Tips For Overcoming Obstacles and Mastering Composting in the Workplace

Restaurant worker putting food in regular trash bin

Adopting a composting program at work is a great way to help the environment, nurture employee engagement, and meet sustainability goals. However, implementing any kind of change in the workplace can present challenges. 

Here are the top challenges associated with implementing a composting program in the workplace and how to address them.

1) Getting Employee Engagement

Garnering staff buy-in can be a struggle when adopting a workplace composting program. If your staff isn’t committed to the program, composting may be done incorrectly (or not at all). Here are some ideas to help get your staff on board.

Explain the Benefits

Explaining the benefits to your employees can help them understand the true effects of composting. If your employees know that putting in the effort to compost positively impacts the environment, they’ll feel more motivated to do it. 

Some of the top benefits of composting that could help motivate your employees to take part in a composting program are: 

  • Diverting waste from landfills and reducing the amount of organic waste that is broken down through anaerobic composting, a process that produces methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Enhancing water retention in soil, thereby reducing the amount of water farmers and gardeners need to produce healthy crops. 
  • Increasing soil fertility and nutrient content.
  • Safeguarding public health by reducing use of synthetic fertilizers.

Include Employees in Discussions

Resturant employee meeting

Holding discussions with your staff about the process and benefits of composting tells them that the business leaders want to make composting a collective effort — rather than feeling like they have to compost just because their boss told them to. 

Some of the key topics to cover in a discussion about a new composting program to encourage employee participation include:

  • Why the company wants to compost. 
  • Why staff is a critical component of the program.
  • What the program will look like from beginning to end. 

These discussions can be held through meetings, email chains, and even chat groups.

Share Progress

An effective way to motivate staff to keep up with a new program is with clear data. When your staff can see that composting makes a difference, they can see that their efforts have not been wasted and feel encouraged to keep doing it. 

One way to show the results of a composting program to your staff is to share diversion data. Some composting collection companies may provide this information as part of their service.

2) Preventing Contamination

Contamination can be a major issue with composting. The more contaminants (non-organic waste) that are placed into a compost bin, the lower the compost quality. Severely contaminated loads may be rejected completely by composting facilities. To avoid contamination from hindering your composting program, business leaders should provide proper training along with readable signs and labels.

Proper Training

Training staff on what is compostable helps to avoid miscommunication and the spread of misinformation on composting requirements. Holding regular training courses is a crucial part towards company-wide alignment, as personnel will change over time. 

Some composting collection services may offer employee training as part of their onboarding process.

Signs and Labels

New habits take time to build. Even with training, staff might occasionally forget what exactly can and can’t be composted. Leveraging signs and labels can help remind employees what can be composted, where to put waste that cannot be composted, and why the company is composting in the first place. 

If your containers don’t contain a list of compostable items, ask your composting service if they provide it.

List of compostable items for residential and commercial food items for Moonshot Compost
Our list of compostable items at Moonshot Compost.

3) Poor Capacity Planning

A concern businesses may have when adopting a composting program is facing the repercussions of not executing it correctly. If a business forgoes a waste audit before beginning its composting program or miscalculates the amount of waste the staff produces, the composting program may present more challenges. 

Too much food waste can cause compost bins to overflow — and overflowing bins can lead to food waste being thrown away in the regular trash instead. If your staff does not compost enough and bins are collected when not at full capacity, your company could waste money that could be saved with a less frequent pick-up schedule. 

Ensure that your company does not fall victim to poor capacity planning by performing regular waste audits.

Perform a Waste Audit

A waste audit is a measurement of the different types and amounts of waste that are produced in a specific location over a certain amount of time. Understanding your workplace’s waste production metrics can help you gain the biggest ROI when composting.

Change Your Collection Agreement

If your workplace has overflowing compost bins before collection time, it’s probably worth it to invest in some more containers or increase the frequency of pickups with your compost collection service. 

Some composting services may even be proactive and recommend changes to your agreement before you do.

4) Monitoring and Managing

Your composting program may have had a successful launch, but if you don’t continuously enable and empower your staff to partake, challenges could arise. Maybe initial staff buy-in was great, but they need more reminders — or no one is really in charge of the program, so it’s slowly forgotten. One way to address these challenges is by appointing a team dedicated to overseeing the composting program. 

The process of appointing a team to own your company’s composting program could include the following steps:

  • Assigning different roles (someone to monitor what is being composted vs thrown away, check drum capacity, maintain signs, send out reminders).
  • Keeping track of staff turnover and training new staff on the composting system.
  • Holding regular meetings to share composting progress and results.

Moonshot Compost Is Devoted to Collecting Food Waste All Over Texas

If you want to start a workplace composting program, Moonshot Compost makes diverting your food waste easy – after a consultation to understand the scope of a composting program, we arrange the pickup schedule that works for you. We provide everything you need, including compost drums, maintenance/washing, and detailed weight reports.

We also train your staff and give you clear instructions on what can and can’t be composted, so that your collections don’t get compromised. Our Diversion Dashboard provides real-world data on your food waste diversion stats, from total poundage diverted to pounds of CO2 saved.

Twice a year you can request compost or choose to donate it.