Food waste and other compostable material made up nearly 42 percent of the garbage by weight at the State Capitol cafeteria in Des Moines during a recent waste audit done by Iowa City students.
The Jan. 16 audit done by students from Northwest Junior High, South East Junior High and Borlaug Elementary, in conjunction with the Iowa Waste Exchange, yielded 285 pounds of garbage from the Capitol cafeterias, operated by Treat America Food Services.
Nonrecyclables – or actual garbage – made up the largest share of waste with 42.1 percent by weight, but compostables were right behind with 41.75 percent. Compostables include food, paper towels and paper dining products.
Rep. Chuck Isenhart, D-Dubuque, said the audit was a good way to show lawmakers how much recyclable product can be diverted from the waste stream. Food waste makes up about 14 percent of Iowa’s landfills, where it generates methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Should more Iowa cities trash systems pick up food waste and use it in compost?