St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - Lambert-St. Louis International Airport started a food recycling program Tuesday that will turn leftovers from several restaurants into compost for area farms and gardens.

According to Jeff Lea, an airport spokesman, Lambert Airport received a grant from the St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District (SWMD) and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). The airport is partnering with concession services company HMSHost on the food recycling program. The grant money will help cover the initial startup costs, including employee training and collection equipment.

Only four restaurants are participating in the program, but they account for 30 percent of Lambert Airport's food and beverage sales: Beers of the World (Concourse A), Pasta House (Terminal 1), Brioche Doree/HMSHost production kitchen (Terminal 1), and Chili's Too (Terminal 2). The goal of the food recycling program is divert as much food waste from landfill facilities as possible. Lea says the program could help recycle as much as 12 tons of food waste a year.

Pre-sale waste and customer leftovers will be collected and processed by St. Louis Composting, then sold as soil additives for farms and gardens.

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