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In May 2017, the IRC was awarded a grant from the Closed Loop Foundation to implement a pilot composting program 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 Money: Simply evaluating food waste can result in waste reduction and further diversion of food waste from trash means fewer dumpster pulls or the ability to lease a smaller trash container.
  • 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 Entities

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

  • 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 both more and smaller scale food waste generators to participate.  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 the IRC Provide?

  • Training & Education for managers and employees on-site, compost site tour
  • Supplies – tailored to your business, may include signage, window clings, interior and exterior bins and toters of various sizes, compostable bags
  • Cost Abatement – 100% coverage of incremental waste management costs in first 3 months, 50% after 3 months
  • Data Collection & Reporting – waste audit and data recording resources
  • Promotion, Networking & Acknowledgement of your business as a sustainable program partner via IRC media outlets and promotional materials

Get Involved

Interested entities should contact Contracted Project Lead, Julie L. Rhodes and IRC Staff Lead Emily Jackson for further details.  We encourage all those interested to attend Indiana Food Scrap Initiative (IFSI) meetings.  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.  


Program Partners To Date

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


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