing 540 tons. Although they fell short of this goal, they succeeded in processing 200 tons during the year.

While composting operations may have felt the impact of the pandemic, these sites have remained intact and ready to process food material into a nutrient rich soil amendment. With proposed reductions in the generation threshold for the ban on disposal of commercial organic materials from one ton per week to one-half ton per week, newly subject businesses will benefit from planning ahead. RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks), is available to assist businesses and institutions as they seek opportunities to divert food waste, be it through waste reduction practices, donation, or source separation for animal feed, composting, or anaerobic digestion. We also provide no-cost Compost Site Technical Assistance to support food waste composting infrastructure in Massachusetts and help ensure well operated sites by providing consulting advice on best management practices.

RecyclingWorks offers guidance to support compliance with the organics waste ban, a food waste estimation guide, and food donation guidance to help food service businesses reduce waste. To speak to a RecyclingWorks recycling expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at