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Earth Day: Food Waste Prevention Tips From Betterbin

EatStreet’s cooking up an easy way for you to make a positive environmental impact for Earth Day, this week and beyond. Your mission? Make it a standard practice to eat every bite, morsel, and crumb of food from your EatStreet deliveries. 

When you completely finish your meal, you prevent food waste from ending up in the local landfill, which actually benefits the environment. To put it plainly, the clean plate club won’t only make grandmothers everywhere proud, but it makes for a healthier planet. For Earth Day, EatStreet spoke with Wisconsin-based startup Betterbin to look into the climate change issue of food waste and how we can do our part to help prevent it.

EatStreet: Why is food waste prevention so integral when it comes to mitigating climate change?

Betterbin: When food waste biodegrades in a landfill it creates methane, which is a potent greenhouse gas. Preventing food waste from getting to a landfill is an easy way to personally reduce your contribution to greenhouse gas production.

EatStreet: What happens if we do have leftovers?

Betterbin: Preventing leftovers begins with only ordering the food you need. The EatStreet app allows users to provide notes to the restaurant, which is a perfect opportunity to do small things like foregoing condiments when you already have them at home. If you aren’t planning on saving half for lunch the next day, the next step is to think about composting.

EatStreet: What are common misconceptions about composting?

Betterbin: Composting isn’t as easy as tossing all of your leftovers in a bucket or somewhere in the backyard. Materials such as animal proteins, dairy, and takeout containers labeled as “biodegradable” usually cannot decompose correctly in your backyard. This is because the temperature of the compost pile isn’t able to get high enough for the bacteria to properly break down those materials, which can then attract rodents and generate bad odors. The good news is that more and more organizations and private businesses are working together to offer community composting programs that can usually handle a wider variety of organic materials.

EatStreet: Our hometown of Madison, WI is one of those communities, right?

Betterbin: Madison is really lucky to be one of a handful of Midwestern communities that offers a food scrap drop-off program. Unfortunately, just how recycling guidelines vary by community, so do composting program guidelines. The Madison program is set up so materials end up going to an anaerobic digester for processing. This particular process can accommodate some, but not all, materials that are technically biodegradable. 

EatStreet: How can you tell what is or isn’t biodegradable?

Betterbin: To make participation in the program easy for residents, Madison uses Betterbin to educate participants about a wide variety of what is acceptable in the program. Not only does the app tell you what kinds of things are biodegradable, but Betterbin also provides a comprehensive searchable database of acceptable program materials, directions to drop-off sites, tips for minimizing material contamination, and a resource hub that connects residents directly to the Madison Streets Division Food Scraps Program website.  Funding for this type of educational tool can be hard to come by for municipalities, so we were thrilled when EatStreet decided to come on board to sponsor the Madison app. Thank you!

EatStreet: Of course! It’s important for people to realize the positive impact that keeping food waste out of our landfills can have – and that includes those delivery leftovers that sat a few too many days in your refrigerator. We’re digging even deeper to help EatStreet users reduce waste in general, and soon customers will have options to decline napkins and cutlery.

Madison residents can use the Betterbin app to divert their food scraps from the local landfill after ordering from local EatStreet restaurants or making meals at home. We are always on the lookout for new ways to support earth-friendly progress in our hometown and all of the communities we operate in. No need to download anything from the app store, just check out the app at betterbin.app!