From April through November 2010, Laguna Niguel helped convert 127.03 tons of food waste into compost. Souplantation in Laguna Nigel has been part of an on-going test to help our environment. Read below an article from Laguna Nigel to see what we have been doing.

Five L.N. Businesses Are Helping to Keep Food Waste out of Landfills

Laguna Niguel restaurants and businesses are working to keep food waste out of landfills.

From April through November 2010, Laguna Niguel diverted 127.03 tons of food waste through the CR&R Food Scrap Composting program. Funds for a Laguna Niguel yearlong Food Scrap Composting pilot program, originally initiated by CR&R Waste and Recycling Services in April 2010, have been extended through November 2011.

CR&R began the program with more than 35 food establishments across Orange County, including Laguna Niguel’s Souplantation, Mimi’s Café, Henry’s Marketplace, Fred’s Mexican Café and T.G.I. Friday’s, in an effort to record how much food waste from commercial food establishments can be diverted from the landfill.

The original yearlong program was funded through a $400,000 grant from the Orange County waste and recycling department.

“The top five food establishments within the city were asked to participate in the grant program,” said Rachelle Paris, community relations/environmental compliance coordinator with CR&R. Paris, a Laguna Niguel resident, is the local CR&R liaison for all recycling related programs within the city.

Waste = Useful Products

Each city in California is required to divert 50 percent of its waste from landfills due to space constraints. Now, instead of going to the local landfill, food scraps collected in the program are turned into useful products for gardeners and farmers.

Food scraps represent 40 to 45 percent of restaurant waste, according to Paris, and the average restaurant throws away more than 50 tons of organic waste in a year. For the entire state, that number increases to 5 million tons.

As of November 2010, Laguna Niguel has diverted 127.03 tons of food waste through the program. Souplantation, because of food scraps on tables, and Henry’s Market are the largest generators of food waste in the city.

How It Works

All organic materials are accepted in the program, including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats and poultry, bones, breads and grains, soiled paper products, plants, fish and seafood, coffee grounds, eggshells, milk cartons and waxed cardboard. Non-accepted materials include plastics, glass, metals, liquids and grease.

Restaurants separate their food scraps into indoor collection containers and transfer the material to larger outdoor carts, similar to what Laguna Niguel residents use for recycling at their homes. A CR&R truck collects the material and delivers it to CR&R’s transfer facility in Stanton, where it is then loaded in a water-tight roll-off bin and taken to a composting facility in Thermal, CA, where the material is turned into high-quality compost.

Souplantation Cuts Waste in Half

All of the participating businesses in Laguna Niguel have been able to reduce their waste and save money on their monthly disposal bills. Souplantation, in particular, has seen drastic results since joining the program.

“As part of our ongoing green initiative, Souplantation is always making small yet impactful improvements and changes to our restaurants to help the environment,” said Lisa O’Donovan, general manager of Souplantation at 23870 Aliso Creek Rd. “Participating in the food scrap program not only allows us to save money, it adds value to our community through reduced waste.”

Since participating in the program, Souplantation has cut its food waste by 50 percent, according to O’Donovan. “Most of our table scraps are eligible for the program.”

Paris said CR&R is searching for a local composting facility to allow for the continued growth of the commercial food waste program, with the intention of expanding the program to all food-generating establishments in Laguna Niguel by 2012.

Food Waste Facts:

  • Californians overall throw away more than 5 million tons of food waste each year.
  • A restaurant, on average, disposes of more than 50 tons of organic waste every year.



  1. We are a busy family of 4 with two kids who play multiple sports (sounds familiar to a lot of you I am sure!!!). Soup Plantation is our way to eat lots of healthy food full of carbs for the following days big games! Both of our kids LOVE Soup Plantation. We often get a car load of kids from the neighborhood and head out to SP. The kids all sit at their own table with us close by….they love their nights out with their friends! SOUP PLANTATION IS VERY MUCH A PART OF OUR FAMILY’S LIVES AND VERY MUCH A PART OF OUR COMMUNITY!!!

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