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Brazilian restaurants turn waste back into food


Brazilian restaurants turn waste back into food
Sao Paulo

There’s not a lot of green in the urban jungle of Sao Paulo, but thanks to Fernanda Danelon, restaurants in the Brazilian mega-city are turning their waste back into food at innovative gardens tucked amid the skyscrapers. Danelon, a 43-year-old journalist by training, quit her day job two years ago to launch the Guandu Institute, which recycles restaurants’ food waste and helps them set up gardens to put all that compost to good use.

Cities in Brazil, the economic giant of Latin America, throw out more than 75 million tons of trash a year, according to the Brazilian Association of Public Sanitation Companies (ABRELPE). About half of it is organic waste, according to the Brazilian environment ministry. There are no municipal recycling or composting programs to reduce all that garbage, and triaging trash is a foreign concept to most Brazilians, reports AFP.

The country recycles about three percent of its waste, according to ABRELPE. To fill the void, Danelon decided to put her passion for composting and gardening to work on behalf of restaurants in her hometown. Her organization collects restaurants’ food waste at their doors, turns them into compost over the course of three to four months, and delivers the compost back to the restaurants to fertilize in-house gardens — which the institute also helps them set up and maintain.

She started with just one restaurant. Today, she has 17, and is in talks with 10 more. “At first, I collected the trash myself in my car,” Danelon said with a laugh as she turned over dirt with a shovel in the leafy court-yard of her house in Sao Paulo. “But now we’ve grown, and today we recycle 30 to 40 tons of organic waste per month.” Her partners include French restaurant Le Bilboquet, in the chic downtown neighborhood of Jardins.

Source : Free Press Journal