F&W’s Kate Krader on why she sometimes shows up at restaurants with a (tightly sealed!) bag of food scraps to leave at the coat check.


Recently, I've taken to walking into the F&W Test Kitchen and checking out the garbage. I’m not trying to be weird; I’m just making sure that nothing compostable has been chucked out. I’ve become a borderline garbage picker because I’m completely obsessed with the zero-waste kitchen. And so I’ve begun a one-woman composting campaign at work, which includes convincing my Test Kitchen colleagues to set out bowls for their produce scraps; the results are so pretty, they now show up on our Instagram feeds.

Luckily, my hometown, New York City, is increasingly focused on recycling food waste. The Department of Sanitation has launched a growing number of “commuter” composting sites near subway stations during morning rush hours. Restaurants are following suit, like Mario Batali’s Casa Mono, which now composts more than one ton of scraps per month.

Occasionally, I’ve had to leave my composting with a restaurant coat check before dropping it off at the Union Square Greenmarket. It’s always well wrapped, but you don’t make friends when you hand a bag of what is essentially garbage to a well-dressed attendant who only wants your coat. Perhaps instead I should try marching into the restaurant’s kitchen to proudly deposit my scraps.