Flatbread Pizza: Renewal Through Compost
February 16, 2012
According to its website, Flatbread Pizza’s mission is “providing both guests and employees a place to ‘renew their spirit.’” But spirits aren’t the only thing this delicious pizza company wants to influence: Flatbread also does its part to renew the environment. The company is a pioneer in the local, organic restaurant scene: Flatbread understands the value of organic materials from the soil many of its pizza toppings are grown in to the food scraps that come out of its kitchen. That’s why every Flatbread location (there are 10 in all) is encouraged to compost as much as possible.
The Flatbread Pizza in Somerville, Massachusetts (a town that’s also home to SSO Superhero Groundwork Somerville) is located inside the famous Sacco’s candlepin bowling alley. Since the day it opened its doors in July of 2010, the Somerville restaurant has composted both kitchen waste and table scraps (known in the industry as pre- and post-consumer food scraps). Employees established separate barrels in the kitchen for compost, recycling and trash, and they adhered to the principles of Source Separated Organics: they separated out the scraps cleared from every table regardless of how busy the restaurant became. Flatbread even sourced food service materials to help reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.
Evan Fetras, Somerville Flatbread’s managing partner, says the company diverts 75-80 percent of its waste through either recycling or composting. A Boston-based recycling company called Save That Stuff hauls the compostable materials out to local farms. The nutrients are then returned to the soil, where they are used to help grow natural, efficient crops, some of which even end up as Flatbread pizza toppings.
While Flatbread thinks everyone should care about doing their part when it comes to organics, the company also believes it helps to hire the right people. Several of the restaurant’s staff members are studying environmental sciences at one of the many local colleges. The student-employees’ passion about recycling helps Flatbread continue improving its management of organics and other recyclable materials while positively affecting the customer experience.
Flatbread thinks it can go even further with its composting efforts. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve and grow as a company,” said Fetras. The restaurant is proud of the “partnership between Flatbread, organic food, local farms, local producers and the local community.” For Flatbread, a big part of that community partnership means managing organic waste the right way: By keeping it out of landfills.