Bill mandating some food waste recycling in RI approved

Legislation that would usher in an era of mandatory food waste recycling won final approval in the General Assembly on Thursday.

Both the House and the Senate approved bills that require institutions that produce two or more tons of food residuals a week to divert the waste from going to the state’s Central Landfill by 2016. Instead, they must either compost the material on site, have it hauled away for agricultural purposes such as animal feed or send it to a compost facility or waste-to-energy plant.

Since food recycling is just beginning to gain momentum around the country — some nearby states have embraced similar legislation — the mandate will not apply to institutions until a food waste handler opens for business no more than 15 miles away from where they’re located.

“This legislation is an invitation to entrepreneurs who will know that locating in Rhode Island will guarantee a market for their services.,” Sen. Cool Rumsey, D — Exeter, Charlestown, Richmond, Hopkinton, West Greenwich, said in a statement.

NEO Energy of New Hampshire announced last fall that it would like to build a 500-kilowatt anaerobic food digester at the Quonset Business Park. Methane from the food waste would be used to generate electricity.

Earth Care Farm, in Charlestown, is the only large-scale food-scrap composting operation in Rhode Island.

The law applies to higher educational institutions, restaurants, commercial food wholesaler and distributors, industrial food manufacturers and processors, supermarkets, resorts, conference centers, banquet halls, religious institutions, military installations, prisons, corporations, hospitals and casinos

State Rep. Donna Walsh, D-Charlestown, Westerly, South Kingstown, New Shoreham, sponsored the companion bill in the House.

“It’s foolish to allow organic materials to take up a huge portion of our limited, valuable landfill space when those materials are so useful,” she said in a statement. “This bill will extend our landfill’s life, while boosting agriculture and the green business sector, creating jobs and products right here in Rhode Island.”

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
chicken herbs

We make and broadcast short YouTube videos on TV monitors to educate our customers about cooking techniques, like how to cut up a chicken or what herbs and spices go well together. The monitors also are used to display daily menus, nutritional and allergen information, upcoming foodservice events and local weather forecasts.

Managing Your Business
wurster west may 2016

At a nearly 150-year-old university, every stone column and classroom has treasured stories to tell. But with that history come the logistical challenges of operating in outdated spaces—especially for foodservice. Such is the case at University of California at Berkeley, where longtime cafe Ramona’s in Wurster Hall closed in March to make way for an updated, as-yet unnamed concept.

With little more than a steam table and coolers, Ramona’s was limited by its lack of ventilation. And, as a former classroom space, it never was intended to function for foodservice, says Jennifer Wolch...

Ideas and Innovation
leftovers containers

We use our Menu Forward idea to empower staff to develop menu items and keep leftovers in check. Product left at the end of service may be claimed by any station to become part of a new item within six weeks. I’m happy to see my star team fighting for their ideas and products; the benefit to food cost is spot-on, and my freezer has no mystery items lurking in the corner.

Ideas and Innovation
food allergy

When potential students come to campus, we match them with a student from our allergy support group for a tour of our dining facilities. The ambassador helps the potential student to understand how they navigated campus with their food allergy. This showcases what we do for allergies on campus, and is a highly successful way to make the students feel good about dining.

FSD Resources