Food waste diversion machines have recently gained momentum within the restaurant industry. Some of these machines turn food into a soil amendment to help grow new food, trees, or plants. When this food is diverted from the landfill and is used to grow something new, then the machine meets the Green Restaurant Association’s environmental standards and garners a restaurant GreenPoints™ towards becoming a Certified Green Restaurant®.
Some machines turn food waste into sludge, which then goes down the drain. When these machines are used to throw this liquefied food down the drain, they do not satisfy the GRA's food waste recycling certification standards, which are:
The GRA's food waste diversion requirement states that food waste needs to be processed and then repurposed into a useful resource, such as into animal feed, biogas, or a soil amendment. When it is thrown into a landfill or down the drain, its rich nutrients are not guaranteed to go back into the ecosystem for productive purpose.
Why are these our standards? The goal is to promote the most sustainable practices as possible, and that means being resourceful with waste and not just diverting it from a landfill. It takes a vast amount of energy, water, and resources to produce food, so it’s important to capture the food waste and reuse it in some capacity. When the sludge in a food digester goes down the drain, those resources are not being recovered.