Scott Leamy, an Organix
Recycling employee, talks last month with visitor Tom
Leamy at the local Organix operation in Oconomowoc.
OCONOMOWOC — Americans throw away a lot of food.
Between 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. food supply is
wasted, according to the USDA. And about 95 percent of
what is thrown away ends up in landfills or combustion
facilities, according to the EPA website.
2015, the two government agencies called for a 50
percent reduction in wasted food supply by 2030, the
nation’s first food loss waste goal, the USDA website
is an issue one local business is working on, keeping
food out of the landfills through a circular approach of
sending it back to area farms.
round up outdated produce, bakery, and dairy items and
turn that into cattle feed,” said Tom Draper, manager of
the Oconomowoc location of Organix Recycling. “All of
that stuff in the landfill causes a lot of methane gas.”
Organix, a Mokena, Ill.-based company, has locations
throughout the U.S. and bills itself as the largest
collector of food recyclables nationwide. A little over
a year ago, Organix opened locally at 200 Chaffee Road
and now has a contract with Roundy’s.
Roundy’s does not publicly release contract terms, but
the general feedback regarding the program has been
positive as it involves keeping food out of the
landfill, said James Hyland, vice president of
communications and public affairs for Roundy’s
Supermarkets, Inc. About 17,000 tons of food have been
moved through the program to date, wrote Hyland in an
program fits well with our sustainability initiatives,
particularly with Kroger’s Zero Hunger/Zero Waste
Imitative,” Hyland wrote.
Locally, Organix has a crew of four employees and is
working with a handful of area farms.
Organix picks up loads at Roundy’s at least six days a
week, said Scott Leamy, an employee with Organix.
load of food is inspected to make sure it is free of any
garbage or meat, and anything that is contaminated is
sent to a composite site or to the farm of one of the
recycling business’s clients, where a digester is used.
Draper said he would like to see the local Organix
operation grow by partnering with other grocery chains
and bakeries in the area.
some locations where Organix is operating, there is
enough business to fill truckloads of food for
processing, he said.
“Here we have big totes and load them onto trailers to
go to the farms,” said Draper, who said the feed is
nutritious for cattle and can be a means for cattle
farmers to save money on corn prices.
Nationwide, Organix diverts over 7 million pounds of
organic waste from landfills from 6,000 supermarkets
each week, according to the business’s website.
have a great understanding of the product mixture,
seasonal fluctuations, and operational obstacles that
are unique to organic recycling,” the site says.
Draper said he hopes to see the momentum Organix has had
nationwide reflected locally, which started in 2009 and
today operates in 34 states and Puerto Rico.
“It’s pretty impressive, that kind of growth,” he said.
“Word’s going to get out. It’s just a good thing.
“It’s making a big difference in communities.”