Sustainability is one of our core values here at Breads on Oak. What’s the point of being a vegan bakery if you don’t give a hoot about the environment? One way that this value manifests itself in day to day operations is our waste management procedures. We try our best to limit the amount of waste we create and from there we try to limit how much of that goes to the landfill.

30 to 40% of the food in America is wasted, that’s almost 63 million tons of food sent to the landfill. The restaurant industry alone contributes about 11.4 million of those tons. When this food is sent to the landfill, it forms methane gas as it decomposes. This methane gas can accelerate climate change, as it is 34 times more harmful than CO2. Therefore, we do everything in our power to prevent our food waste from heading to the landfill. Our primary way of addressing this is by composting most of our food waste.

While we try our best to conserve all the fresh produce and food products we have, there’s still a portion of things that are inedible or unusable. There’s a lot of avocado skins, bread scraps, used coffee grounds, and tough vegetable stems that we cannot find any reasonable use for. That’s where composting comes in, to sustainably handle all the stuff that’d normally find its way to the landfill. Throughout our bakery we have bins scattered around that collect all the food scraps generated in the kitchen. We empty these bins at the end of each day in another larger bin out back. But you might ask where all the compost goes from there?

That’s where the great people at Schmelly’s come in! Schmellly’s Dirt Farm is a full-service composting company that picks up everything that accumulates in our bins that our customers, employees and cat friends can’t eat. They come around twice a week to collect our compost bin and replace it with an empty fresh one.

With a truck full of compost, they head back to their facility they turn that food waste into gold. Schmelly’s uses our compost (as well as various other restaurants around town) to make fertilizer, mulch and nutrient-rich soil, which they then sell to local gardens, farms and other businesses. It takes around 6-8 months to turn commercial food waste into magical dirt that’ll grow all kinds of tasty new foods.

If you’re interested in beginning composting in your own home, Schmelly’s does residential compost pick-up. You could learn more about their amazing operation at