The Waste Biz: Is Making Compost The Best Use of Excess Grocery Food?

if you can't eat it, then use it for making compost

if you can't eat it, then use it for making compost

The Kearney Hub reports that Hy-Vee grocery stores in Nebraska will be following the lead of two Omaha locations by turning “waste food” into compost, biogas, and animal feed. The company has partnered with Sanimax to “…divert excess fruits and vegetables, bakery products, solid dairy products and floral clippings…” away from landfills.

I’m always in favor of keep food waste out of the trash… but, as I’ve noted in other contexts, I don’t know that making compost is always the best solution. I would guess that much of the excess mentioned here is edible, so why not divert it to shelters, pantries, and other organizations that feed the hungry? Whatever’s not edible could still go into the Sanimax systems.

Am I just missing the business case here? I’m assuming that edible food that can’t be sold would still generate tax deductions, as well as good PR, so the company would still save a ton of money. And floral clippings and other things people couldn’t eat could still be sold or used in stores. If I’m missing something, let me know…

Other news from the waste space:

Texas wants to create free market for bottle recycling: Deposit schemes work well to keep bottles out of landfills… but, OK, they generally are dependent on government mandates. Since Texans aren’t fans of those, the legislature is currently working on a deposit bill with more of a “free market” approach.

TerraCycle brings its wares to Etsy: Want to find unique items made from upcycled materials? Etsy’s been the traditional place to go online, and Terracycle has built a business out of turning “unrecyclable” materials into useful stuff. The two are now working together: Terracycle’s Etsy store features one-of-a-kind (and pricey) creative upcycled works, as well as more affordable consumer products made from waste packaging.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

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