We’ve explained why sustainability is important. We’ve covered 4 steps to get started. What are some other things you can do to limit your impact on the environment, keep your restaurant running efficiently, and feel good about sustainability?
Here at 5 ways to limit your environmental impact. These eco-friendly tips will reinforce your commitment to sustainability, but also improve your cash flow, impress your customers (who, remember, care about sustainability!), and help your restaurant run efficiently and cleanly.
1. Reduce Restroom Waste
When you think about it, the restrooms in your restaurant can be a huge source of paper waste. Here are a few things to consider:
- More frequent cleaning to keep surface areas clean (so guests don’t grab a huge handful of paper towels to line the toilet or wipe down the sink)
- Biodegradable paper towels and toilet paper
- Automatic dispensers for soap, paper towels, and air freshener to prevent overuse
2. Opt for energy efficient appliances
The commercial food industry uses $10 billion dollars in energy every year. That’s billion. With a b. Wasted energy in the restaurant industry is huge: from excessive heat and the use of appliances that aren’t energy efficient. Eventually, you’ll need to replace your appliances; opting for appliances with an Energy Star logo will reduce wasted energy, as well as get you a tax break. (It will most likely reduce your power bill too!)
3. Replace cleaning items
Traditional cleaning materials can often contain chemicals that don’t break down in water, resulting in both air and water pollution. Replace these non-biodegradable cleaners for eco-safe cleaning products by checking for either the Green Seal or a Design for the Environment (DfE) notation.
4. Reduce reliance on outsourced shipping
Using large-scale food services can be extremely convenient, but it can be taxing on the planet. To cut down cost, shipping, energy, and paper waste, ask vendors to ship items with less paper waste and packaging. Switching to a local food distributor for your items can also help you get more local produce and products, as well as reduce the amount of travel that is between you and your inventory.
5. Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
It’s one of the first phrases elementary students learn about, and it’s still one of the easiest ways to reduce your environmental impact. Here are a few ideas:
- Replace to go containers with biodegradable options.
- Use recycled toilet paper and paper towels
- Reuse any wood boxes, cardboard boxes, and glass bottles that come through your restaurant. (Even donating glass bottles to others, for decoration or recycling, will reduce waste.)
- Give your staff reusable cups to drink from, instead of using paper or styrofoam cups.