CLONAKILTY is highlighting its eco-friendly credentials with plans in place to pilot a food digester scheme with several hotels and restaurants in the town.
Led by Clon Chamber under their CoolClon initiative and with the assistance of Eilish Munday of the Cork ETB, their hope is that it will encourage a more eco-friendly way of dealing with food waste from commercial premises.
Orla O’Donovan, chair of Clonakilty Chamber and owner of both the Fig & Olive and the newly opened ‘80/20 Burger’, said the idea is to put a halt to food waste in the town.
‘A lot of the hotels and restaurants in the town have come together collectively to work on this campaign while we are closed so that we can change our systems,’ said Orla.
‘We’ve had a great uptake from a lot of the food businesses, including the ‘heavy’ food businesses and we’re meeting online every Wednesday discussing these ideas.’
The Chamber has even bought a Jora 400 composter, so that the business owners can see how it works.
‘Eilish is showing us how to work these digesters with a view to each of us buying one for our own business,’ said Orla. ‘As well as the environment, it’s all good for your profits, too. While costing in the region of €1,000, you would still get your money back on this investment.’
Orla said they want to push Clonakilty as a town that is being responsible in tackling food waste and in turn inspire other West Cork towns to follow their lead.
‘Where we start in this process is looking at our individual menus to examine where food waste could be eliminated. It’s just simple steps and it’s very doable, so maybe it could then be promoted to domestic households in Clonakilty.’
Tutor Eilish, who runs the programme in association with Skills for Work and Cork ETB, said this was the perfect time for businesses to get on board because many are closed and are looking for something to do.
Eilish notes that 75% of food waste is ‘usable or edible’, while the other 25% can be composted.
Simple things like how toast or butter is served, or portion sizes being served out, can make a huge difference to the amount of waste produced in a restaurant or café .
‘If this proves to be successful, it could be rolled out in other West Cork towns too,’ added Eilish.