Generators and Feedstocks

There are various types or organic residual generators, these can be large or small scale and range from grocery stores, residences, elementary schools, universities, offices, homes, festivals, sports games, farmer’s markets, airports, correctional institutions, food processors, farms, ranches, landscapers, and more.The actual feedstocks can also range from solids to liquids and slurries, some can be easier to handle than others and they might need different management strategies to make sure that they are contained and processed properly. Some feedstocks can be animal lagoon slurries, fruits from a grocery store, compostable eating utensils from a festival, or large amounts of produce from a grocery store. If you hire a waste hauling company or a composter, make sure they are taking them to facilities that are permitted properly to manage your specific materials. 

Reduce First, Divert Second

Before composting, strategize ways to reduce your amount of waste in the first place, then the primary strategy for a holistic waste management program is to identify areas where organic residuals can be prevented in the first place, especially with food residuals.

Reasons to reduce food scraps:

  • Bottom Line: improve your purchasing and preparation practices and reduce waste disposal.
  • Support Your Community: redistribute some of the 40 percent of the food that goes uneaten to feed people in need (NRCS 2012).
  • Carbon Footprint: food residuals make 21 percent of the waste placed in landfills and 18 percent of the total methane emissions are attributed to landfills (USEPA).

Donation of Excess Food

The "Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act" (Public Law 104-210) makes it easier for businesses to donate to food banks and food recovery programs. It protects donors from liability when donating to nonprofit organizations and protects donors from civil and criminal liability should the product donated in good faith later cause harm to the needy recipient.

You may also be eligible for tax deductions, please visit Harvard's Food Law and Policy Clinic to learn more about this.


For questions, please contact a staff member.