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Reduce Waste in Restaurants

The goal of reducing waste across many sectors of the food-service industry is following a paradigm shift. Discarded waste that fills non-degradable bags and populates landfills is not only aesthetically undesirable, but it's also environmentally irresponsible. "Going green" and "reducing our carbon footprint" are not just buzzwords; they are responsible steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle.

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The goal of reducing waste across many sectors of the food-service industry is following a paradigm shift. Discarded waste that fills non-degradable bags and populates landfills is not only aesthetically undesirable, but it’s also environmentally irresponsible. “Going green” and “reducing our carbon footprint” are not just buzzwords; they are responsible steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle.


Full-circle sustainability offers a three-faceted benefits package to the restaurant industry:

  1. Environment.
    Reducing landfill loads also reduces the production of methane gas, which is a primary contributor to the greenhouse gases that pollute the atmosphere.
  2. Economics.
    Food waste chips away at profit margins and increases waste-disposal costs. These costs can plummet by using alternative strategies designed to recycle and repurpose restaurant waste.
  3. Philanthropy.
    Sales profits are enhanced by people profits. Although restaurants can reduce waste by donating leftover food, feeding those in need is the higher benefit.

Restaurant owners following the curve toward sustainability are led by three different influences:

  1. Conscience.
    An internal compass that instinctively points toward responsibility and accountability is a strong motivator to “do the right thing.”
  2. Customers.
    The developing consumer-driven shift toward sustainable restaurant practices is picking up momentum. Restaurants are experiencing an increased need to maintain transparency and accountability to their customers with their sustainable choices.
  3. Compliance.
    Legislation continues to increase in many cities now requiring the food service industry to decrease waste and phase out plastics like Styrofoam in favor of more sustainable packaging material.

Regardless of which influences drive restaurants toward the goal of sustainability, these green technologies and practices can help accomplish their goals:

  • Compostable to-go containers. With a similar look but different composition than conventional foam packaging, these containers are made from plants.
  • Recycled paper take-out bags. Made with a minimum of 40 percent post consumer recycled paper, from no old-growth forests and compliant with plastic bag ban legislation.
  • Composting. Recycling approved food scraps and restaurant waste paper products can be outsourced or done on-site. As the ultimate full-circle sustainable practice, composting reduces waste to a usable soil amendment for food plots.
  • Biofuel technology. Restaurants can be a vital part of the biofuel industry to help reduce dependency on conventional fuel sources. This cutting-edge technology converts recycled restaurant cooking oil and grease to biofuel. There are now many services in cities that pick up used cooking oil for free for this purpose.
  • Eco-friendly packaging and practices are increasing exponentially as a result of customer preferences, ongoing sustainable legislation and conscientious restaurant owners. Implementing one practice at a time benefits all of us toward the goals of awareness and responsible conservation.

Comprehensive sustainability presents a threefold advantage to the restaurant sector:

Environment.

Diminishing landfill waste leads to a reduction in methane gas production, a key contributor to greenhouse gases that pollute the atmosphere.

Economics. Food waste undermines profit margins and raises waste-disposal expenses. Adopting alternative strategies to recycle and repurpose restaurant waste can significantly lower these costs.

Philanthropy.

Sales profits are boosted by contributing to the community. Though restaurants can minimize waste by donating surplus food, the greater benefit is feeding those in need.

Restaurant owners pursuing sustainability are guided by three distinct motivations: Conscience. An innate sense of responsibility and accountability drives the desire to “do the right thing.” Customers. The growing consumer demand for sustainable restaurant practices is accelerating. Restaurants now face a heightened need to maintain transparency and accountability for their sustainable actions. Compliance. Legislation in numerous cities now mandates the food service industry to reduce waste and phase out plastics like Styrofoam in favor of eco-friendly packaging materials.

No matter the driving force behind a restaurant’s sustainability goals, the following green technologies and practices can help achieve them: Compostable to-go containers. These containers resemble conventional foam packaging but are made from plant materials. Recycled paper take-out bags. These bags contain at least 40% post-consumer recycled paper, sourced from no old-growth forests, and comply with plastic bag ban regulations. Composting.

Outsourced or on-site recycling of approved food scraps and restaurant waste paper products creates compost, the ultimate sustainable practice that yields nutrient-rich soil for food cultivation. Biofuel technology. Restaurants can play a crucial role in the biofuel industry by reducing dependence on traditional fuel sources. This advanced technology converts recycled restaurant cooking oil and grease into biofuel. Many urban services now collect used cooking oil for free for this purpose. Eco-friendly packaging and practices continue to grow exponentially due to customer preferences, ongoing sustainability legislation, and responsible restaurant owners. Implementing these practices one at a time benefits everyone in achieving awareness and responsible conservation goals.

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