The next time you don’t finish your dinner at Lambert Airport, your leftovers might not go to waste, thanks to a new pilot food waste recycling program.
The program converts food leftovers from several restaurants into high-grade agricultural compost for use on farms and gardens.
Lambert is partnering with a local food and beverage concession company, HMSHOST, to implement the three-month pilot program, which was funded by a grant from the St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District (SWMD_ and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR.)
“The sheer number of airport users who will see food waste composting in action will also have a big impact on raising awareness of recycling,” said David Berger, Executive Director for SWMD. “We’re happy to see the Airport serve as a model for other institutions.”
Four Lambert restaurants will participate, including Beers of the World- Concourse A; Pasta House-Terminal 1; Brioche Dorée/HMSHost production kitchen-Terminal 1; and Chili’s Too- Terminal 2.
The goal is to divert as much food waste from landfill facilities as possible, the airport said in a press release. Pre-consumer waste and customer leftovers will be collected by Blue Sky Recycling and processed by St. Louis Composting, and the compost will be sold as soil additives for farms and gardens.
The grant will help to cover initial startup costs for employee training and collection equipment.
“HMSHost has a sustainability program that was diverting some waste from landfills,” said Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, Lambert Director. “This program takes recycling to a greater level. We anticipate positive results that will allow us to expand food waste recycling at the Airport beyond the pilot program.”