Preventing contamination of the compostable waste stream
Eco-Products has unveiled the Controls Intended to Remove Contamination (CIRC) program. This initiative is aimed at assisting foodservice operators in preventing non-compostable items from infiltrating organic waste streams, addressing a pressing challenge in the composting industry.
Wendell Simonson, Eco-Products' Director of Marketing, emphasized the severity of contamination in composting facilities. Once contamination enters these facilities, it becomes exceedingly difficult to manage. Therefore, foodservice operators need to implement stringent controls to prevent contamination at the source.
The CIRC program is a solution-driven strategy, with scorecards that enable foodservice operators to showcase their commitment to uncontaminated organic waste streams. These scorecards are divided into four sections: Procurement, Operations, Communications, and Hauler Engagement, featuring both mandatory and recommended criteria and conditions.
What sets CIRC apart is its open-source approach. Eco-Products has made the scorecards and related materials accessible to all stakeholders interested in implementing these measures, without any participation fees. This approach fosters transparency and collaboration throughout the industry.
Under the program, individual composting facilities can determine their own "passing" scores and choose between mandatory and recommended conditions. Key criteria include:
Ordering Guide for Compostable Products: Ensuring an approved ordering guide for compostable products.
Agreement with Distributors: A commitment from distributors to stock all items listed in the ordering guide.
Employee Involvement: Active engagement of employees in waste stream management.
Clear Guest Instructions: Clear instructions for guests on the proper disposal of compostable and non-compostable items.
Messaging and Labeling: Clear messaging and labeling on compostable items.
On-Site Sorting: Implementation of an on-site sorting process to inspect organics streams before haulers collect them.
The CIRC program draws inspiration from the 2022 CompostAble Chicago study, which showcased that venues using compostable cups, plates, and utensils collected more uncontaminated food scraps under favorable conditions.
To ensure the effective implementation of CIRC, Eco-Products is utilizing its team of "Product & Zero Waste Specialists" across the nation. These specialists aim to educate and support foodservice operators in adopting CIRC effectively.
By providing a comprehensive solution to contamination in compost streams, this program is driving the foodservice industry towards a more eco-friendly future. It's open-source thinking that can benefit the environment and all of us who share it.