When the City of Seattle passed an ordinance in 2010 that required compostable and recyclable single use food service items in dine-in food service operations, Taco Time willingly complied, and followed the standard 3 bin COMPOST/RECYCLE/TRASH sorting system. After discovering that all it took was one person in a hurry placing something in the wrong bin, and 90% of the materials end up as trash, they worked together to solve the sorting challenge and create a better system for the customer. Acknowledging that the intent of Seattle’s ordinance was to minimize waste to the landfill, Taco Time set out to redesign the model around success, and a single bin “food and compostables” collection system was added to the front of the house.
Today’s Guest Blog is courtesy of International Solid Waste Association President Antonis Mavropoulos. The article originally appeared in the ISWA Blog on January 16 2018.
Certified compostable products have a vital role in helping us to divert food scraps and compostable foodservice items from the waste stream. But until more is done to stop these fake compostable products, confusion and misunderstanding among institutions, commercial food scrap generators, haulers and composters are likely to continue. Without a more concerted effort to stop greenwashing, the organics industry will continue to face hurdles in capturing food scraps and organics from the waste stream.
A deflated rubber boat is washed up on the eastern coast of Chios. Once the waves have buried it under rocks and it becomes even more entangled with seagrass, you will hardly be able to see it. But for tourists strolling along the beach, this isn’t the only reminder of the boat landings by refugees who crossed Europe’s borders at night. All across the beaches of the Aegean Islands, where tourists usually swim and sunbathe, refugees leave their life jackets, water bottles, soaked clothes—and the boats on which they started their journey to a new life. The waste is what connects both, tourists and refugees, in their everyday life, as both are caught up in a circle of producing and managing waste. Beyond that, the waste is a material trace of countless people’s struggles to survive and escape violent conflicts. It is a trace that tourists and islanders would like to ignore; a trace, however, that won’t disappear by itself.
The next time you toss a shirt into the trash because it’s time for a fresh one, consider this: the manufacture of clothes, shoes, belts, and accessories – otherwise known as textiles – is the second largest polluting industry in the world after oil and gas. That’s right. Pesticides used to grow cotton, toxics in dyes, and energy-intensive manufacturing create a whopping impact on the environment and public health. What happens to these products after we no longer want them is just as shocking. Eighty-three percent of used textiles are disposed in the garbage, even though the majority of these items can be donated for reuse and recycling. Even items that are worn and torn can be reused as rags and insulation.