The City of Austin is requiring restaurants to find innovative ways to use leftover food to prevent it from ending up in a landfill, according to a city ordinance.
Starting Oct. 1, all food-permitted businesses must comply with Austin's Universal Recycling Ordinance. The ordinance suggests that businesses donate extra food to feed people, send food scraps to local animal farms or ranches or create a compost system.
The ordinance also requires restaurants to provide education for employees about organic diversion.
"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, Austin Resource Recovery.
According to the 2015 Diversion Study, more than 85 percent of Austin’s trash and recycling comes from commercial businesses, multifamily properties and food service establishments. Of the materials sent to landfills, 37 percent is organic and could have been donated or composted.
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