Eco-Products has announced a free new program to help foodservice operators keep non-compostable items out of their organics streams. 

The program, called Controls Intended to Remove Contamination (CIRC), will verify that restaurants and other operators are taking important steps to prevent non-compostable materials from being sent to composting facilities. The program is free for foodservice operators and composters and is open to all.

While food scraps, yard trimmings and certified compostable packaging can be composted, anything else creates serious problems for composters.  

“Contamination from non-compostable products is the defining challenge for many composters today,” says Wendell Simonson, director of marketing at Eco-Products. “Unfortunately, most composters have an extremely limited ability to deal with contamination once it gets to their facilities. That’s why foodservice operators must put controls in place to prevent that contamination from ever getting to composters in the first place.” 

The program, free of charge, features scorecards that foodservice operators will use to show composters and haulers that the necessary controls are in place to generate contaminant-free organics streams. The scorecard is divided into four sections — Procurement, Operations, Communications and Hauler Engagement — that contain criteria and conditions that are either required or encouraged.  

Individual composting facilities would be able to determine their own “passing” scores, and which conditions are required vs. encouraged. Among the criteria: 

  • Is there an ordering guide in place for compostable products that has been approved by the composter? 
  • Is there an agreement in place with the distributor to stock all items on the ordering guide? 
  • Are employees actively engaged in the management of waste streams? 
  • Do guests receive clear instructions regarding how to discard compostable and non-compostable foodservice items? 
  • Is messaging provided in the venue and through labeling on compostable items? 
  • Is there an on-site sorting process in place to inspect all organics streams before they are picked up by the hauler? 

“Organics diversion at scale in the foodservice industry is impossible without composter willingness to accept and process post-consumer food scraps and certified packaging,” Simonson says. “An operator-driven systems approach to contamination mitigation is long overdue.”  

Eco-Products is rolling out the program through its nationwide team of waste diversion experts called “Product & Zero Waste Specialists.”