Green Sharlene

A Commercial Food Waste Diversion Program in the City of Davis

About seven years ago, the City of Davis was putting much effort into teaching residents to compost in their backyard. Shar thought, “Why don’t we get a program going for commercial food waste?  We restaurants, as well as many institutional establishments and grocery stores, produce a lot of food waste and we have no other option than to throw it away. It seems to me that the City of Davis, would gain great success in reducing our carbon footprint if we businesses partnered together with the City and Davis Waste Removal to get such a program in the works.” Well change takes time and patience, and not everyone was on board at the time. So Shar started to dive into the waste stream and began to learn how to make a Commercial Food Waste Diversion Program happen.

Fast forward to early Spring of 2010, the timing was right, and Shar began again to make many phone calls and successfully brought together the City of Davis Public Works and Davis Waste Removal to initiate the development of a Commercial Food Waste Diversion program.

Along the way, Shar says, “I have made so many great connections with many incredible folks who, like me, really want this to happen. Including CDI, the COOL Davis Initiative, the Davis Farmer’s Market, and many others, “The support of this mission by many is very inspiring.”
In October 2010, Shar forged a pre-pilot and diverted food and compostable waste at Caffé Italia restaurant with Davis Waste Removal. They gathered the necessary data to begin working out the logistics to get this sort of a program going.

Shar states, “I knew it could be done, and our staff was completely on board and did a great job. I’m thrilled with their efforts” 
Shar has been working with City Public Works in signage, and training materials, to make the change easy for businesses to implement the Commercial Food Waste Diversion Program into their everyday operations. A good partnership with Davis Waste Removal and the City of Davis is imperative to make this whole thing work, to keep it sustaining. Our industry produces a lot of food waste, that ends up in the landfill creating methane. When instead, it could be diverted to a bio-digestor or composting facility, where it will be turned into valuable energy and compost. That nutrient rich compost can then be put back into our farmer’s fields saving water and completing a circle for good food. We will see a dramatic improvement in the City of Davis’ effort to reduce our carbon footprint when we get this mission of a Commercial Food Waste Diversion Program realized. This has been a year of progress and Shar cannot wait to get others involved through the outreach program that is in the works.