“Food waste is the largest single item in our waste stream, and there is no need for it to take up valuable space in our landfills. Food can easily be separated and processed into a rich compost material for gardening, landscaping and farming” (Stopwaste.org).
San Francisco and the outlying counties are leading the way in curbside food recycling, but “it’s still a rare service in the rest of the U.S.–less than 3% of the more than 30 million tons of organic waste we produce annually is recycled” (Justin Sullivan / Getty; Time Magazine).
Composting may be simple hobby for many, but it could be implemented into recycling programs across the United States. It’s hard to gauge the number of restaurants in the U.S, but the National Restaurant Association reports 12.8 million Americans are employed by restaurants, having a 1.7 trillion dollar total economic impact for 2011. Aside from curbside recycling, restaurants could have an instrumental impact in this movement. It’s hard to overlook the financial benefits food recycling could produce and the land fill space that could be saved. Compost is another great way to reduce your imprint. Growing up, my Grandma always used fresh compost in her garden and I can contest she had the freshest, biggest, and juiciest vegetables on the block. We recycle plastics & glass, so why not food as well.
Does the market value the environment? As active stakeholders we can start this evaluation simply by identifying if an organization is taking active steps to improve their environmental performance. The action itself, hopefully yielding positive benefits, is the key to balancing the business scorecard.
Let’s take a brief look at the concepts needed to accomplish this task and ways to stay better informed:
- “The triple bottom line (TBL) […] consists of three Ps: profit, people and planet. It aims to measure the financial, social and environmental performance of the corporation over a period of time. Only a company that produces a TBL is taking account of the full cost involved in doing business” (The Economist).
- The “life cycle analysis is a technique to assess the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product, process, or service” (Environmental Protection Agency). It’s accomplished through environmental accountability, evaluation, and interpretation.
Combining triple bottom line with the concept of the life cycle analysis, an organization can look at environmental imprints at each level of the supply chain.
Let’s look at the basic supply chain to bring it full circle.
- Raw Materials => Manufacturing => Wholesalers/Retailer => Consumer
Management is able to integrate improvements at each level, maximize outputs, and conduct risk analysis. Inefficiencies can be identified and ethical decisions can be made. In some cases it can reduce regulation. Ultimately, it creates a more efficient and sustainable business model. It’s essential for the ecosystem and essential in the business environment.