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A Guide to Composting (for Food Service Businesses)

A Guide to Composting (for Food Service Businesses)

by Ian

Here at Dark Woods, we have been getting very excited about compost – yes, you read it right. Let me explain.

Everyone knows what composting is – chucking garden waste, food scraps, cardboard, and the like, into a container or pile at the end of the garden and hoping that, eventually, it turns into soil.

In our conversations with our customers who run cafes and coffee shops, they told us that a continuous problem they have, is getting rid of food waste from the kitchen and plate scraps, particularly as they must pay for waste to be collected. We put together a pilot project with a groups of coffee shops, to see whether there was a better way to deal with food waste from hospitality businesses.

Working with ten independent coffee shops, pubs and restaurants, we provided them with a free composter, training and guidance on managing food waste. Over the following six months, we tracked their progress, successes and challenges – with a lot of help from our friends at the University of Huddersfield, who collated and analysed the feedback and data from the participants.

We recorded all the experiences from the businesses that took part – both good and bad. The result of all this work? Our free Guide to Composting for cafes.

Composting isn’t complicated, but it can be challenging for hospitality businesses. You need some outside space for a composter, and your kitchen and front of house team on board, so they separate compostable and non-compostable waste from plates and kitchen scraps. You need to put in some effort to keep the composter aired and warm. But the results can be great – free compost for you or your customers; reduced food waste going in the bin, money saved on rubbish collections, and reducing your carbon footprint. It’s not for everyone, but it is definitely worth a conversation in your coffee shop, restaurant or pub.

At Dark Woods, we practice what we preach – so we have created our very own composting culture. We have invested in a Ridan hot composter (expensive, but worth it). We now compost all our kitchen waste, chaff from roasting, shredded paper and, of course, our own home-compostable kilo bags. We have given our team kitchen-waste caddies for home, and they bring in their food waste to add to our composter. All the compost we produce gets used on our kitchen garden, and we share out the regular harvests of veg and salad amongst the team.

You can download our free composting guide for Food Service Businesses by clicking on the image below. If you’d like to chat about introducing composting in your business, get in touch.


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