Article contributed by Lucy Wyndham
In the United States 30-40% of food goes to waste, according to the United States Department for Agriculture. A lot of this food comes from restaurants and ends up in landfills, negatively affecting the environment, and ultimately the restaurants pockets.
The craziest part of this is that there are 41 million Americans going hungry too. Restaurateurs can help combat both these problems by having their kitchen go green: donating usable food to those in need, recycling and composting food waste that doesn’t need to go to landfills, and taking a deeper look at their equipment and even their customers.
Disposing Of Food Waste
According to Business Insider just one restaurant kitchen produces 25,000 to 75,000 pounds of food waste a year. Therefore, it’s paramount that restaurants look at ow food that cannot be donated or composted can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way. Around 50% of American homes have a waste disposal unit and they’re even more common in restaurant kitchens as an alternative way for discarding unused and unwanted food.
Being mindful of what you put down garbage disposal units can avoid clogging pipes and them breaking down, saving you money. These machines use a lot of water and power to break down the waste and wash it away but they do help to dispose of food waste better than it sitting in a landfill. Luckily, there are safe and chemical free alternatives to also help unclog your restaurant’s kitchen drains and toilets.
Green Kitchen Equipment
There are many simple ways to make restaurant kitchens more environmentally friendly and they could also save you money. A study by energy company E.ON found that 57% of hospitality businesses are likely to leave their catering equipment turned on when it’s not being used. This is such a straightforward thing to fix. The same study also found that 42% of smaller kitchens were using appliances, like fridges and ovens, that are inefficient.
Before purchasing equipment it’s a good idea to look at its energy rating. You may need to invest a little bit extra in the product to go green, but in the long run you’ll be using less energy. With energy bills often the second most expensive cost, after paying staff, in restaurant businesses, this one is definitely an obvious change to implement.
What About The Customers?
Ultimately a restaurant needs to make money to continue business so it’s vital that your efforts to go green don’t alienate or discourage customers. A lot of easy changes can make a big difference and can be simple for customers to get on board with. Going green, zero waste and sustainability are all hot trends that people are not only interested in but passionate about. A study found that 55% of consumers are happy to cough up extra cash to support businesses that are doing their part and some will even avoid companies that they know have a negative impact on the environment.
The carbon footprint of restaurants can be massive and is something customers are more educated in than ever before. There are so many ways to become more sustainable and less wasteful. Taking advantage of the social media presence in consumers lives to share your green goals in your business can help to advertise your restaurant to bring more people through the doors. Showing that you’re the kind of company that donates food to those in need instead of throwing it into landfills will go a long way in a green society.