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EnviRelation has been quietly collecting truckloads of food waste in the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland region over the past five years. And Georgetown businesses, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Sweetgreen and the Four Seasons have enlisted the company to collect their kitchen scraps and wasted or unused food products.

The environmental sustainably focused company employs a practical model of collecting food waste at a fee lower than the price of commercial trash collection. EnviRelation both saves businesses money and, says Executive Chef Doug Anderson of Four Seasons in Georgetown, because pick up occurs on a daily basis, separating food waste is also relatively odorless. The company then delivers the food that would otherwise sit in a local landfill, or enter the District sewer system, to two Maryland compost facilities.

Composting is the decay of organic matter – it’s a low-impact method to amend soil, a medium to grow plants and a means of reducing run-off from soils.  For the District, and Georgetown specifically, the implications are significant.

One-third of  DC’s water system uses a combined sewer system, meaning sanitary sewage and storm water run into a single pipe. During heavy rains, overflow is discharged to the surrounding water supply, which includes the Potomac River, Rock Creek, the Anacostia River and tributaries. In fact, Washington’s food code requires food businesses to grind the majority of their food waste for flow into the sewer line.