The Gateway-To-The-West has launched its first ever city-wide composting company.
St. Louis, Missouri, is experiencing a regional first… a first of its kind composting program designed to reduce food waste and increase composting city-wide.
The recently launched St. Louis Composting Inc., fed by material from Washington University, Frito-Lay, the National Guard, WalMart Stores Inc. and the Missouri Botanical Garden, is now the largest composting facility in Missouri. The company currently composts more than 100 tons of out-of-date food and food processing by-products per week.
Several years ago, St. Louis began encouraging area restaurants to be more environmentally conscious, and the new composting program seeks to build on that success. By recapturing restaurant food waste, as well as grocery store and other business waste and composting it, it can be returned to local farms as fertilizer. Farmers use the fertilizer to grow local produce, which the restaurants can then buy and use.
This cradle-to-cradle approach is new for the southeast region of the U.S., but St. Louis Composting Inc., president Patrick Geraty hopes the program will take the process from garden to table and back again, completely closing the food waste loop.
Since partnering with St. Louis Composting, Frito-Lay alone has diverted more than 10,000 pounds of food waste from area landfills. Composting, along with other recycling programs, has helped reduce Frito-Lay’s overall landfill waste from 60% in 2009 to only 2% 2010.
The St. Louis Composting, Inc., program may be a first for St. Louis, but that just means they’re leading the way. Let’s hope the Gateway-To-The-West will point the way for other cities to get serious about reducing food waste.