The U.S. EPA estimates that over 30 million tons of food waste is discarded every year in the United States.
As much as 70% of restaurant waste is food waste. Quest Recycling offers a comprehensive food-recycling program, which covers all fruits, vegetables, dairy, deli and bakery items. Together, Quest Recycling and major industries can significantly reduce the amount of organic waste ending up in landfills, while turning food waste into a usable resource.
A team of experts, utilizing the Quest Recycling R3M program, studies a company's current waste situation and determines where best to tweak the ordering and display options to reduce landfill use.
Through the Quest Recycling network of vendors, Quest can channel a percentage of organic waste into a process where the product is dehydrated and put back into animal feed. In addition, the Quest Recycling Sustainability Solutions program provides the usable portions directly to animals.
This process creates energy in the form of electricity or heat from the incineration of organics or through anaerobic digestion.
Anaerobic digestion is a series of processes in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. This process is widely used as a renewable energy source, because it produces a methane and carbon dioxide rich biogas suitable for energy production, helping replace fossil fuels. Also, the nutrient-rich digestate can be used as fertilizer. Quest Recycling currently employs a network of service providers who utilize this method as a form of organic disposal.
Compost/Land Application/Soil Treatment
One of the oldest forms of recycling, composting, has experienced a groundswell of support with a more eco-conscience society. In composting or land application/soil treatments, organic materials are placed either in a custom bin or spread out over topsoil and allowed to decompose naturally. Composting sites have several options for turning and rotating the product to maximize the nutrient content of the end-product and speed up the turn-around time.
Land application/soil treatment facilities typically do not regularly mix the product or add any components but allow nature to return the nutrients to the host soil on its own timetable.
Composting facilities also will typically bag or sell the product by the truck/train load to individuals or municipalities, whereas land application/soil treatment facilities leave the product where it is initially placed.
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