Don’t let your food go to waste.
It’s easy to cater to the environment, as well as your customers, with simple changes to your daily business routine. By managing waste at the source, restaurants can help take a bite out of food waste.
The average restaurant produces 150,000 pounds of garbage each year (Source: Green Restaurants Association)
Since 30% of waste in our province is organic, composting can be an environmentally friendly and effective method of food disposal. And it’s a win-win solution – sending less organic material to the landfill translates into lower waste disposal costs. Detailed planning and proper food storage should be considered to help reduce food waste.
Approximately one-third of the food produced for human consumption each year, about 1.3 billion tonnes, is wasted. (Source: United Nations Food and Agricultural Program).
Help customers take out, without all the extra packaging. Rethink packaging options by looking for containers that are made with recycled content. Skip the Styrofoam and be accepting of customers who bring their own containers.
According to Statistics Canada, 61% of meals prepared in restaurants in 2004 were eaten elsewhere – resulting in excess waste and packaging to get those tasty treats from the store to home.
On average, Canadian households visit a food establishment 520 times a year – more than once daily.
Put these tips to work to satisfy your green taste buds:
- Implement a Green Procurement Policy to choose products and services that are environmentally sustainable.
- Buy products in bulk to eliminate single serving packages of condiments, yogurt, juice and milk.
- Buy products, such as bar mixes and juice, in concentrated form.
- Buy environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies in concentrated form – look for the Eco Logo.
- Ask suppliers to use reusable packaging, eliminate Styrofoam and take back packaging from customers.
- Eliminate paper towels in bathrooms by replacing them with an energy efficient hand dryer.
- Establish a designated recycling station for beverage containers accepted under MMSB’s Beverage Container Recycling Program.
- Be sure to recycle food packaging such as cardboard, boxboard and plastic containers where programs are available.
- Adjust inventory levels on perishable foods to minimize waste due to spoilage.
- Work with local food banks or shelters to donate acceptable leftover food items or offer leftovers to staff.
- Have a designated container to collect used kitchen oil where collection programs are available.
- Eliminate bottled water and move to an in-house water filtration system.
- Use reusable coffee filters.
Success Story: The Sprout
The Sprout Restaurant has been providing a healthy food experience and earth-conscious atmosphere at their vegetarian restaurant in downtown St. John’s since opening their doors in 2005. Owners, Julia and Marina, were shocked to learn that 40% of their waste was organic vegetable scraps and 50% was recyclable material. So they put waste reduction on the menu by:
- Hiring Seed to Spoon, a local organic farming cooperative, to collect and compost their organic kitchen waste.
- Setting up bins for collecting beverage and food containers, as well as paper and cardboard, and arranging to have these materials picked up for recycling.
- Eliminating unnecessary packaging by purchasing grains, flours, spices and sugars in bulk, preparing all menu items from scratch.
- Replacing Styrofoam take-out containers with biodegradable, sugar cane-based containers.
- Ensuring all paper products used at the restaurant, such as napkins, paper towels and toilet paper, are made from recycled fibres.
In 2009, Julia and Marina were recognized for their waste reduction efforts with a Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Award.