It’s no secret that more and more consumers are starting to give their business to companies that make an effort to incorporate sustainable and eco-friendly practices into their business operations. This is becoming true across many industries, but the food industry is one of the quickest to gain momentum in the overall shift toward sustainability. If you’re in the restaurant industry, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the simple things you can do to make your restaurant a bit more eco-friendly. Here are just a few ideas for improving the sustainability of your restaurant.
Ditch The Styrofoam
Styrofoam may have its uses, but it’s well known for being one of the most wasteful materials, not to mention, it never breaks down in landfills. It’s not even considered microwave safe. So why are restaurants still using it? Today, more than one-third of new paper is made with recycled fiber, so consider ditching the styrofoam takeout containers for paper or something a bit more eco-friendly.
Prioritize Recycling/Waste Management
With the opportunities most restaurants have to recycle, it’s shocking just how many aren’t taking advantage of these opportunities and are instead continuing to throw away countless recyclable materials. However, it should be a no-brainer to prioritize recycling efforts in your restaurant. Just make sure to match up the corresponding refuse numbers with their appropriate bins. Contact your local waste management center for more information about proper recycling procedures, and of course, make sure to keep all of your employees informed and adequately trained regarding these procedures as well.
A more recent endeavor undertaken by some restaurateurs in attempts to improve sustainability involves composting. According to a 2016 survey, Americans consume more fresh foods — including fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses — than they did three years prior, and adding these types of food scraps to a compost bin as opposed to the trash bin can yield some long-lasting eco-friendly benefits.
“When you compost in your restaurant, you help keep plant waste out of landfills, where it would release harmful carbon dioxide and methane gas in the process of decomposing. Aside from the environmental benefits, you can save on trash management costs if you require fewer pickups. You can try composting both on-site and off-site,” writes Sabrina Bomberger on WebstaurantStoreBlog.
Finally, going the route of traditional remodeling efforts can actually go quite a long way. For a fresh start, consider covering your restaurant in a coating of eco-friendly paint. There are a surprising number of VOCs and other toxins that can affect the indoor air quality of your restaurant, but there are also many viable brands of eco-friendly paints without these harmful compounds. In a 2017 interior design trends survey, more than a third of respondents said they would choose a neutral color palette if redecorating their home, but restaurants tend to work better with a brighter spectrum of shades. Don’t hesitate to take your time until you find the right solution!
Ultimately, anybody can turn their restaurant into another step toward a more sustainable solution. Even small efforts to increase eco-friendliness can add up and have a big impact on your establishment’s carbon footprint.