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Composting for Restaurants?

I'd really like to begin a composting program within a restaurant. We don't have a ton of scraps, but I want to compost what we do have! The problem is we don't have anywhere to compost outside, and of course whatever is kept inside must be well contained and odor free.

I've looked into bokashi, but after the primary fermentation we would have to dispose of what's left, we don't have a compost pile to add that to. It seems better than nothing, but not ideal.

I've also looked into giving scraps to a local farm/ garden, but I haven't been able to find anyone that is able to come pick up it up, and us delivering is not an option.

I would really love any suggestions!

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Super Green Thumb
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Re: Composting for Restaurants?

All things to think about, but perhaps unnecessarily negative. Depending on quantity of materials may or may not be worth it to a farmer to come pick it up, but any organic farm would likely be glad to accept it, if you bring it. Do you have a farmer you get eggs or fresh produce from, where you would be going anyway?

Check in to local CSA's. My urban CSA is always looking for more compostables. There may be a CSA quite near you that would be glad for your scraps. has a CSA finder.

Starbucks have tons of customers picking up used coffee grounds for compost. Granted coffee grounds have less gross factor, but if your scraps were ground and drained and put in containers, I bet some customers would be glad to take some home, if you posted a notice that they were available.
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Re: Composting for Restaurants?

Hey Fry,
You have a great idea. I would place a notice in the Free section of your local Craigslist. If there's sufficient interest from local home gardeners and urban homesteaders you could partner up with other restaurants.

Good luck!

Susan W
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Location: Memphis, TN

Re: Composting for Restaurants?

I smiled as this topic surfaced again. For this situation, Memphis is at the top of the game (always good to have good things in the top 10!). We have Project Green Fork (check it out). It is for restaurants, and has certain requirements. The veg scraps are carried to a central compost pile. Other things are using certain paper products, cleaning supplies etc. Paper boxes, metal, glass carried to re-cycle centers. A restaurant can be certified, and is then bragging rights, sign on door/menu/web site.

All, well almost all, things are possible
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: Composting for Restaurants?

Put the word out or a sign to local gardeners or farmers.

Coffee grounds with the paper filters free to gardeners they'll come and get it. gardeners with worms will also take vegetable scraps but meat and fat needs to be disposed of separately and trash or chemicals cannot be mixed in with the scraps.

Contact local schools. Many schools have a community garden and may be able to use food scraps for their school garden.

Local gardeners would also be interested in plastic buckets preferably the 5 gallon variety with lids or 55 gallon food grade drums. Most restaurants will give it free for the asking or for a nominal fee. Gardeners usually know that the buckets and drums will have to be washed but they may want to know what was in it. It is a lot easier to clean a vinegar barrel than a cooking oil barrel.

Styrofoam boxes that fish are packed in are also things that gardeners will turn into planter boxes so it is also in demand. It helps if people know what day, time and where it will be available.

A local restaurant here puts out boxes, buckets, cans in a corner of the parking lot and people come and pick it up. They usually ask if it is ok to get it. People will also make arrangements with the restaurant or store to pick up the vegetable trimmings on specific days. The store just bags the scraps and keeps it in the walk in until it is picked up. People will use the scraps for compost piles, worm food, lasagna garden beds, and to feed rabbits.

The local bread company has an arrangement with local pig farmers to pick bread that has expired and would otherwise go to the dump and they have a wait list for 55 gallon barrels. The pig farmers usually come regularly but if they have a lot of bread to dump they will call the farmers up and tell them they have a lot of bread.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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