At the Quicks Hole Taqueria this summer, we are attempting to dramatically reduce our waste stream with a new Zero Waste plan to go “Eco Cape Cod.” Step one was partnering with a local company called “Compost With Me.” Led by Mary Ryther, this composting pick up service is offered in Falmouth for restaurants and businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
Did you know about 75% of restaurant waste is food scraps? Me neither. Did you know that when landfill food decomposes it creates methane gas, and in the US it is estimated that landfills are the third largest creator of this harmful methane? Enter the compost system — when food waste is isolated and oxygenated properly, the decaying process becomes aerobic and produces less methane. Yeah, I didn’t really get that before either.
We visited Compost with Me‘s West Falmouth farm last week, so the whole Quicks Hole staff could see how the system works, and why we are bothering to process our trash in this new way. It was a gorgeous day, and we all got up early to enjoy this field trip to the Bunker Tree Farm that has been in Mary’s family since the 1950’s. Located on the edge of Crocker Pond, right next door to the preserved land called Bourne Farm, this is a spectacular spot.
Mary has immersed herself in both the art and science of proper composting, and we had fun learning about her systems. We also got a chance to look out over the pond, see where the bike path crosses her property, and enjoy a delicious breakfast repast looking out over the farm.
Back at the Taqueria, we have invested in compostable products (straws, to go cups, cutlery and more) so that everything but our dishes can go into the compost. We now have just two slots — compost and recycling. We have cut down on our need to use the dumpster dramatically, just the plastic packaging and other odds and ends from shipping.
There have been a few glitches — for example, some dishes and silverware get thrown away, but the great news is that Mary brings them back! And the only other annoyance? The Oyster Crackers that go atop our classic Quahog Chowder are packaged in plastic bags. This is literally the only item in our trash stream that does not break down, so Mary is pulling them out by hand. We are talking about trying to get to the manufacturer to see if we can influence them into packaging with compost-able bags for eco-friendly restaurants like ours. How cool would that be?!
None of this is cheap — for now, all of the compost-able stuff costs at least 2x the cheap plastic alternatives. But we feel we are doing what is right, and we hope our customers agree. Thanks for reading all about our zero trash project, going Eco Cape Cod one day at a time.
Quicks Hole Taqueria is located at 6 Luscombe Ave in Woods Hole, and is open seven days a week in season with our famous lobster tacos, wicked fresh salads, burritos and more.