4 Steps to Be More Sustainable in 2017

Posted on July 18, 2017 by Michelle Locke

So, you want your restaurant to be more sustainable. But you don’t know what steps to take to actually get there. When you’re researching sustainability, it’s easy to get overwhelmed because there are so many directions you can go.

To make your life just a little bit more simple, we identified four steps you can start with to be more sustainable in 2017 and the future. You can do all four, or you can start with just one that appeals most to you. Either way, these are the easiest places to start.

1. Start a Recycling Program

Starting a recycling program is one of the easiest places to start because it’s an easy service to add to your existing garbage service. Then, you just have to ensure your employees know what to do, what is recyclable, and what isn’t. We like this article on how to start a recycling program specifically in a restaurant.

2. Donate Excess Inventory

Have prepared food that you can no longer use? Or prepped items that are past the time you want to use them? It is possible to donate these items to local organizations that feed homeless populations or children in need. Here is another great article about donating excess food, but here are the takeaways:

  • The food should be safe to consume, properly cooled, and nutritious.
  • Donating raw ingredients is rare, but if you have the time to prepare something like a soup or sauce with items you would otherwise throw away, that’s best.
  • Don’t worry about donating entire meals.
  • Make sure to follow the same food safety rules for preparing food for donation, just as you would for guests in your restaurant.

3. Retrain Back of House on Food Handling

Speaking of food donation and food safety rules, make sure that your employees are well-trained on food safety, from cooling food properly to prevent spoilage to following FIFO procedures. This will prevent food waste and ensure all of your inventory gets used. This is, hands down, the easiest step because you can revisit these procedures in your pre-shift meetings (and if you use Waitrainer+, you can simply resend training to all Back of House employees). Not only does doing this save you money, it keeps valuable food out of landfills.

4. Replace To Go Packaging

To go packaging contributes to a lot of waste in landfills, especially containers that consist of plastic, styrofoam, or aluminum foil. Remember, you cannot recycle anything that has been in contact with food, like pizza boxes. However, there are to go items out there that are biodegradable. This is a great article on the benefits of compostable to go items and here is a simple run-through of all the benefits of eco-packaging.