ST. PAUL — Silhouette Bakery & Bistro on University Avenue in Saint Paul takes pride in baking from scratch to provide their customers with edible pieces of art. In doing so, Silhouette generates food waste for which owner Ericka Trinh has chosen to find the most environmentally beneficial outlet. In order to determine how to best recycle the food waste, Trinh met with the Waste Wise program to outline a collection plan and access BizRecycling grant funding to set up a comprehensive recycling program.
After initially meeting with Waste Wise, Trinh decided that Silhouette Bakery & Bistro would move forward with commercial composting collection. All food scraps, food soiled paper, and other compostable products would be collected together and picked up by their waste hauler to ultimately be turned into nutrient rich compost. Waste Wise was able to work hand in hand with Trinh to obtain more than $4,600 in BizRecycling grant funds for new bins, certified compostable food service materials, and compostable bin liners.
With everything in place, Trinh and other Silhouette employees needed to begin collecting the material. “The experience was very simple,” said Trinh, “it has definitely helped our business as we strive to be as close to ‘zero waste’ as possible, and the grant was a huge help to offset some of the costs.” Silhouette’s waste diversion helps support this case as they are now estimated to be sending more than 15,000 pounds of material off to be composted and an additional 4,500 pounds of cans, bottles, and paper off to be recycled every year. Silhouette is left with just one 90 gallon cart for trash that gets picked up once a week.
The commitment to improved recycling has taken some work, but Trinh insists it has benefited their business and their employees. Customers take pride in working with and patronizing a business that is committed to environmental sustainability. When asked if Trinh had advice for other businesses looking to recycle more she simply said, “Jump on it! The BizRecycling program helped us a lot, and Waste Wise made it very easy.”