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Compost 2019: A Look Back And A Look Ahead

I recently returned from Phoenix, Arizona where I was selected to speak at Compost 2019, the U.S. Composting Council’s annual conference and trade show, which showcases the trends, issues and new thinking around organics and composting.

As a Waste Diversion Manager and Organics Recycling Lead here at Rubicon Global, I am responsible for designing, implementing and managing organics recycling programs at Rubicon for small and large customers across North America and beyond.

My presentation at Compost 2019 focused on the challenges that compostable foodservice ware faces – as well as how the organics recycling industry will – or will not – embrace compostable foodservice ware.  

The composting challenges for restaurants stretch far and wide across the supply chain – from single-use items to food scraps and everything in between. A number of companies, as well as municipalities, have pledged to stop serving specific items or even changing their packaging altogether.  

With growing customer feedback and local government legislation, companies increasingly are wondering how they should serve their food, navigating hundreds of different regulations across dozens of states.

The issue for the organics recycling industry is to confront the challenges experienced by both the foodservice operator and the processing facility, in order to maximize diversion of organics from landfills.

Foodservice operators need assurance that compostable foodservice ware will be well-received by the customer and the performance and price of the products hold up.   

For a company to roll out compostable foodservice packaging nationwide, they face a number of challenges such as how to comply with regulations, how to integrate compostable foodservice ware into their existing portfolio, how to justify the increased cost of the packaging, and how to close the loop and make sure the compostable foodservice ware actually gets composted.   

For the restaurants, they can look at changing their portfolio to compostable products to meet regulations, reduce contamination, and reduce cost (by lowering the amount of trash).

For the haulers and composters, they can look at charging accordingly for increased volume and reduced weight as a result of compostable foodservice ware.  

These are all challenging questions, and here at Rubicon, we enjoy working with our current and future customers, as well as hauler partners to get to the answers and implement the solutions that drive value and results for their composting and organics strategy.   


Does your business have a question about organics recycling? Be sure to download the Rubicon “Beginner’s Guide To Organics Recycling and reach out to me on Twitter at @RecycleOrganics and let’s talk about smarter organics recycling.  

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