Description

Food waste is a growing global issue that exemplifies an unsustainable system of resource loss in landfills which eventually breaks down into the greenhouse gas of methane. Approaching landfill diversion

Food waste is a growing global issue that exemplifies an unsustainable system of resource loss in landfills which eventually breaks down into the greenhouse gas of methane. Approaching landfill diversion of food waste on the local level requires innovative solutions based on public and private partnerships. This thesis project explored how the City of Tempe's Grease Cooperative could provide a model of restaurant partnership and third-party service to tackle not just restaurant grease waste in water, but food waste in the solid waste stream. This used other city-run food waste collection systems as examples, and it relied on the input and support of multiple municipal stakeholders in its design. Using an existing food waste collection service in the Phoenix metropolitan area, the research was collected during a month-long observational pilot study of four Tempe restaurants, where data ranged from trash bin differences to kitchen staff sizes. The results of the pilot were compiled for the benefit of the collection service, the City of Tempe, and the involved restaurants to demonstrate potential obstacles to a currently small, but scalable, collection service, and potential solutions that will make the service more efficient and attractive to new customers. Future research goals include expanding the pilot's reach and information through stronger partnerships and collaborative data collection in Tempe, providing a guide to a food waste collection cooperative within Tempe, and promoting large scale diversion of food waste from restaurants both through prevention and nutrient recycling. The final paper was submitted for publication to the Solutions journal, as an example of "On the Ground" implementation of solutions.

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