The Three R’s: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!
So, what does going green mean? A green business is one that aims to reduce its carbon footprint by engaging in environmentally friendly practices. In the foodservice industry, this can be achieved through reducing energy use, decreasing the use of disposable products, or minimizing food waste, among other measures.
Global warming and climate change present a wide range of environmental dangers, requiring individuals and businesses to lower carbon footprints. It requires us to reduce consumption, use clean energy, and offset emissions.
A green restaurant is eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable, leading to reduced impact on the environment. However, this requires restaurant owners to implement green practices. For instance, the central dogma is: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Here at KEXY, our experts recommend the following strategies:
Allow your customers to preorder from your menu, meaning you need to focus on accurate ingredient sourcing and implement strategies to reduce food waste.
Use online marketing strategies to promote your restaurant and reduce the need for printed adverts and paper flyers.
Your customers can reduce their carbon footprints through online reservations, leading to reduced time and money spent visiting your restaurant.
Make sure you source food from local farmers to reduce transport carbon emissions. That way, you can support producers in your local area. Fresher food with a smaller carbon price tag allows you to evoke trust in your diners.
Use chlorine-free and unbleached recycled paper instead of white toilet paper and paper towels.
Recycle glass bottles, cans, paper menus, packaging, and fryer oil. Contact biofuel companies to ensure they collect and recycle these items to make a new energy source.
Implement a sustainable food system and incorporate seasonal produce into your menu. In-season food requires fewer agricultural inputs, leading to reduced environmental and financial costs associated with production and transportation.
Change your restaurant light bulbs and install fluorescent bulbs to reduce 75% of energy usage.
Swap astringent and non-biodegradable chemical cleaners for biodegradable and low-impact detergents and products.
Use in-house filtrations systems to reduce carbon footprints and provide still/sparkling water instead of ordering in bottles.
Make sure your suppliers send goods and items with the least amount of packaging. That way, you can use fewer materials, leading to reduced waste.
Shut down your POS system and computers when you have closed up for the night. Although this may seem small, it can mount up over a year.
Because linen tablecloths require a large application of bleaches, starches, and chemical cleaners, make sure you reduce and reuse whenever you can. Get rid of white and consider soft-cloth. The best strategy to reduce carbon footprints is to eliminate tablecloths altogether.
A sustainable and greener restaurant means that you could improve water efficiency, energy and save money, making a significant difference on issues like food waste, animal welfare, and climate change.
KEXY is a reputable inventory management software company that makes continuous efforts to help restaurants become more sustainable and encourage diners to make eco-friendly choices when dining out.
For a more in depth way to go green in your restaurant, here are 7 key recommendations:
Businesses can easily reduce their impact on the environment and preserve their natural resources for the future by following a few quick and easy steps. So here are seven ways your restaurant can go green in the New Year, whether you want to be eco-conscious or reduce waste for Earth Day.
1. Reduce your water consumption
Almost every aspect of a foodservice establishment requires water, from dishwashing stations to bathrooms. Nonetheless, fresh water supplies are rapidly diminishing, so restaurants need to conserve water as much as possible. You can reduce your water consumption when washing dishes by using low flow spray valves, which allow you to use less water. In addition, you could equip all of your restrooms with water-saving toilets and urinals, which use less water per flush. Moreover, many restaurants provide every customer with a glass of water when they sit down. By offering customers water only when they ask for it, you can reduce your water usage.
2. Purchase energy-efficient appliances
Foodservice uses a lot of electricity, mostly through appliances. Switching to energy-efficient appliances and equipment, such as Energy Star Qualified appliances, is one of the best ways to reduce your restaurant’s energy consumption. You can also make the following small changes to reduce energy consumption:
- Light bulbs such as LEDs, halogens, and CFLs are energy-efficient.
- Instead of keeping the lights on all day, install motion sensor lights in your bathrooms.
- Cool your space with spot air conditioners rather than running the building’s air conditioner.
- Make sure your refrigeration equipment’s condenser coils are clean. Having a buildup of dust on your refrigeration equipment causes it to work harder and use more energy.
3. Change the way you ship food
Deliveries of food to your restaurant on a regular or weekly basis result in a higher carbon footprint; the delivery truck must drive to your location more frequently. Buying local produce and ordering food in bulk are excellent ways to ensure that you always have fresh food on hand while reducing your establishment’s impact.
Support local producers
A good way to reduce your establishment’s carbon footprint is to purchase local food. Locally grown food travels a shorter distance, so it spends less time in a truck. You can also market your business as a farm-to-table company and charge a premium if you serve local food to your customers. If you have lots of outdoor space, you can grow your own food and sell locally-produced foods to your customers.
You can order bulk shipments of food
You can restructure your food orders so you receive food less frequently, but in larger quantities, if you live in a city or cannot easily access fresh and local foods. In addition, since you would be receiving orders less frequently, you would be reducing your environmental impact. If you restructure your food orders, consider which foods you need to use first and which items you can store in your freezer to extend their shelf life.
4. Use environmentally friendly disposables
Alternatives to traditional plastic disposables are plentiful and eco-friendly. Rather than using plastic utensils and dinnerware, you could use biodegradable or compostable options made of renewable materials such as sugarcane, bamboo, or PLA plastic. In many cases, restaurant owners perceive eco-friendly disposables as flimsy and low quality, but many new eco-friendly options are just as durable as their plastic counterparts.
Further, many cities are now considering banning plastic straws, so now is a great time for your business to switch to eco-friendly alternatives. Traditional plastic straws can be replaced by PLA plastic and paper straws. You should also consider switching to eco-friendly bags if your city has banned the use of plastic bags.
5. Reduce food waste
Customers can end up throwing away large amounts of food if your portions are too large. Additionally, if you don’t manage your inventory properly, your food may expire before it is used, which will result in food waste. First In, First Out (FIFO) methods, food waste audits, and portion control tools can prevent food waste. Food scraps and overripe foods can also be used in creative ways to prevent food waste. Using vegetable scraps, you can make delicious homemade vegetable broth. Overripe fruits are also perfect for baking because of their sweetness and texture.
6. Make your front of the house more efficient
Heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer can significantly increase your restaurant’s electricity consumption. Front-of-house products can also impact the environment in other ways. Using cloth napkins and tablecloths, for example, will increase your water consumption each night as you wash them. To make your restaurant’s dining space more environmentally friendly, consider the following:
- Put in thick, insulated windows in your establishment so it can maintain a constant temperature. By installing these insulated windows, you will not need to use air conditioning or heating as much in the winter and summer.
- Consider buying furniture made from reclaimed wood or bamboo.
- You should switch to melamine or china dinnerware instead of disposable utensils.
- Don’t clean your tablecloths every night by getting rid of them. Moreover, uncovered tables are popular today due to their rustic look.
7. Pick eco-friendly cleaning products
Restaurants should keep their floors clean, but some cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can damage the environment. Instead, choose environmentally friendly cleaners that are as effective as harsh chemicals but without causing harm. Also, you can steam clean your carpets and floors instead of using chemicals .
Is it possible to be a zero-waste restaurant?
The term zero waste restaurant refers to restaurants that don’t produce trash or food waste that needs to be disposed of. There are few zero-waste restaurants around the world, however, many other businesses are adapting to these eco-friendly practices to minimize their carbon footprint and to embrace a zero-waste ethos.
The process of going green in your restaurant can be challenging, but using eco-friendly products and eco-conscious practices can not only help you reduce your impact on the environment, but can also make your business more profitable. There are many quick and easy ways for your restaurant to go green, such as switching to eco-friendly disposables or installing energy-efficient appliances.