Hunt Briggs

Hunt Briggs

Speaker | RRS

Ann Arbor, MI |

Hunt Briggs is a senior consultant at RRS, bringing over 16 years of experience focused on environment, sustainability, and the Circular Economy. Leading the firm’s organics practice, Hunt partners with brands and retailers in the private sector with a focus on  strategy related to packaging and organics, as well as design and implementation of recycling technologies including composting and anaerobic digestion. In the public sector, he works with states and municipalities to achieve ambitious diversion and climate goals. Areas of expertise include industrial ecology, packaging sustainability, food waste, biomaterials, and biodegradability. Hunt received a Master of Business Administration and a Master of Environmental Science in Sustainable Systems from the University of Michigan.

Session Code: F5

Track: Diversion and Collection

Session Name: Trends in Collecting Organics

Session Time: Thursday, Jan 26, 11:00 – 12:30 PM

Presentation Title: Will Implementation of Compostables Reduce Contamination and Capture More Food?

Presentation Description: As the foodservice industry pursues zero waste, operators are increasingly relying on certified compostable serviceware products to meet their goals. Composters receiving post-consumer loads from these venues understand that contamination, if not actively managed, will present serious problems. It will impact processing costs, finished product quality and value, and even restrict access to markets.  Venues rely on compostables to make the process of waste elimination simpler for users, which will boost the rate and quality of participation. All these benefits are aimed at delivering less food scraps to landfill and more to composters.

How does the use of compostables correlate to levels of food capture? What best practices will curb contamination? In 2022, a collaboration of partners launched “Compostable Chicago” to develop an approach that can answer these very questions. A fundamental project objective was to draw a stronger correlation between the implementation of compostable serviceware, rates of food capture, and levels of contamination. The Project Team collected operational information from four Chicago venues and conducted detailed waste characterizations on the materials streams from these venues, then overlaid the findings with details related to best practices. After developing a framework for the evaluation, the Project Team examined the resulting patterns and relationships. Additionally, a guide was prepared to serve as a replicable model for others who wish to contribute to the longer-term objective of building an abundant repository of data from other venues that can strengthen our understanding of the correlations.
In this session, presenters will walk participants through the project context and rationale, methodology, key findings and aims for the future.