Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version



Environmental Studies Undergraduate Student Thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2020.


Copyright 2020 Brodie Baum


This study aimed to investigate restaurants across the city of Lincoln, Nebraska that compost as a way to reduce food waste. Food waste is a growing environmental concern because it leads to climate change, eutrophication and acidification of bodies of water, pollutes the air and more. This study utilized a software program to distribute a survey that restaurants owners/personnel would take. The survey asked a variety of questions that provided information about the restaurants and who runs it. This information allowed us to draw important conclusions. Based on the results of the survey we can begin to speculate about possible indicators. The results show that restaurants that compost are more likely to recycle other material. The age of the restaurant owner/personnel can also be an indicator to how likely a restaurant is to compost. The pros and cons composting was found during the course of this study. The research indicated two major themes for cons, the extra costs of having a company haul the organic material and the slight inconvenience of changing habits. Pros mostly consisted of implementing environmentally friendly/sustainable practices and doing their part to reduce food waste. Finally, the study showed that once composting is implemented it will likely stay as a sustainable practice for future years. There should be more research done into whether or not recycling leads to composting or composting leads to recycling in a restaurant. Another indicator that needs to be studied more in depth is the age of the owner/operator of the business and how it affects the likelihood of composting.