There are a number of important reasons why both households and businesses should make efforts to separate food scraps from the solid waste stream and divert them away from landfills. Consider these four leading reasons among them.
By Nick Daddabbo

In most American homes and businesses, food scraps are treated as just another part of the waste stream—discarded directly into the trash can, where they are ultimately destined for the landfill. However, recognizing the advantages of organic waste recycling, a number of U.S. states and municipalities have begun instituting requirements that food scraps be separated from other business and household waste for diversion from landfills. Prominent examples include:

  • California, where requirements for businesses to recycle organic waste began in 2016, and residential organics recycling requirements were introduced in 2022.
  • Vermont, where mandates to compost/donate food scraps began for large food waste generators in 2014, and a landfill ban on food scraps was instituted for all businesses and residents in 2020.
  • Seattle, where a ban on putting food waste in the garbage began in 2015.

Laws restricting the disposal of food scraps can also be found on the books in states like Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and in cities like New York City, Austin, Portland and San Francisco—and the trend is growing.

Wastequip manufactures carts and dumpsters that make organics waste disposal seamless and effective.
Photo courtesy of Wastequip.

Top Reasons to Support Organics Recycling
There are a number of important reasons why both households and businesses should make efforts to separate food scraps from the solid waste stream and divert them away from landfills. Consider these four leading reasons among them.

#1: It Helps the Environment
When confined in a landfill, food waste slowly decomposes anaerobically to produce methane—a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming at more than 80 times the rate of carbon dioxide over its first two decades in the atmosphere. Diversion of food scraps away from landfills can help prevent this from happening.

#2: It Conserves Landfill Space
According to statistics, the average U.S. household produces nearly 20 metric tons of food waste each year—one of the highest average annual volumes worldwide. Further, food waste represents more than 20 percent of the nation’s municipal solid waste stream. Separating organics from the waste stream in households and businesses can keep food waste from ever reaching the landfill, eliminating a substantial contributor to landfill contents.

#3: It Aids in Resource Recovery
Food scraps are filled with critical nutrients that—when added to the soil via composting rather than contributing to the waste stream—can help plants, gardens and farms thrive. In addition, food scraps can be converted to biogas via anaerobic digestion, a biological process that microorganisms employ to break down biodegradable material in oxygen-free environments. In turn, this biogas can be captured and used to generate electricity, heat, renewable natural gas, and other valuable fuels.

#4: It Helps Prevent Odors
When thrown away in the trash can, food scraps are among the largest contributors to garbage-related odors in households and businesses. By diverting food waste out of the waste stream, the scrap-free garbage is typically much cleaner and less pungent.

Tough-and-Ready Tools for Organics Collection
Of course, to do their part in supporting organics recycling, households and businesses must separate their food scraps and other organic waste materials from the main waste stream and put them into receptacles other than the trash can.
Some of the tools that can facilitate this process both in the home and at the workplace—where employers can encourage the practice by implementing an organics collection program—include:
• Organics caster carts—Featuring large wheels and swivel casters for added maneuverability, these carts are ideal for storing and moving heavy loads of organic materials.
• Organics two-wheel collection carts—Available in a variety of sizes, these heavy-duty, commercial-grade carts are typically leak-resistant and designed specifically to handle heavy, wet organic waste. They are often used by municipalities with organics collection programs in place.
• Organics FEL dumpsters—These leak-proof dumpsters are often made with heavy-duty plastic so that they can better withstand long-term exposure to aggressive organic waste without rusting or corroding.

And to maintain container integrity, they often feature rims and bases with steel-rod reinforcement to facilitate the storage of heavy, wet organic materials at facilities that produce especially large amounts of them.

The increasing prevalence of these smart new policies and products makes it easier than ever for businesses and households to make a big impact through proper organics disposal. | WA

Nick Daddabbo, Director of Product Management for Wastequip, a leading North American manufacturer of waste handling equipment, with an international network of manufacturing facilities and the most extensive dealer network in the industry. Wastequip’s broad range of waste equipment, trucks and systems is used to collect and transport solid waste, recyclables and organics. The company’s brands include Amrep®, Accurate™, ConFab®, ContainerPros®, Galbreath®, Mountain Tarp®, Pioneer™, Toter®, Wastebuilt®, Wastequip®, Wastequip WRX™ and wasteware™. For more information, visit
Toter is a leading provider of waste and recycling carts to waste haulers and municipalities in North America. Additional products include specialty carts for document management, electronic waste, organics, medical waste and more. Manufactured using Advanced Rotational MoldingTM, Toter carts offer a greater service life than injection-molded carts. Toter is also the only commercial-grade cart available to consumers at retailers nationwide. Toter is a division of Wastequip. For more information, visit


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