Separating Streams

Stewarding and Engineering Purchasing and Receiving Icon General Managers

After you decide how to separate your waste stream, the next step is adding additional bins to capture food waste.

It is important to visually designate, using different colors, the difference between bins capturing food waste, landfill or other recyclable waste. Your waste hauler(s) and/or municipality may have bin requirements or may distribute bins for use in your operation.

With new bins, be sure to:

  • Communicate changes in waste management strategy to all staff before they occur.
  • Place food waste bins near where the waste is being created.
  • Keep them in the same place
  • Ensure new bins do not disrupt the existing flow of operations.

Implementing these principles may require assessment of other streams and perhaps downsizing, replacing, or removing bins that are no longer needed.

Removing Unnecessary Bins

Banquet staff noticed that adding a new bin to capture the food waste at the end of buffet service significantly decreased and almost eliminated their landfill waste. This prompted staff to alert management to the unnecessary need for this second bin in that location.

Leadership removed the bin and routed what landfill waste did remain to the dishwashing area. Removing this bin not only created more space, but it also showed staff and leadership how much food waste banquets generate prompting them to rethink service

Bin Procurement Principles

It should fit seamlessly into your operation and can be easily handled by staff when full.

Must be compostable.


Should be bright and/or familiar to your staff as collecting food waste or organics. GREEN bins are the industry standard for food waste.

Use labels and signs to indicate bins are for organics.

Overcoming Common Challenges

Placement Solutions

  • Replace existing bins or add a new colored bin (green or yellow) in key waste generation points including the kitchen and dishwashing areas to capture organic materials
  • Mark the floor or wall with colored tape or signage so after the bins are emptied they are returned to their appropriate location

Contamination Solutions

  • Use magnetic bin tops to catch silverware
  • When you notice contamination discuss with the staff immediately and with positive messaging to reinforce the intended behavior
  • When you notice staff making an extra effort to reduce or divert food waste, positively reinforce