Food Waste (Organics)
The highest priority is to ensure food is being eaten! Collaborate with the Sustainability Program Manager to develop upstream solutions unique to your school community in order to prevent food waste in the first place.
Why do we collect food waste?
40% of food produced in the U.S. goes to waste. Food waste is one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters because it releases a gas called methane that is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Beginning in 2022, Metro is requiring all schools keep back-of-house (kitchen) food scraps out of garbage. For PPS, that means we will be onboarding all schools with kitchen food waste collection starting in fall 2019.
What types of materials do we collect in the food waste?
- Fruits and veggies
- Grains (bread, rice, etc.)
- Meat (chicken, fish, beef, etc.)
- Dairy (cheese, yogurt, eggs – no liquids, i.e. milk)
- Bones, egg shells
- Leftovers, scraps
- Spoiled food
Why is this different than composting at home?
Because PPS is considered a commercial business, it must adhere to Metro’s commercial food waste regulations. This means that we can only accept food. The food waste from commercial businesses IS NOT composted alongside residential compost. Residential compost goes to Recology in North Plains to be composted. It is important that the food waste is not contaminated with things such as napkins, wrappers, plastic utensils, etc. If you put it in your mouth to eat, then it can go in the food waste.
What happens to the food waste?
Our food waste is collected and hauled to Metro Central Transfer Station. From there, Mero determines three different facilities to send the food scraps:
- Recycology's NW Greenlands facility in Aumsville
- Shell New Energies anaerobic digester in Junction City
- Pacific Region Composting in Corvallis
Schools with Cafeteria Food Waste Collection
PPS supports front-of-house (cafeteria) food waste collection at schools that are able to have consistent education with students, dedicated adult volunteers to monitor contamination, and supportive administration.
Currently, the following schools participate in cafeteria food waste collection: Abernethy Elementary, Beach Elementary, Bridger Elementary, Duniway Elementary, Faubion K-8, Gray Middle School, Hayhurst Elementary, Lewis Elementary, Markham Elementary, Peninsula Elementary, Richmond Elementary, Rieke Elementary, Sunnyside K-8, and Woodlawn Elementary.
Volunteers are often in charge of maintaining this segment of the food waste program, while others schools have staff members who incorporate the responsibilities into their jobs. These schools have demonstrated that they can deliver clean food waste material without contamination.
If your school is interestd in starting the process of building a front-of-house collection program, please read more information here!