Simplifying Food Waste Collection

Parkhurst Dining is responsible for providing the food service at Alcoa’s corporate campus in New Kensington, PA.  The café that we operate was recently renovated and now has a new recycling and waste collection program.  Parkhurst has assisted over 20 locations with implementing composting programs so naturally we were eager to assist with the conversion and education of the process at Alcoa.

As some might not expect, implementing a composting program is not an easy task.  We began discussing the idea in November of 2013 and were finally able to roll it out on October 13, 2014.  It took some time, but the effort was well worth it. By far, Alcoa’s food waste collection process is one of the best executed programs that I’ve been involved with.  To prepare, Alcoa and Parkhurst worked together to make some significant changes:

  1. Converted to all compostable cutlery, plates, clamshells and napkins
  2. Removed individually packaged condiments and converted to bulk dispensing for both condiments and dressings
  3. Installed shadow boxes that show real examples of items that can be put into each of the compost, recycle and landfill bins (see below)
  4. For the first 2 days of meal service, two team members were positioned in the waste collection room and assisted Alcoa employees by showing them which items were to go in each bin


Although every step is important, we found that having team members available to educate employees was key.

With the help of a devoted team member and Parkhurst’s support, the program is thriving and continues to build awareness on the importance of proper recycling and composting. We continue to learn and work with all our locations so we can strengthen our practices on properly executing food waste collection. We wouldn’t be as successful if we didn’t have the support of our clients like Alcoa. Our shared passion for environmental awareness makes initiatives like this one a reality.  It was truly a pleasure working with Alcoa and being involved in such a successful roll out.

That’s all for now – Jamie Moore