Even though I’m a member of the “clean plate club” 99% of the time I go out to eat (Thanks mom!), I’ll occasionally have a scrap or two left on my plate. A few years ago this food scrap would have been tossed into the trash and eventually made its way into a landfill to live out its remaining days. However, over the past few years, more and more local restaurants and eateries have replaced their trash cans with bins for composting, recycling or sorting – which is done by the employees.
My latest trips to Grand Central Bakery, Pizzicato and Little Big Burger were pleasantly trash-free. Little Big Burger only offers composting or recycling, which is fantastic considering plates and silverware aren’t given to customers, just compostable bags, wrappers and containers, all of which can be tossed into the compost on the spot.
Restaurants are not alone in this effort; a city-wide composting initiative was implemented in Portland on Oct. 31, 2011. The city’s composting efforts will help keep 30,000 tons of compostable food out of landfills every year. Instead, our scraps will have a second life as nutrient-rich fertilizer. For a tree-hugger like me, this is a comforting trend. Now my food scraps — if any remain — get to enjoy a ride in the compost bin with like-minded leftovers.