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Circular Economy

Scaling Composting Infrastructure in North America

September 10, 2020

What will it take to build robust composting infrastructure at scale in the United States?

Composting should be a win-win. In theory, corporations and cities could divert food waste from landfills and create a valuable agricultural product in the process. Yet examples of large-scale composting infrastructure are hard to find in the United States. According to the most recent EPA data, less than 10 percent of food waste finds its way into composting systems. Contamination of waste streams, haulage costs and “compostable” materials that don’t actually biodegrade are all part of the problem. Meet the entrepreneurs, city officials and corporate leaders who are turning things around. Speakers share details of successful composting businesses, systems for scaling up food waste collection and strategies for diverting corporate food waste into composting systems.


  • Alexa Kielty, Residential Zero Waste and Special Projects Assistant, San Francisco Department of the Environment
  • Kevin Quandt, Vice President of Supply Chain & Sustainability, sweetgreen
  • Jim Giles, Food and Carbon Analyst, GreenBiz Group