Blog Post

Belly of the Beast is a fast-casual restaurant in Northampton focused on using local ingredients and engaging in sustainable practices. Although operations were disrupted due to COVID-19, Belly of the Beast has been able to maintain a focus on waste reduction while strengthening ties to the local community and feeding those in need.

Recently, Belly of the Beast contacted RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts (RecyclingWorks) for help identifying additional opportunities to reduce waste in their operations. The restaurant collects single stream recycling and food scraps for composting. With cooking operations limited to 4 days a week, the restaurant is only producing 18 gallons or less of trash each week. Belly of the Beast is taking additional steps to repurpose, sell, and donate surplus inventory to the community. They donate over 100 meals each week to frontline workers and Northampton school lunch distribution programs, and customers are able to purchase surplus inventory – milk, flour, eggs, and other pantry items – through their ‘grocery store’. Customers can also place orders in advance using an online platform, which allows Belly of the Beast to adjust their purchasing and preparation practices to prevent food waste. Leftover ingredients and prepared foods are then incorporated into specials at the end of the week.

RecyclingWorks helped clarify what materials should be placed in the restaurant’s single stream recycling bin, utilizing guidance from Recycle Smart MA. Plastic bags, items containing food residue, black plastic, and very small plastic containers are commonly found in restaurants that offer takeout, and these items contaminate the recycling stream. Because many Belly of the Beast customers have access to drop-off and curbside industrial composting options, RecyclingWorks staff recommended switching to compostable takeout containers as an alternative to black plastic. BPI-certified compostable containers are also accepted by the restaurant’s composting hauler and end-site. With this switch, Belly of the Beast is projected to reduce their plastic packaging waste by one ton annually.

RecyclingWorks is a free recycling assistance program that helps businesses reduce waste and maximize recycling, reuse, and food recovery opportunities. Our website includes guidance on food donation, single stream recycling, and tips for managing trash and recycling as you reopen your business. To learn more about our no-cost assistance, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at