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King County Solid Waste Division has awarded seven commercial food waste grants for projects that aim to reduce edible and/or non-edible food waste generated by the commercial sector (non-residential) within King County (excluding Seattle).

Project successes will support King County goals to

  • increase the countywide recycling rate from 53 percent to 70 percent by 2020 (The 2017 King County Strategic Climate Action Plan).
  • extend the life of the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill.
  • Achieve Zero Waste of Resources by 2030.

A similar grant program will be rolled out in the second quarter of 2019. Details about applying for this program will be posted on this website when finalized.


Commercial food waste grants

Anaerobic digester digestate field testing

Grant recipient: Impact Bioenergy
Grant amount: $29,982
Grant period: June 2016 – July 15, 2018

This project will demonstrate the diversion of small business organics from the solid waste system and conversion of that resource into renewable energy and liquid soil amendment for application on agricultural land.

The specific focus of this project is to document the commercial value of anaerobically digested food waste and how it can be used beneficially within a community, avoiding trucking, export from the county, and the associated greenhouse gas emissions and loss of soil carbon.  The approach for this project is to fully integrate zero waste, renewable energy, soil tilth, food production, diversity and support of people that have less equity and social influence in our community.

Project tracking will include conclusions about increases in jobs, retaining money in King County by building a circular economy, reducing truck use, traffic congestion, and diesel emissions in King County.

Commercial food waste will be collected from Seattle Tilth operations, Taylor Farms (Kent), Schilling Cider (Auburn), and the Auburn Food Bank. Liquid soil amendment will be used at Seattle Tilth’s Red Barn Ranch Farm Incubator.

Commercial food waste outreach project

Grant recipient: City of Auburn
Grant amount: $29,990
Grant period: August 2016 – July 15, 2018

The goal of this project is to increase diversion of food waste from moderate to large food generating businesses in the city to local composting facilities and/or organizations that will provide food for low income residents in Auburn.

The city will encourage them to enhance existing food waste prevention, donation or composting programs or start a new program by offering to provide education and training about best practices for waste prevention, composting food waste and/or donation of edible food products. Businesses contacted will include the Auburn School District kitchen departments, restaurants, food manufacturers and distributors, grocery stores and non-profit food donation locations in the city.

Increasing food waste diversion in diverse communities

Grant Recipient: Cedar Grove Composting, Inc.
Grant amount: $30,000
Grant period: June 2016 – July 15, 2018

This project will increase diversion of commercial food waste from landfill disposal by focusing on restaurants and farmer’s markets in economically and culturally diverse cities in suburban King County.

Partnerships will be formed with 10 restaurants, with a preference for those whose owners are people of color, foreign born and/or whose primary language is not English, to conduct restaurant waste audits and implement customized food waste recycling programs. The goal is to divert of a minimum of 70 percent of the waste stream for selected restaurants.

The project will also work with the Burien Farmer’s Market and Renton Farmer’s Market to provide signage to market vendors and training on best practices for farmer’s market vendor composting. This element will help establish a firm diversion infrastructure that puts each market vendor in the best position to maximize food waste diversion.

Vashon island distributed bioenergy feasibility & possible demonstration

Grant recipient: Impact Bioenergy
Grant amount: $30,057
Grant period: June 2016 – July 15, 2018

This project will 1) create and utilize a software tool to facilitate the diversion of edible and inedible food waste from disposal, 2) conduct a feedstock assessment, and 3) conduct a feasibility study to establish feasibility, gather requirements and design a community-digester operating system for Vashon Island, which can also serve as a template for others.

The project provides a mechanism for Vashon Island to develop Community Supported Biocycling® (CSB®)—an alternative, locally based economic model of production and distribution. CSB is designed to close the loop on the Community Supported Agriculture movement by integrating co-products and services into the hyperlocal food system, such as low-carbon fuel vehicle sharing and a liquid organic fertilizer co-product of the food waste anaerobic digestion process.

Commercial Food Rescue Program

Grant recipient: City of Federal Way
Grant amount: $24,500
Grant period: February 2018 - December 2018

The goals of this project are to: 1) increase diversion of food waste generated by food service establishments from the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill by supporting new food rescue and composting programs, and 2) increase edible food donations to hunger-relief organizations.

The city will work with food services establishments, including restaurants, grocery stores, school districts and food distributors to support at least 15 new food diversion/food rescue or composting programs with the goal of diverting at least 10 tons of edible food from the landfill. The city will also work with local hunger-relief organizations to build their capacity to accept edible food donations.

An outreach and education campaign will be developed for food service establishments, and they will be provided with reusable containers to store edible food for collection or to start composting programs. Hunger-relief organizations will receive containers and other durable supplies to transport and store edible food, as well as help recruiting additional volunteers to pick up and serve donated food.

Unsold Food Reduction Alerting Program

Grant recipient: Divert
Grant amount: $40,000
Grant period: April 2018 - December 2018

The goal of Divert's Unsold Food Reduction Alerting program, in partnership with Food Lifeline (, is to measure and reduce wasted food generated by select stores within King County, while increasing food donation levels in support of Food Lifeline's Grocery Rescue program. This program will leverage Divert's existing technology and processes to: 1) identify and quantify volumes and types of food that go unsold, and 2) identify the likely root causes of food waste.

The program will alert stores of potential wasted food reduction opportunities that can be investigated and addressed quickly. In addition, Divert will develop the ability to integrate with Food LifeLine to incorporate their specific food donation needs, based on their food pantry partners' priorities

Edible Food Recovery and Redistribution Program

Grant recipient: Operation Sack Lunch (OSL)
Grant amount: $100,000
Grant period: February 2018 - December 2018

The goal of this program is to add 26 new commercial food generators as donors and rescue and redistribute 300,000 pounds from those generators that would otherwise be slated for the waste stream in 2018. To support this goal, grant funding for this program will provide for additional drivers and the development of a software application.

This program will increase diversion of commercial food waste from landfill disposal by identifying commercial generators of edible food as new food donors. Generators may include, but are not limited to, restaurants, grocery stores, school districts and food distributors. Food rescue data and reports via a software app will identify new donors and track pounds of food recovered from the waste steam via donations. Recovered edible food that was otherwise slated for the waste stream will be diverted for used in the emergency meal system.

The app is a matching tool that has the ability to quantify pounds of food saved from the waste stream by location, allowing OSL to clearly identify donors and to accurately calculate the pounds of food recovered. The success of this app will allow OSL's FIM program to expand its food recovery capacity into areas of King County that it has not yet reached.

The app will be advertised via social and conventional media as a helpful tool to connect donors with food that is appropriate for meal programs to OSL. The food will be processed through OSL's program staff and offered to other hunger relief organizations, creating a web of connections between donors and emergency meal programs throughout King County.


Karen May

Contact Us

 Call: 206-477-4466

TTY Relay: 711

Fax: 206-296-0197

King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal