Emmet County Recycling, in partnership with local restaurants and florists, conducted a Food Scraps Pilot Project June-October 2015.  Our goal was to get experience collecting and composting food “waste” with an eye to developing full commercial and residential food waste collection services in the future. We are officially out of the pilot stage and our Commercial Food Scrap Collection is an ongoing program. We just finished our first full year of collection, and making it through our first winter was a huge success.

A couple of quick statistics suggest why wasted food is gaining the spotlight nationally:

  • 30-40% of the food grown in the United States is wasted.  Only a tiny portion of this is the inevitable inedible trimmings–bones, citrus peels, lettuce stubs and the like. Good food is lost every step of the way from farm to fork: on the farm, in transport, in processing, at retail, in restaurants, and at home.
  • Food “waste” is 21% of the material going into landfills in the United States. In fact food is the largest component of discards by weight.


In order to complete the loop, the food scraps are combined with yard waste to make compost at Emmet County’s facility. This compost, called “black gold” by a local landscaper, is independently tested for quality and can be purchased at 7363 Pleasantview Rd, Harbor Springs Michigan.


The Bigger Picture

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there are six methods of addressing wasted food, as shown in the pyramid above.  There are lots of great resources on the web if you’d like to learn what you can do fd_recovery_hierarchy_lgat home.






Participant Recognition Sign



These signs were provided to participating businesses to let their customers know they were part of the pilot.


Mariah Ginop and A.J. Hawkins of Stafford's H.O. Rose Room collect food scraps for composting as part of the pilot project.

Mariah Ginop and A.J. Hawkins of Stafford’s H.O. Rose Room collect food scraps for composting as part of the pilot project.

Participating Restaurants and Florists:

Beard’s Brewery
City Park Grill
Emmet County Recycling Drop-off Center
Emmet County Building
Emmet County Planning & Zoning
The Friendship Center & Council on Aging
Gurney’s Bottle Shop
The Grain Train
The Grain Train Market Cafe
Harbor Springs Farmer’s Market
Harbor Springs IGA
Harbor Watch Condos
Iron Horse Cafe at North Central Michigan College
Julienne Tomatoes
LTBB Gov’t Center & Natural Resources Dept.
Manna Food Project
McLaren NM
Monarch Garden and Floral Design
My Sister’s Bake Shop
The New York Restaurant
Odawa Casino
Palette Bistro
Petoskey Bay View Country Club
Petoskey Children’s Nature Preschool
Petoskey Farmer’s Market
Pontius Flower Shop
Roast and Toast
Stafford’s Bay View Inn
Stafford’s Perry Hotel
Stafford’s Pier
Tap 30
The Back Lot
Tom’s Mom’s Cookies

Resources for Participating Restaurants

Be in Touch!

We are eager to hear from participating restaurants and florists about your experience separating your food scraps for composting!  Whether compliments, observations, concerns or criticisms, please contact us anytime at:

Recycle@EmmetCounty.org or 231-348-0640.

Need more signs, labels, handouts, etc?  Here are full-color PDFs:

How To Checklist

Yes No Sign 11×17

Yes No List 8.5×11

Food Scraps for Composting Only 8.5×5.5