What if we told you food decomposing in landfills releases methane, the greenhouse gas that is 20 to 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide? Would you take action to reduce food waste? Did you know that food packaging accounts for almost two-thirds of total packaging waste in American municipal solid waste and is a top pollutant of our waterways and ocean? Does that inspire you to choose reusables?
Compass Group, our parent company, was moved to global action and created Stop Food Waste Day in 2017 to drive awareness around these issues and provide help to reduce food waste both at home and at work. In 2022 alone, the companywide food waste fighting message reached millions of people in over 60 countries. We’re proud to join the truly global campaign that encourages chefs, home cooks, and our guests to think about the impact of their food.
Fighting food waste is nothing new to us, though, as we’ve been working diligently to reduce it since 2007. Waste prevention is inherent in the way we cook and serve our food, preparing meals from scratch in small batches to order, using snout-to-tail and stem-to-root cooking techniques. And we’ve set an aggressive target. We aim to cut food loss and waste by 50% by the year 2030, as a member of the inaugural class of Food Loss and Waste Champions.
We’re prioritizing waste reduction according to the EPA Food Recovery Hierarchy, we aim for landfills to be our last resort by ensuring that accounts are actively preventing waste at the source, donating leftovers to local hunger relief organizations, and diverting waste from landfills.
Preventing waste at the source
All of our accounts are tasked with preventing waste at the source in one of the following five ways:
- Regularly purchasing Imperfectly Delicious Produce, a groundbreaking program that works with our farmers, suppliers, and chefs to source cosmetically challenged produce that would otherwise be left to rot in the fields or discarded in the processing plant.
- Hosting an annual waste awareness campaign for the entire café.
- Demonstrating a measurable decrease in disposables through an eco-clamshell/reusable container program, which means either demonstrating a 50% decrease in disposables use or having reusable clamshells as the only to-go option in the café. By doing so, we will be preventing a significant amount of food packaging waste.
- Participating in a year-round waste tracking program through Waste Not™, now a globally distributed, proprietary app and tracking system that’s designed to inspire behavior change by showing our teams the source and reason for waste, not just measuring the amount of it.
- Utilizing tasting spoons at all-you-care-to-eat facilities, which was proven to reduce guest plate waste on average by over half from 1.75oz per guest to 0.79oz per guest according to the white paper we published with National Resources Defense Council.
We have promised that the majority of our accounts (at least 80%) will be Food Recovery Verified, meaning we’re regularly donating our excess food to people in need and verified by an independent third party.
Diverting waste from landfills
And all our accounts will be diverting wasted food from landfills in one of the following four ways:
- Donating food scraps to farm animals or rescue animals at sanctuaries on a routine basis.
- Recycling waste vegetable oil for industrial uses such as biofuel.
- Processing food waste with a bio-digester to be turned into energy.
- Composting pre- and/or post-consumer food waste.
Learn more about how we’re doing on our waste commitments and explore food waste fighting tips and recipes.