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Alta Food Waste No More

By Adam Fehr 02-24-2019

Alta Ski Area is excited to announce a new food waste compost pilot project, separating food waste from landfill garbage in dining areas and kitchens

How it works:

The effort will start somewhat simply, with employees and guests depositing uneaten food scraps and compostable foodservice items into five-gallon buckets. So, when you've eaten as much Vegetarian Chili as possible, simply throw last few bites of chili and the compostable bowl into a nearby compost bucket.

Kitchen staff will also utilize the food waste program, allowing for the composting of ALL food waste---including hot dogs, chili, chicken bones, freezer-burned steaks, butter, and other food prep waste.

Once the buckets are full of food waste, restaurant staff will haul the waste down the mountain to our designated staging area. A truck will then take the food waste to the North Salt Lake food waste digester at the Wasatch Resource Recovery (WRR).

The food will then be shredded, liquified, separated and composted. Alta Ski Area will work with the WRR to feed and start growing bacteria that assist with the composting process. Once all the bacteria have grown, then the WRR can go to full operation and start bringing in greater volumes of food waste.

Waste No More

After all the food waste is broken down into either a solid, liquid or gas, the materials start a whole new life cycle. The solids become nutrient-rich, carbon-based fertilizer used to grow crops. The liquids are sanitized through a system similar to a sewer treatment plant. Gasses are collected and converted intto energy.

Why the Effort?

According to the WRR:

“organic waste makes up nearly 30% of our landfills, which, if diverted, can result in considerable cost savings for businesses, institutions and service providers.”

Alta Ski Area's goal is to reduce landfill waste by 75%, while also reducing our overall carbon footprint and landfill expenses. Once the project is fully operational, the effort could help the ski area reach its carbon reduction goals while saving money.

How You Can Help

In order for the food waste program to be successful, we'll need the help of our fellow Alta skiers. When dining at Alta, please consider potential food waste upon ordering. The “bucket o’ fries” may sound like the perfect value for a midday snack, but the "large fry" may be a more realistic portion size. If you don't plan on eating the lettuce, tomato and onion on your burger, ask the staff to save the veggies for the next guest.

Once you have had enough to eat, take the time to separate your food waste, recyclables, and true landfill items (like dirty napkins and food wrappers). When others see you take the time to sort your garbage, they will follow your example and take the time to separate their waste. It's like putting your windshield wipers up on a storm day, it doesn't take long until everyone's doing it.

Thank You!

This program would not have been possible without Wasatch Resource Recovery and the hard work of Etienne Arent, last season's Alta Environmental Center intern from the University of Utah.