Make composting, proper recycling and waste disposal procedures in restaurants/hotels mandatory.
I work in one of the busiest restaurants in downtown Vancouver, and the amount of food alone we throw away daily makes sick.
I think that there are enough chain restaurants in the city that if even one caught on, it would create a demand for composting as a service and potentially lead others to do the same.
Hotels and grocery stores are other ways the idea could expand.
And the new fertilizer could be given to farmers for use in the area.
Note: Claudine Santos-Smith's idea "Recycling Restaurant/Hospitality Organic Waste" has been merged with this one.
Organic waste makes up the largest amount of waste in restaurants. There exist in Vancouver, companies that specialize in food waste diversion; while the domestic food waste programs are good, in order to be a truly green city, businesses must also change their MO. These programs offer charged pick up on eligible waste (paper towels, biodegradeable packaging, organic waste) and include clean container, carboard and paper recycling pick up for free.
There are a plethora of restaurants within Vancouver, however, I feel that the primary reason restaurants and larger, institutional-sized kitchens have not made the move is due to a lack of education. Totes lined with a PLA compostable bio bag are available so it's not messy; the program alleviates so much waste, that, in the end, a busy restaurant would generate a total of 1 or 2 garbage bags at the end of a week as opposed to the 35 - 40 it normally would. However, the city would need to educate business owners and operators on the ease and eventual financial benefits that this would have for their business.
Claudia is right that this won't happen without getting the attention of the business owners. Like the rest of us, they are set in their ways. Plus, for businesses time is money so they are going be more resistant to change. How do we facilitate the shift? Frances Bula brought back a photo published in THe SUn of a city employee in San Francisco standing in restaurants with a clip board, talking to a skeptical restaurant owner. Might make more sense for the City to facilitate, rather than deliver education services with their own employees. Maybe the City could facilitate an education program where a non-profit organization with all the facts would reach local food service businesses through BIAs. The non-profit would have a corps of outreach workers, armed with a basic brochure and a list of companies providing organics collection service. This could be coordinated through existing initiatives like the Green Table Network.