If you haven’t heard, food waste is a big issue. Currently, 40% of the food in the United States is never eaten, which is creating some expensive and dangerous problems. Due to its weight, food waste ain’t cheap to collect or transport, and once transported, it sits in a landfill releasing harmful greenhouse gases as it decomposes. These gases…they’re not doing great things to the environment.

The good news? Whether it’s food scraps, food soiled paper or yard waste, organic waste has become a pretty popular topic in city halls, which is causing decision makers to say ”Nah” to food waste and “Yas” to food waste ordinances.

Check out what these cities are doing to make composting the law of the land and how you can be prepared when the movement comes to your town!

New York: Organic waste makes up approximately one-third of the waste generated by businesses in New York City. That’s a lot. So, last summer the city decided to do something about it. Certain businesses, primarily food service establishments and food manufacturers, are now required by law to separate their organic waste. This is a HUGE step in the right direction for a city that hopes to send zero waste to landfills by 2030 – pause for applause. I think we could all benefit from this New York state of mind.

Seattle: Seattle Public Utilities estimates that each family in the city throws away 400 pounds of food each year!!! Because that is a ridiculous amount of food waste, now families can be fined for tossing their food scraps in the garbage. To make things easier on residents and businesses, the city offers compost collection services – and since then, composting has increased every year citywide. Most recently, the city banned the use of misleading green- and brown-tinted non-compostable plastic bags. Greenwashers don’t stand a chance under the City of Seattle’s watch!

San Francisco: Food waste ordinances don’t just equate to fines for noncompliance. When implemented right, composting can actually result in mo’ money in yo’ pocket! The City of San Francisco estimates that businesses can save up to 75% on the variable costs of their refuse bill by recycling and composting. The city offers a variety of free services and assistance for businesses, including kitchen composting pails, consultations, bin labels, signs, commercial building toolkits, educational materials, multi-lingual trainings and more.

These cities are on the front end of the food waste revolution. While composting may not yet be legally mandated in your area, you could still have access to rebates and other incentive programs.

So, don’t wait until your city rolls out food waste ordinances. Start making a difference and turn your uneaten donuts into dirt!