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Common Sense Solutions - Starting Now

Commercial Kitchen Composting

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Common Sense in the Kitchen!

Another great triumph of common sense, from Portland, Oregon.

Why is this not being done everywhere? Commercial composting -- taking the food scraps from restaurants and diverting them from the landfill to become fertilizer.

Kathleen Hagberg, of the Bijou Cafe is interviewed in this clip. Her cafe was approached by the metro council people in Portland to participate in a program to compost commercial kitchen waste.

It has worked out beautifully for all involved, and she says:

"Just be an example and say: OK - this is working for me. It helps. It's a benefit to all of us".

My first real job, between high school and college was at a vegetarian restaurant and rock club in Orebro, Sweden. We separated all the food scraps in the kitchen which were sent to a farm to be used for feed for the hogs.

I assumed all commercial kitchens had some program like this -- until I returned to New York and waited tables in several restaurants. I quickly learned that they were not even recycling bottles and cans, let alone food scraps.

Food scraps are not garbage. They can be composted and thereby converted into fertilizer either indoors or outdoors -- no matter where you live, . Remember- we already burned fossil fuel getting these groceries to us. Let's not do that a second time: drive organic material by truck to the dump for no reason other than habit and outdated cultural norms!

Need we mention: the servers love it and don't mind at all separating the trash from the compost-- and that it does not cost them more than traditional waste removal?

--Bibi Farber