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In Fall 2017, the IRC began to implement a pilot composting program, made possible by a grant from the Closed Loop Foundation, with the generous support of the Walmart Foundation, in Indianapolis as part of our mission to further food recovery in the state of Indiana. The IRC will use the funds to build up the collection infrastructure and economies of scale for food waste recovery through the implementation of the Commercial Food Composting Program in Indianapolis. The Closed Loop Foundation’s announcement, published in Recycling Today, can be found here.

Why Compost Food Waste?

  • Saves Landfill Space: Food waste consumes 21% of landfill volume and a huge portion of a commercial food generator’s waste stream.
  • Green House Gas Abatement: As food waste decomposes in landfills it produces methane, a Green House Gas with nearly 60x the warming power of Carbon Dioxide.
  • Promotes Healthy Soil: Composting closes the loop by keeping nutrient-rich soil cycling through an ecosystem and creates a valuable commodity out of would-be-waste. 
  • Supports Jobs: Investing in a composting infrastructure in Indiana supports and expands green jobs in the community.
  • ReFED determined that utilizing the existing centralized composting infrastructure has a national diversion potential of 5037 tons of food waste, an economic value of $4 per ton, and 2605K tons GHG reduction, and supports 9,000 jobs (ReFED, 2017).

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Source:, 2017.

Targeted Participants

In an effort to reach economies of scale, the program is aimed at large commercial generators of food waste, such as:

  • universities
  • museums
  • wholesale food distributors
  • grocers/markets
  • cafeterias
  • hospitals
  • hunger-relief organizations

Long-term,  the goal is to build an infrastructure that makes it viable for more and smaller scale food waste generators to participate.  For now, we recommend that smaller quantity generators of food waste reach out to Earth Mama Compost, Green with Indy, or others for hauling services.


What will IRC Provide?

  • Onsite Training & Education for managers and employees
  • Supplies signage, window clings, interior and exterior bins and toters of various sizes, compostable bags if desired
  • Two-Phased Hauling Subsidy $125 subsidy of compost hauling costs for first 12 weeks and $62.50 subsidy for the second 12 weeks for a total of 6 months (approx.) of compost hauling subsidy.*  
  • Data Collection & Reporting – waste audit and data recording resources
  • Promotion, Networking & Acknowledgement of your business as a sustainable program partner via IRC media channels 

To demonstrate the commitment to continue composting beyond the grant term of 1 year, participants in the Commercial Food Composting Program must sign a non-binding service agreement with Rays Trash and Recycling and Memorandum of Understanding with the Indiana Recycling Coalition.


Get Involved

Interested entities should contact Contracted Project Lead, Julie L. Rhodes or IRC Program Coordinator Emily Jackson for further details.  

We highly encourage all interested to attend Indiana Food Scrap Initiative (IFSI) meetings to make further connections.  Since October 2015, the IRC has been tackling food waste reduction in Indiana via IFSI, a multi-stakeholder driven group that addresses food waste recovery through education, strategic planning, network-building, and facilitating projects such as the Commercial Food Composting Program.  


Key Collaborators

This is a living list as the program evolves and more and more partners make formal commitments.  

Funder | Closed Loop Foundation with the generous support of the Walmart Foundation

Collaborators | IUPUI & Butler University

Hauler | Ray’s Trash & Recycling

Commercial Composter | GreenCycle of Indiana



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