Recycle, Zero landfill, Compostable, Biodegradable, waste to Energy…

Recycle, Zero landfill, Compostable, Biodegradable, waste to Energy… There has not been a time, in my 35 year career in the foodservice industry, that I have ever encountered a more confusing issue facing our industry. Over the last 8 years or so I have struggled with determining which direction I should lead my kitchen in so that we can make a difference for the future of the human race. After all, as I was reminded by one of my staff members, we are but a tiny blip on the screen of the history of the earth. His philosophy is that it simply makes sense to use the resources wisely and to not completely pollute the world in which we eat. Armed with this new perspective, I have finally adopted a program that makes sense for me. I wanted to share some of the things that we do at Blue Cross in the hopes that maybe there is something here that might make sense in your operation, and that maybe you will share something with me that I have not thought of, that may make sense for me.

1. Aluminum cans; this one was an easy one and so very painless. We called the Shriners in Columbia and requested their help. They parked a trailer (which they provided) and we fill it up with aluminum cans, call them when it is full, they pick it up and keep all the money for the Shriners hospital. Aluminum cans can be recycled endlessly (I learned that through we help out the earth and a good charity at the same time.

2. Tin Cans; this one takes a little more effort on my part. Labels come off, cans are rinsed, and collected for a 2 week period. On my way home from work I stop at mid Carolina recycling and sell them the cans at $. 02 per pound. The money just about covers my gas while waiting to off load, and if it was not on my way home I would really have to consider it. There are a couple of small companies who will pick up for you or if you have an employee with a pick-up truck it might make sense for you.

3. Styrofoam cups; Dart has a program for foam cup recycling. They have pre-labeled shipping containers that you fill with cups to send back to Dart and they recycle the cups for you. This has been a very popular program and minimal man hours, the containers come 2 in a box and you can get them special order from any distributor through Merchants has them in stock and are running a special on them for the month of June of buy 6 get 1 free. This brings the cost to about $21.00 per box of cups shipped back to Dart. This brings the cost to about $.07 per cup still less expensive than using a paper wax coated cup.

4. Napkins; We use an unbleached napkin and paper hand towel, still have not found a good way to recycle them, but having them unbleached is less severe on the environment while we wait for a good way to recycle them.

If you are anything like me, then this is already enough information to get your head starting to spin. I plan to share more information with you in future newsletters and would be very interested in hearing from you on some of the ways you have started this process. South Carolina is very behind the rest of the east coast in taking good care of our waste so I am sure we all will continue to see more from this issue in the future. One of the best places to start as you are looking at what to do is click here startrecycling/tipsformanufacturers.aspx listed here are companies looking for your recycling trash and that can help you along your journey. The best advice I have gotten from all the people I have talked to is, “just do something.” Start small work your way up to the most you can do. If we can all begin on a voluntary basis maybe we can avoid the expensive requirement phase that some other areas have seen. Please feel free to share what you are doing either on our Facebook page ACF MIDLANDS or email me at and I will add you in our next newsletter. John Lindower

John Lindower
John Lindower

October 3rd meeting Conquest Brewery

November 7th meeting TBD

November 20 Saluda Shoals Chairman's lighting

December 4th Sunday Holiday Party

January 29 President's Award Dinner