Eco-Products Launches Program to Prevent Compost Contamination

by | Oct 10, 2023

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Eco-Products has launched a new program, Controls Intended to Remove Contamination, that will help food service operators keep non-compostable items from contaminating their compostable organics streams.

Restaurants and other food-related establishments can use the new program to verify that they are taking steps that will prevent non-compostable materials from reaching composting facilities. The program includes a scorecard that features four categories for both required and encouraged composting control criteria, including procurement, operations, communications, and hauler engagement. Eco-Products said composters may be more confident that food service operators are making necessary efforts to avoid contaminants by viewing their clients’ scorecards.

Some of the standards included on the scorecard track whether participants have an approved ordering guide for compostable products, their employee engagement levels in the management of waste streams, and their messaging provided at a given venue through labeling compostable items, among others.

In order to allow anyone interested in the program to participate, the program will be open-sourced and free of charge–not limited to customers and partners of Eco-Products.

Eco-Products’ Program Responds to Foodservice Waste Stream Study

Research done in 2022, the CompostAble Chicago study, found that restaurants and other vendors may divert more food scraps and other materials from landfills if they adopt compostable packaging into their operations.

While composting offers many environmental benefits, both avoiding landfill waste and using food scraps as soil-improving material, compost contamination may decrease compost quality or even render it unusable.

“Contamination from non-compostable products is the defining challenge for many composters today,” said Wendell Simonson, director of marketing for Eco-Products. “Unfortunately, most composters have an extremely limited ability to deal with contamination once it gets to their facilities. That’s why food service operators must put controls in place to prevent that contamination from ever getting to composters in the first place.”

One way to avoid contamination, according to the study, is to use compostable cups, plates, and utensils. Of the four food venues analyzed, those using these compostable materials collected more food scraps with lower levels of contamination.

Eco-Products will release the new contamination reduction program through its product and zero waste team. The scorecard is available for download through the Eco-Products site.

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