WasteNot Want Not: How the Company of Clyde’s Composts

Person with red hair pours food from a white bucket into a bright green compost bin, which reads WasteNot Compost.

By Ata Younan

In the span of an hour and a half, the ever-imaginative staff of Clyde’s assemble a total of 32 sandwiches under the watchful eye of their notorious boss. Where does all that food go after the curtain comes down? We sat down with production assistant Natalie Cohen and production manager Briana Fahey to chat about their efforts to compost all the food used on stage during the production of Clyde’s. 

What was the impetus to start composting during the run of Clyde’s? 

Briana: Typically, when we have food in a show, we can save what’s not eaten onstage. With the food in Clyde’s, it’s all tossed into garbage cans, so nothing is salvageable. Given the amount of food, we didn’t feel comfortable simply throwing it away with the trash. I use WasteNot at home and am a huge fan, so we reached out to see if their commercial service would work for us—and the service works as smoothly as it does for residential use.  

Can you tell me a little about the process?  

Natalie: After every rehearsal day or show run-through, we collect all [of] the compostable material and take it out to our compost bin. We dump the food in and sprinkle over a layer of diatomaceous earth, which helps control the smell and deter insects like fruit flies. The compost bin is collected every Monday by WasteNot and replaced with a fresh bin. During rehearsal, we’ve been filling a full bin every week. 

Discarded sandwiches inside of a green compost bin.

So how much food is composted every week?  

Natalie: 32 sandwiches are made every show and we compost all of them, as well as any food leftover in the condiment trays onstage and any produce like carrots and bell peppers that get chopped up during the show. Over a typical 8-show week, that’s 256 sandwiches in the compost bin. 

Briana: When you log in to your member portal, you can see what ‘Your Environmental Impact’ is.  After two weeks of service, our numbers are as follows: 

  1. Total Est. Weight Diverted – 115 pounds 
  2. Gallons of Gas Avoided – 5.17 
  3. Seedlings Planted – 0.8 
  4. Miles Driven Offset – 15.43 

Learn more about WasteNot and how you can get involved. Interested in seeing the sandwiches and the cast of Clyde’s in action? On stage through October 9—get ticket at GoodmanTheatre.org/Clydes

Photos: Hugo Hentoff 

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