Cole Rosengren, senior editor for Waste Dive, shared an article he wrote a couple of years ago for ProjectEarth.us. It is even more relevant today. Rosengren is a garbage enthusiast who lives in Somerville, MA. He covers solid waste issues issues nationwide. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Addicted to trash: How my years in catering made me give a damn about waste
All I wanted to do at my sister’s wedding last fall was go look through the trash.
I had a great time, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what was happening back in the kitchen. After we sent the newlyweds off with sparklers in the parking lot I ditched my jacket, rolled up my sleeves, put on a pair of gloves and dug in.
The caterers had billed themselves as “sustainable,” so I was surprised to see their trashcan overflowing with plenty of things that weren’t trash. The first tip was a brand new white kitchen towel. Knowing that my dad—a painting contractor—always needs rags, I set it aside to wash for reuse. Then I found another. And another. They just kept coming.
As family and friends periodically came to see what I was doing their looks evolved from confusion to a bit of shock. Within a few minutes of sorting I pulled out more than two dozen new towels, stacks of compostable dishware and cutlery, multiple pieces of cardboard, aluminum foil, a few bottles, and a weird amount of energy drink cans for such a small crew. This was from one kitchen trash can at a simple buffet wedding for less than 40 people.
The only reason I knew it would be worthwhile to get up to my elbows in trash was that as a sanitation captain for one of the largest catering companies in New York I had seen so much worse.