A new restaurant in downtown Des Moines claims it’s the first and only 100% compostable eatery in Iowa.
Jeff Duncan, who runs Big City Burgers and Greens, says he’s taking every step possible so no waste is sent to landfills and everything can break down to be composted or recycled.
Duncan says even their garbage bags are compostable.
“All of our containers that we put our to-go products in are 100% compostable,” Duncan says. “They’re all made from corn and other byproducts that will have them break down in a composting facility, our straws, paper, cups, coffee cups.”
A couple of institutions in Iowa are compostable facilities, including a few hospitals and select buildings on college campuses, but Duncan says his restaurant is the first of its kind in the state to take this environmental leap.
While he has no expensive dumpster fees, he does have to pay for someone to haul the restaurant’s daily refuse to the composting center.
“We get certain products in that are in cans that we can’t avoid but we put those in the recycling bin and all of our cardboard, we recycle on our back dock,” Duncan says. “That goes into a compactor and then obviously, our bottles go back to a rebate center.”
The restaurant is located on the ground floor of an eight-story building in the heart of downtown, so he says the eatery isn’t as green as he’d like it to be, at least not yet.
Duncan says, “There’s things that we’re limited to in the building as far as electricity and A/C and things like that, but if we expand and do a free-standing building, we can look to doing wind turbines, using more recyclable products in the construction, outside and inside our buildings.”
He says going 100-percent compostable is “our way of giving back,” adding, “more than just our salads are green.”