California continues trekking towards its goal of diverting 75 percent of solid waste from landfills by 2020, this time tackling the problem of post-consumer food waste in the front of house.
Come next year, restaurants in California will be required to provide a separate bin for customers to throw uneaten food scraps, soiled paper, and other “organic waste,” according to a post from Nation’s Restaurant News. The new law, called AB 827, applies only to limited-service restaurants — that is, restaurants where customers order and pay at the counter and typically bus their own tables after eating.
AB 827 requires restaurants, malls, and other businesses that serve food to make recycling and composting bins available to their customers by July 1, 2020.
Full-service restaurants are exempt from the bill, as servers in these establishments likely already separate food waste in the back of house after busing a table under existing requirements in the state.
“Giving people an opportunity to recycle and compost where they live, work and recreate will not only increase the amount diverted from landfills but will also reduce contamination across the recycling system by establishing consistent sorting habits,” Nick Lapis, director of advocacy for AB 827 sponsor Californians Against Waste, said in a statement.
Getting consumers involved is a big step in curbing the overall food waste problem, particularly in the restaurant industry. While a growing number of companies like Winnow and LeanPath are helping restaurants tackle food waste in the back of house, those technologies typically only measure food before it lands on customers’ plates. California’s new law will provide those customers with an easy, convenient way to divert their food scraps from landfills. More importantly, it will also hopefully help them realize how much food they waste eating out and begin to adjust their behavior accordingly — which, when it comes to food waste, will be the key to fighting it in future.