8 Ways to Make Your Restaurant More Sustainable
In this post we will be discussing the best ways restaurants can make their business more eco-friendly.
Buying local has immense benefits for everyone because it leaves a lower carbon footprint than non-local products. Purchasing local helps cut down on transportation waste, packaging, and processing. Additionally, local businesses are more likely to reuse and recycle materials. Visit your local farmer’s market to take advantage of your local offerings. To read more check out this article!
Extend Your Mission to the Community
Doing your part to combat climate change begins with making small choices to change the way you go through a typical day, but becoming a champion for the cause means educating others on how they can make a difference. By advertising your sustainable choices, like operating on wind energy, using recyclable material, or saving water, you are encouraging others to join in the fight with you. Use Urban Farming
Urban farming has been praised as the future of sustainable farming. Urban farming is the practice of maintaining a farm or garden within an urban landscape. By placing farms closer to the restaurants using their ingredients, less CO2 is emitted in the transportation of produce. Additionally, urban farms can act as carbon sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide that has accumulated in the urban area.
Use Sustainable Ingredients
All food is not created equal. Some foods can be more harmful and damaging to the environment than others. For example, Palm Oil can be found in many 21st century foods, but it is a leading cause of deforestation in Southeast Asia. Conversely, large livestock such as lamb and beef produce more CO2 than chicken, which produces even more CO2 than vegetables. By shifting the food you sell away from high emissions ingredients, you can help to lower your restaurant's carbon footprint. For more information on which foods to avoid, see page 23 of the “Environmental Working Group’s” report on sustainable eating practices.
Food waste makes up a significant portion of local waste and the vast majority comes from restaurants. When organic waste is deposited in landfills, it decomposes and releases methane gas. Methane gas is one of the worst greenhouse gases, almost 5x worse than carbon dioxide. Save space in landfills and limit the amount of methane gas released into the atmosphere by composting your organic waste. If interested, find out more here! Use Sustainable Utensils
The choices you make in how your food is served has some of the biggest potential to make a difference. Choosing to use compostable napkins, forks, knives, spoons, and plates reduce your impact on landfills and earth’s scarce resources. Additionally, choosing to use paper instead of plastic does less harm on animals and our ecosystem. Always shop sustainably.
Buy Energy Star
The energy star program was developed to help energy efficient equipment standout from the rest of the pack. Look for the blue energy star logo when purchasing any sort of equipment for your restaurant. These products have been tested and certified by experts as being top of the line for energy efficiency in its class. The program has been extremely successful since its inception, saving the US hundreds of billions of dollars on utility bills and reducing our greenhouse gases by multiple billions of metric tons of carbon. Green Cleaning Supplies
Choosing green cleaning products for your business limits the amount of toxic chemicals released into the atmosphere. There are no regulations for cleaning companies to disclose what their ingredients are; therefore, you don’t even know what kind of horrible toxins you are releasing if you don't use green products. If you want purer and cleaner air in your restaurant, choose green cleaning products to make a positive impact.
Recycle Cooking Oil
Old grease and cooking oil that is poured down drains ends up clogging sewers and polluting local waterways. Not to mention, local laws do require proper disposal of all used grease and cooking oil. The best thing you can do is look for a company that turns your mess into biodiesel. This may not seem like the best option, but biodiesel is a whole lot better than polluted water and clogged sewers. See here for more info.
Educate your Staff
Educate your team on your mission and choice to be a more sustainable organization. In a restaurant there are numerous acts that can make a big impact. Some of these small acts are mindless, like turning off the faucet to prevent wasting water or turning off your HVAC system before closing down. Others are not so easy, like cleaning your refrigerator gaskets frequently or cleaning your air condition vents frequently, but if your team is aware of your mission, then the mindless and tough acts will become impulse acts for everyone at home and at work.
Speak to a Phoenix Energy Rep
Here at Phoenix Energy we believe in helping our clients become as sustainable as they want, whether that is choosing to operate on renewable energy, learning to compost, or educating your staff. With the way the world is changing and people becoming more focused on sustainably, forward thinking restaurants have the opportunity to attract new customers and employees. Reach out to one of our Energy Guru’s for a free consultation to see how we can help you achieve your goals.