Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Austin Bans Restaurants From Throwing Food Waste Into Landfills

Food

This week, the city of Austin, Texas implemented a new rule that prevents restaurants from tossing wasted food straight into the trash.

Austin's Universal Recycling Ordinance, enacted on Monday, requires all food-permitted businesses to divert discarded organic material, including food scraps and soiled paper, from landfills, according to the city government's press release of the new policy.


Businesses have the option to donate extra food to feed people, send food scraps to local animal farms or ranches or compost.

Additionally, owners and managers of the establishment must provide regular education for employees, post informational signage and submit an annual "organic diversion plan" to the city government.

"The city is committed to helping companies, large and small, find cost-effective solutions and establish diversion programs to ensure food and other organics are put to best use while meeting ordinance requirements," said Sam Angoori, interim director of Austin Resource Recovery, in the press release.

The new policy is a key component in the city's goal to reach zero waste by 2040. About 40 percent of Austin's landfill trash is organic, meaning the material could have been donated or composted, the city said, citing data from its 2015 Diversion Study.

Each year, one third of all food produced globally is wasted, according to the Boston Consulting Group. The problem is expected to get worse. By 2030, food waste will increase to 2.1 billion tons, worth around $1.5 trillion, the group estimated.

As EcoWatch mentioned previously, confronting the problem is important both for fighting world hunger and climate change, especially as food waste makes up 8 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Resources Institute. And around 870 million people around the world are malnourished.

Austin's move is part of a larger sustainability movement among progressive cities. For instance, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Vancouver and New York have enacted various composting mandates in recent years. A growing number of municipalities, states and nations around the world have also legislated against disposable plastics such as grocery bags and drinking straws.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less
People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26, 2020. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50% occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas spiked after being one of the first states to begin reopening. SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A never-before-documented frog species has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands and named Phrynopus remotum. Germán Chávez

By Angela Nicoletti

The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.

Read More Show Less