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Greener meals at Maid-Rite with local company GreenRU

December 11, 2012
The Daily Freeman Journal

When it comes to good, classic Midwest quick casual food, not much can beat a Maid-Rite sandwich. The chain was innovative in the restaurant industry, developing some of the first drive ups/walk-up windows. It isn't surprising that they were one of the first restaurants to work with diverting their organics from landfills. With the help of fellow Iowa native companies headquartered in Blairsburg, IA, GreenRU and Chamness Technology, Inc., Maid-Rite is becoming a more sustainable company.

The company diverts its organic waste through GreenRU and Chamness Technology, Inc. at its North Park location in Des Moines. While the whole chain has a dedication to sustainability, this location has taken the next step in becoming a green company. Maid-Rite not only composts food waste, but they're also using compostable dinnerware, from plates to their cups and straws, so they aren't sending any plastic dinnerware to the landfill.

"Through my childhood my mother always composted, so I knew you could take food and make fertilizer with [food waste]," said Tania Burt, Executive Vice President of Maid-Rite. "Governor Branstad told me that GreenRU existed and I thought why throw food and paper into a landfill when I can turn it into fertilizer with a few simple steps?"

Burt said that switching to composting caused Maid-Rite to comb from top to bottom of the company to make the entire operation more sustainable. The company has banned Styrofoam and purchases only earth compostable to go dinnerware at all of their locations. They have also switched to porcelain and glass dishes for dining inside of the restaurant, rather than using disposable products, and switched their cleaning products to earth friendly cleaning products.

Not only did organics diversion cause Maid-Rite to "green" their operations, but it also opened Burt's eyes to food waste.

"Every restaurant should be doing this," Burt said. "The fact is, it's extremely simple, it's a matter of taking the effort to segregate waste and put it in the GreenRU container rather than the one going to the landfill. It isn't more expensive because waste that would have been going to the landfill isn't, so we're sending less there and paying less for landfill services."

Burt said she is working to switch more locations to GreenRU services, but said that many times landlords don't understand organics recycling pickup services are simple.

Once organic waste is collected, GreenRU transports it to a state-certified composting facility; Maid-Rite's organics currently go to a facility owned by Chamness Technology. At the facility, the waste is mixed with other organic materials and converted to compost, a nutrient-rich soil-like product with a wide variety of uses. The utilization of compost reduces the use of chemical fertilizers and provides an organic soil amendment for local agriculture.

GreenRU is a turn-key organic waste recycler that works with restaurants, hospitals, cafeterias, supermarkets, and many other retail locations to create custom organic waste diversion programs. GreenRU provide waste audits, specialized organics containers, custom signage, training, and pickup services. For further information, contact GreenRU at 855-RU-VERDE.



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