All That Food You Threw Out? Disney Is Using It!

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disney world food waste compost

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Disney World’s commitment to going green has become more evident in the last few years. From banning straws and excessive plastic lids to serving food banks with over-prepped meals, the good deeds and green goings are measurable. As a part of their commitment to “zero waste” to landfills by 2030 (a mere 8 years from now), your thrown-away food scraps are now becoming compost! 

Making the Most of Disney Compost

restaurantosaurus animal kingdom compost food waste composting trash
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Disney is committed to conserving our earth’s resources, and the next phase of this practice is to compost food waste. As mother nature already does this with fruits, nuts, veggies, and more, the nutrients are returned to the ground to create nutrient-rich soil for the next generation of plants. But we humans haven’t been so good with the matter.

The amount of food waste in our trash adds up to about 30% of what we throw away. That’s a lot! From food scraps to landscape scraps, these materials could easily decompose into something new if they weren’t trapped in bags creating methane or suffocating in landfills (compost needs air!).

restaurantosaurus animal kingdom cast members
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

The team at Restaurantosaurus has been testing a new program with composting food waste, and it’s been so successful! Disney launched a “nearly 100% compostable dining pilot last year at Restaurantosaurus at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Almost everything you receive with your order – such as plates, cups, cutlery, and of course, food items – is compostable!”

After dining at this family-friendly quick service location, Guests were invited to dispose of their trash, but it’s only slightly more involved than dumping everything in one go. At the end of the meal, Guests see three bins: composting, recycling, and trash. The compostable items are then collected and taken to an off-site commercial composting facility for processing. Disney Cast Members have also been studying the decomposition of food waste and decomposable items in outdoor studies to see how the process plays out. Science is awesome!

Cast members sorting items during a waste composition study
CMs Studying at the Compost Center Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Before you get too excited about the compost program, know that Disney tells us this one restaurant’s process is a pilot program. Cast Members and scientists are “testing and adjusting to make sure we get the most compostable and recyclable items and reduce contamination. Contamination happens when incorrect items are placed in the compost bin, recycling bin, or even the trash bin, and can disrupt the composting or recycling process. That’s why our top priority is to make sure it is easy for our Guests to sort items correctly and join us in protecting the environment.”

As the program has been progressing, the compost is not being wasted! New soil with incredible recycled nutrients is being placed in the landscaping and flower beds right in front of Restaurantosaurus. You can also take the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to see the Pollinator Garden, which is hosting this compost soil.  New signs alert observant Guests to the pilot program.

food waste turns to compost at disney world
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

And that’s not all! Disneyland Resort is also taking part in the “zero waste” program by testing efforts at the Circle D Ranch. The horse barn of Disneyland Resort has been labeled a zero-waste facility for several years, “most recently earning its platinum certification through the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council.” Circle D achieves this status by taking advantage of local composting programs. By diverting materials like hay and manure from landfills, they reduce trash volume and allow nature to work its magic.

Disney’s “zero waste to landfill” goal will continue to include benchmarks for emissions, water, construction and other consumer products. We’re eager to see what comes about in the next 8 years and so proud of our favorite company for working hard for our planet!

What other conservation measures would you like to see from Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort? Leave us a comment below!

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