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King County Solid Waste Division has awarded four 2016 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.


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 grants



  • Baseline data established
  • Permits obtained
  • Digester fabricated
  • Commercial food waste collection and processing begin
  • 20,750 pounds of commercial food waste diverted (estimate)
  • Agricultural growth trials begin
  • Collecting and processing commercial food waste  continues
  • Regular system service, monitoring and reporting

2017 and 2018

  • Collecting and processing commercial food waste continues
  • Agricultural growth trials continue
  • Regular system service, monitoring and reporting
  • Divert 85,750 pounds of commercial food waste (estimate)
  • Final report completed by July 13

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.



  • Outreach strategy, action plan and detailed list of target businesses
  • Outreach materials completed
  • Outreach and diversion data collection begins

2017 and 2018

  • Continue to conduct outreach and collect data, including food waste diversion data
  • Final report completed by July 13

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.



  • Ten restaurants with diverse ownership and two farmers markets selected
  • Waste audits completed, results and proposals presented to restaurants
  • Signage in necessary languages created and distributed with other tools to restaurants and farmer’s markets
  • Farmer’s markets consulted with
  • Restaurant and farmer’s market vendor trainings completed and employees trained


  • Results so far, including diversion rate, analyzed and communicated to restaurants and markets
  • Compost delivered to restaurants interested in using the material on-site
  • Restaurants educated about alternative food packaging options and potential disposal cost savings
  • Restaurant staff and farmer’s market vendors retrained


  • Collection service fee comparison for prior to and under new food waste program provided to restaurants and markets
  • Total food waste diverted as a result of project estimated
  • Final report submitted by July 13

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.



  • Project charter, requirements, scope, and geographic boundaries with project stakeholders
  • Strawberry Festival waste characterization and diversion report
  • Mobile app developed
  • 3,000 pounds food recovered or diverted (estimate)
  • Feedstock assessment report, including Strawberry Festival
  • Feasibility report completed
  • Community benefit agreement completed

2017 and 2018

  • 11,000 pounds commercial food diverted/recovered (estimate)
  • Additional funding secured and community-scale anaerobic digestion system built and operated for demonstration:
  • 1,955,000 pounds of commercial food waste diverted (estimate)
  • Final report completed by July 13


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