Foodservice Equipment Reports

New Momentum For Composting

Chicago officials are moving to make all restaurants at its two airports recycle waste, use eco-friendly materials and include sustainable ingredients in at least 20% of its menu items.

The city aviation department’s new green-concessions policy will affect 248 restaurants and concessions operations at O'Hare Int’l. and Midway. If they haven’t already, all will have to recycle or compost their refuse by the end of 2013. Right now, about 50% of waste generated at both airports is compostable, adding up to about 25 tons per day.

The new policy also will ban petroleum-based plastic bags, trash bags, containers and utensils. By 2016, restaurant and concessions owners also will be required to ensure 20% of what they offer is made from sustainable food, and they will be required to use green hygiene and cleaning products.

A similar push is going on in New York City, where more than 100 restaurants, including high-end names such as Le Bernardin and chains like Pret a Manger, have pledged to cut in half the food waste they send to landfills.

The operators will rely on composting and recycling to accomplish the 50% reductions. According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “Food wastes make up about a third of our city’s total of more than 20,000 tons of daily refuse.” Restaurants, he added, account for 70% of commercial food waste.