For the final week in our sustainability series, we tackle staff training , recyling and how to take the food waste challenge.

Training Staff and Ensuring Smooth Collections 

  • Locate collection containers (a 5-gallon bucket, “Slim Jim” container or 64-gallon cart) and place in convenient locations where food is managed, e.g. prep and dishwashing stations, produce sorting 
  • Create clear and consistent signage for containers with images and relevant languages 
  • Motivate staff participation with recognition or awards 
  • Let staff know the importance of this practice – Establish the culture 
  • Ensure staff are trained on all aspects of food safety handling 
  • Re-train regularly, especially in high-turnover settings 
  • Put the organics and recycling bins to the left of the trash bin (people read left to right) 

Source: EPA “Reducing Waste Food and Packaging” 

Add Recycling Collection 

  • A natural complement to an organics diversion program is to also recycle other materials 
  • Cardboard, plastic containers, aluminum and steel cans and paper can be recycled in most places around NM 
  • Look for a local business recycling collection service or check-in with your municipality’s solid waste program for options. An online directory can be found at: 
  • By diverting both food waste and recyclables, you can reduce the number of trash pick-ups at your business! 

USDA and EPA Food Waste Challenge: Sign Up To Participate 

Two federal agencies have recognized the importance of wise management of food waste, with both entities working jointly to provide educational materials, advisement and recognition through the EPA Food Waste Challenge. 

The program goals include: 

  • Reduce food loss and waste 
  • Recover wholesome food for human consumption 
  • Recycle discards to other uses including animal feed, composting, and energy generation 
  • Currently more than 200 service businesses, colleges/universities, businesses, nonprofits are enrolled 
  • Participants reduce as much of their food waste as possible 
  • Learn more and join at: 

Other Resources: 

NM Recycling Coalition: Provides an online searchable recycling directory to locate services in your area 

Biocycle Case Studies: 

Think Eat Save: United Nations worldwide food waste reduction effort 

Love Food, Hate Waste: IPhone and Android app to assist with portions, shopping and recipes 

Free Waste, Energy and Water Audits For Any NM Business: Chris Campbell, NMSU Institute for Energy and the Environment, 505-843-4251,