Food Waste Recovery

In the coalition we take a systems approach to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County food system-and the food system doesn’t end at the point of consumption. The goal of the Food Waste Recovery Working Group is to develop efficient food waste recovery systems and intrastructure for the recycling and reuse of compostable materials from businesses, residents, and agencies.

Follow this link to read a comprehensive policy brief prepared by FPC about the potential for composting in Greater Cleveland and efforts along those lines.

Waste & Composting

Members of this working group agreed that city-wide and business composting systems were a good place to begin work with the rollout of recycling programs in the city of Cleveland.

There are generally two types of compostable materials generated by businesses, residences, and agencies: waste oil/grease and green waste including kitchen scraps and yard waste.

Some business that participate in food waste recovery systems:

  • Great Lakes Brewing Company (waste grease, brew waste, kitchen scraps)
  • Lucky’s Cafe (kitchen waste)
  • Gypsy Beans and Baking Co. (kitchen waste)
  • Bon Appetit at Case Western Reserve University (waste grease)

Composting facilities in Greater Cleveland:

  • Cleveland Metroparks Zoo (animal manure)
  • Rosby’s Resource Recycling (yard waste, leaves)


Food Waste Recovery at the West Side Market

The West Side Market (WSM) in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland is one of the city’s oldest and most revered institutions – in 2012 its centennial will be widely celebrated.  The public market features over 100 vendors and attracts about a million visitors per year.  With all those vendors doing business in one place, the Food Waste Recovery Working Group suspected there was a good amount of compostable material that was simply going to the landfill.

Food Waste Recovery helped faciliate a “food waste audit” of the WSM, which was completed in partnership with the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, the City of Cleveland, Entrepreneurs for Sustainability (E4S), and OSUE.  The study found that 500 to 700 pounds of compostable food waste is being generated each day the market is open, which adds up to over one ton per week.

Using the data from the food waste audit, the City of Cleveland applied for a grant through Ohio Department of Natural Resources to obtain a grant to purchase two in-vessel composting units for the West Side Market.  The majority of that food waste is now being composted.