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Cities in Texas aim for zero waste, put pressure on businesses

Cities in Texas are attempting to reduce their waste production output. Austin, for example, passed a law last year that made it difficult for restaurants and other food based businesses to dispose of food waste. Lawmakers used the law as a step towards the city’s zero waste goal by 2040.

Why did lawmakers target food waste? Scientists estimate organic wastes like food scraps account for over one-third of waste within landfills. These experts further claim that this accounts for approximately 20% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Based on this evidence, those in favor of reducing food waste production argue it will reduce both landfill size and greenhouse gas emissions. They also contend that techniques to reduce food waste production are relatively easy to implement.

What are businesses supposed to do with their food waste? Ideally, give food away rather than throwing it away. When possible, food can go to shelters or other organizations to help feed those in need. If not fit for human consumption, businesses are encouraged to donate scraps to farms and pursue composting options.

Will other city governments in Texas take a similar approach? It is possible. Austin is not the only city in Texas with similar goals. San Antonio and Dallas have solid waste policies aimed at reducing waste production by up to 90%.

Regardless, the new law provides an example of the complexities businesses in Texas often face. Entrepreneurs that find themselves navigating an environmental law issue can impact their business interests. An attorney experienced in this form of business law can review your business strategy, applicable laws and provide potential resolutions.