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Putting Waste “On The Table”

05.13.14 | Announcements

On Monday, May 12, more than 11,000 Chicagoans gathered over lunch and dinner tables across the city to exchange ideas for the future of Chicago, as part of  The Chicago Community Trust’s “On The Table” campaign.

Delta Institute co-hosted an “On The Table” lunch with our friends at Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition to talk about something that isn’t often discussed in polite company … waste.

Specifically, we convened a dialogue on food scraps, which make up roughly 30% of the Cook County waste stream and 60% of restaurant waste. With such a significant amount of our waste stream being organic waste, that means we can compost those scraps, turn them into nutrient-rich soil, and divert them from landfill where they inevitably emit harmful greenhouse gases in the decomposition process. Makes sense, right?  However, there are a number of barriers to city-wide composting. So, we gathered a diverse group with representation from local restaurants, county government, food co-ops, and universities to talk about those barriers, but more importantly, we also shared ideas for potential solutions that can help us achieve a more sustainable waste system here in Chicago. It was a great discussion – hopefully the first of many, and we learned a lot! Check out some of the Twitter highlights of our discussion here on Storify.

Thanks to all who participated, including: Sarah Hidder from Green Chicago Restaurant Coalition, Deborah Stone from Cook County Department of Environmental Control, Dan Rosenthal from The Rosenthal Group, Justin Vrany from Sandwich Me In, Brad White from Alphawood Foundation, Cheryl Munoz of Sugar Beet Coop, and Hanh Pham from Loyola University!