It’s safe to say that sustainability these days is more than just a pursuit, it’s a trend, and according to the IFIC Foundation’s 2019 Food and Healthy survey, it seems clear that this trend is to remain in 2019 and beyond. Just like any other sector, the food industry is not immune to it and many restaurants have responded by implementing more eco-friendly practices regarding the way they are running their business.
From food recycling and waste reduction to growing their own produce to ensure what they’re sourcing is as sustainable as possible, many restaurants are doing their best to minimise their carbon footprint, of course, without compromising creativity and flavor. But the truth is there is so much to tackle here and in light of that let’s go through some ways you can make your restaurant more eco-friendly.
Firstly, although the use of plastic bags generally went down as we are all becoming more aware of plastic’s negative impact on the environment, there is still so much that can be done about this. Considering how dependent the restaurant industry is on food packaging solutions, being mindful regarding the disposable cutlery used for takeaway can also contribute to a greener restaurant.
If you are using plastic spoons, knives and forks for your takeaway demands, it’s time to ditch these and replace them with wooden disposable cutlery. Wood is biodegradable material meaning that it will completely break down and decompose into natural elements. Unlike wooden disposable cutlery, plastic ones take years to recycled (in fact, it takes 100 years for them to start breaking down). Wood as a material is also a renewable source meaning it can be naturally replaced within some time after being used (trees can be replanted).
Another great thing about wood is that it can be composted after being used. This is a natural material that contains no harmful toxins that can be released into the environment during decomposition. Plus, composting wood is easy and convenient – just about any composter is going to accept wood a lot easier when compared to other materials. You don’t require any dedicated facilities for wood disposal, instead, you can dispose of it naturally. On top of that, wooden disposable cutlery like knives, forks, and chopsticks make for a strong and durable solution.
Apart from the wooden disposable cutlery, you should rethink your advertising methods as well. You may be using flyers just because they have been considered to be a staple form of advertising for many restaurants and bars for a long time. However, we all know that most of these flyers end up in the garbage only after a quick look. This is why you can put an end to wasteful flyers and instead go completely online – online advertising works better anyway. Instead of using flyers to promote your weekend event, you can create an event on social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram (make it sponsored if you want it to have more impact). This way you will be able to reach more people without wasting paper.
Apart from their advertising needs, restaurants can save paper by adopting a paperless system for taking orders and use tablets instead. This makes for a simple but effective solution for a greener food business. Moreover, in many busy restaurants, team members taking order often use shorthand writing so that they can take orders faster and move on to the next customer. This can result in many orders being misread by the kitchen staff leading to inevitable errors and thus to food being wasted – another problem that many green restaurants want to tackle. Although adopting a paperless ordering system is only a small piece of the puzzle, it’s still a point that worth mentioning.
Next, the overuse of electrical energy is a major problem around the world and it seems that it’s only getting more serious with the growth of the world’s population. That is why many businesses are trying hard to be energy-efficient by adopting solutions like replacing halogen bulbs with LED ones and going solar. You can do your part just by unplugging appliances or turning all of the lights off when not in use. Installing motion sensor lights in the bathroom for instance is a great idea so that they don’t have to be on all day.
Finally, it’s a commonly known fact that the food industry uses a lot of electricity mainly due to the use of electrical appliances so you can replace your old cooking appliances with new ones that have a star rating which means that they can save on the amount of energy they use. Those appliances that you no longer need or use you can sell them, again it’s all about increasing your green score.