RESEARCH: The “CompostAble Chicago” Study.

05. May 2023 | Waste | via


ComposAble Chicago (Credit:

The Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) and partners have released the CompostAble Chicago study report. The study aimed to understand how the use of compostable foodservice packaging might correlate to both increased capture of food scraps and reduced contamination in the compost stream. The study examined several food service establishments in the Chicago area and collected data on operating conditions and waste streams. According to FPI’s article, venues in the study were given ratings based on the likely success factors, including the supply of certified compostable packaging, the level of knowledge and engagement by staff, presence of instructional materials and levels of turnover for both patrons and staff. Waste sorts were also conducted to quantify the amount of foodservice packaging and food scraps in each stream. The study’s findings suggest venues that adopt compostable foodservice packaging, under favorable operating conditions, should be expected to collect more food scraps in front-of-house (FOH) compost streams. In addition, contamination levels were also seen to trend lower with stronger adoption of compostable items. “It’s important to be able to determine the value proposition of using compostable products,” explains Rhodes Yepsen, Executive Director of BPI, a science-driven organization that supports a shift to the circular economy by promoting the production, use, and appropriate end of lives for materials and products that are designed to fully biodegrade in specific biologically active environments. “While numerous waste audits have been done in the past, it can be challenging to get meaningful data, so this collaborative effort focused on what’s important to measure, and how we can use that data to build composting programs that are successful.”