Susan K. Thoman

Susan K Thoman

Susan K. Thoman 
Principal and Managing Director, Compost Manufacturing Alliance


Food Serviceware: Product Development to Zero Waste Models

University of Washington Campus Study: Compostables and Food Waste Diversion 

This session will provide an overview of a four month study conducted for NatureWorks by the Compost Manufacturing Alliance on the University of Washington campus in Seattle. Elements include the design and implementation of a solid waste study focused on food service collection areas on the main campus and in student housing areas. Take a deep dive in learning what specific food service packaging items make up the composting collection stream when a full suite of compostable products are employed in food service operations. In addition, CMA will present data on what is still being landfilled, and what the potential benefits are for a higher level of food waste and tonnage diversion when compostable systems include the right food service packaging. Finally, you will learn what contaminants from the study are a challenge for composters, both in public collection areas and in the kitchen, and how these items may create opportunities to increase the development of compostable alternatives and offer opportunities to collaborate on solutions between the compost manufacturing and food service packaging industries.

About Susan K. Thoman

Susan is founder and managing director of the Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA), representing twenty U.S. compost manufacturing facilities conducting and collaborating on real world field testing and research for compostable products across various processing systems. Susan has served for over 25 years in the by-products management, solid waste and environmental services sector, and for 12 years on the Cedar Grove Composting leadership team. Prior to that, she worked as national corporate trainer for a $2 billion industrial services company. Susan currently serves on the US Composting Council Board of Directors and on the Recycling Foundation board in Washington state.


Don’t just take our word for it

I strongly recommend Innovation Takes Root. It's a good opportunity to understand and see what happens in this area of biopolymers. It's an international event and not just on PLA. I think it's well done, well-managed, and well-organized. It was a good investment for me.
Marco Garilli

Innovation Expert - Polymers, Electrolux

I'd definitely come back (to ITR) and recommend it. I think many different industries could learn something from a conference like this - it really is focused on the next level of sustainability.
Maddie Guillory

Vice President, Titan Robotics

It has been a wonderful event; very well organized. I especially appreciate the scheduling of activities, the alternation of speeches, and time to network, which has been one of the key successes from my point of view. We also felt very supported by your team; we had the feeling you believe in what Flo is doing and, for us, that's very important.
Tazio Zerbini

Operations Director, Flo S.p.A.