Organic and Food Waste Recycling Opportunities

In recent years, focus on diverting organic waste from landfills has grown significantly, resulting in consumers and businesses alike making more conscious efforts to recycle. However there are still large opportunities for organic and food waste recycling.

Understanding the Opportunity

Warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities dealing with food and beverage goods all produce various types organic and food waste. Common sources of these waste streams include the following:

  • Products and ingredients near or past their expiration date
  • Products with compromised or outdated packaging
  • Products or ingredients that have become obsolete
  • Materials that have been compromised in any other way that makes them no longer viable for sale

However, whether one-time projects or ongoing requirements, organic and food waste cleanouts often result in many organic waste materials going to landfill. This may be due to concerns over managing the logistics for safely recycling these materials. Companies also sometimes choose landfill over recycling options due to misassumptions that recycling is not a viable business solution for organic waste.

But the good news is that recycling IS a viable option, and there are many recycling outlets equipped to safely handle these materials. Choosing recycling options for organic waste not only has a positive environmental impact, it may also result in reduced landfill costs and increased recycling rebates for your company.

FSMA Compliance

One major concern keeping some businesses from recycling their organics is the need to maintain FSMA compliance. Because FSMA (or the Food Safety Modernization Act) also regulates some aspects of disposal, companies are concerned that recycling is no longer a viable option for off spec or compromised organic waste. However, it is important to note that FSMA does not make organics recycling an impossibility. In fact, FSMA primarily affects organic and food waste that is destined for use as human or animal food. But as long as proper safety measures are enforced, even animal feed outlets are still viable disposal options.

The best method for companies to maintain FSMA compliance while still recycling their organic waste is to find recycling companies that uphold FSMA guidelines. For instance, at Northstar Recycling, we providing access to FSMA compliant outlets for both packaged and unpacked organic waste. Additionally, our team has undergone official FSPCA curriculum, and gained authority to develop and oversee Food Safety Plans for animal food processing and manufacturing facilities.

Protecting Brand Standards

Beyond FSMA compliance, brand identity is another common concern for businesses considering organics and food waste recycling. Companies do not want the products or ingredients that enter the waste stream to circulate into the public market through any unauthorized channels. One method for neutralizing this risk is to request certificates of destruction from your recycling service provider. Any reputable recycling company should be willing to provide written assurance that your packaged waste products have been safely and securely disposed of as intended. Another  quality control method is to use recycling companies that audit their organics outlets. For instance, at Northstar Recycling, our team members regularly visit and audit potential recycling outlets before using them for new clients. We also have staff members who are certified as ISO 9001-2015 Lead Auditors, and we utilize their expertise to audit facilities against clients’ Quality Management Systems.

These are just a few factors to consider when considering organics and food waste recycling opportunities fro your company.  To learn more about Northstar’s corporate organics recycling programs, contact us today.

***Feature Image Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Tyler Olson/Shutterstock”