Georgia: Affairs to Remember Caterers

Location(s): 
Atlanta, GA
Summary: 

Attractive compostable boxed lunch: Picture courtesy of Zero Waste ZonesAttractive compostable boxed lunch: Picture courtesy of Zero Waste ZonesAffairs to Remember (ATR) donates their spent grease for biodiesel production, uses organic ingredients, and delivers unused prepared food to food banks. They also provide completely compostable boxed meals and collect organic materials for composting throughout their process - from prep through service at events. Since they started composting in 2009, they have diverted 83% of their overall discards from landfills.

Products and Brands Composted:
- Bamboo Studio’s bamboo sheath dinnerware (these can also be reused if properly washed and hand dried immediately)
- Compostable boxes
- Flatware wrapped in compostable plastic

Collection System: 

The staff at ATR was completely on board with making the changes to include composting in their waste management and is excited and proud to be a greener company. ATR uses a three bin system for collecting compostable materials. Their bins are blue for recycling, gray for landfill, and black for compost. When preparing meals, bus bins are kept on the prep tables for easy access and emptied into the larger black tote bins.

They also set up a three bin system at their catered events. The compostable materials are taken back to their office in large black toters and sent to the composter using their hauler, Closed Loop Organics. Collection comes 3 times a week.

The 17% of material headed to the landfill includes the massive amounts of plastic packaging that is used for shipping items to their kitchen, which cannot be recycled or composted.

Compost Process: 

The compostable materials are collected and processed by Closed Loop Recycling.

Size of Operation: 

Picture courtesy of Zero Waste ZonesPicture courtesy of Zero Waste ZonesAffairs to Remember caters about 1100 events per year that range from 10 people for one meal to three-day events of 6,300 people. From 2009 to December 2011, they recovered 200 tons of recyclable and compostable material. They estimate recovering 500 tons (or half a million pounds) of recyclable and compostable materials by 2015. On an average monthly basis, about 19,000 pounds of material is generated. Of that, 14,000 pounds is diverted from the landfill.

Dollars and Sense:
By switching to compostable, they have saved $135 per month.

Challenges: 

The greatest challenge was trying to find compostable plastic sleeves for the flatware. Other than that the whole process was fairly smooth since the staff was very agreeable to making the changes to accommodate composting.

Tips for Replication: 

“To start somewhere, just get started and build on that one thing to get the ball rolling and evolve the program.” – Travis Taylor

Affairs to Remember started using compostable products by giving up polystyrene.

Contact: 

Travis S. Taylor
Communications Manager
(404) 872-7859 x22
travis@affairs.com