Austin is well known for its edgy live music scene, now Texas’ capital city is becoming known for its fight against food waste as the city has now banned restaurants from throwing away food waste.
Under a new policy that began on 1 October, all food-permitted businesses in the city are required to keep organic material, such as food scraps and soiled paper products, from landfills.
It comes after official city data found that 37% of material sent to landfills was organic and could have otherwise been donated or composted.
Businesses can dispose of their food waste by donating extra food, giving scraps to local farms for animals, or composting, the city government said in a press release announcing the policy.
The city’s Universal Recycling Ordinance also requires businesses to provide employees with training on organic waste diversion, and to post information about the plan.
The environmentally-friendly move is part of the city’s goal to be zero waste by 2040. In addition to encouraging food donation and composting, the plan calls for expanded recycling and economic development.
It follows other US cities which have taken a similar stance on food waste. San Francisco diverts about 80 percent of its total waste from landfills. In Seattle, all residents, buildings and food businesses are required to sign up for a food waste collection service. Large restaurants and food retailers in New York City are required to responsibly dispose of their extra food as well.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea