As discussed in my previous blog entries (Parts 1, 2 and 3), composting is a great way to start introducing eco-friendly practices to your business. But this is just one small step toward creating a green business. As more food services become green, it is becoming more of an obligation than a choice for businesses to jump into the green movement. To get started, several small changes can be made throughout your restaurant or catering service that will benefit the environment as well as your bottom line. Here, I will show you some great products that can be used in your restaurant to help you become more eco-friendly, as well as some other tips to remember when making these changes.
Switching all of the light bulbs in your restaurant to CFL light bulbs will save a lot of energy and money. CFL light bulbs last longer than their incandescent counterpart, producing the same amount of light with less energy. LED light bulbs are also a great option for energy-efficient lighting. They save even more energy than CFL light bulbs, without the risk of mercury.Use our energy savings calculator to see how much you can save by switching to CFL energy-efficient lighting!
Bamboo dinnerware is perfect for a variety of catered events, parties, and dining areas. They are biodegradable and disposable, with a much nicer appearance than paper or plastic disposable dinnerware. Adding these dishes along with bamboo flatware to your tabletop presentation is a great way to show your customers that you are helping the environment.
Making a small change to your restaurant kitchen like switching to degradable low density trash bags can make a huge difference. Normal trash bags are not easily broken down in landfills, which can cause harmful gases in the environment from materials trapped inside them that are unable to decompose. These trash bags are made of 60% recycled post industrial scrap, and are designed to break down in landfill conditions for proper decomposing.
Unbleached dinner and luncheon napkin are a great way to show customers that you are taking an initiative toward eco-friendly practices. They are made from 100% recycled fiber and have a natural brown color. Since these napkins are not bleached with harsh chemicals, their production is safer for the environment than the production of white napkins.
Encourage your customers to be join your eco-friendly efforts by having them take their leftover food home in biodegradable or compostable take out containers. Unlike plastic and styrofoam, these take out containers can easily be broken down in trash and landfill conditions. Using these containers instead of plastic or styrofoam is an ideal way for fast food and take out restaurants to become eco-friendly!
Alleviate tons of paper towels being thrown away each day by placing hand dryers in your bathrooms and wash stations. Using a hand dryer instead of paper towels will keep a large amount of waste out of landiflls and will save you the cost of buying paper towels!
Switching products and tools in your restaurant is not the only way to make your restaurant eco-friendly. You can start buying your produce and meats from local farmers instead of mass suppliers, or even grow fruits and vegetables yourself. This will allow you to ensure the quality of your ingredients and support your local economy. It is important to involve other areas of your community with your green movement for advertising and partnering with other businesses to support your eco-friendly practices.
Although it may seem costly to make all of these changes to your restaurant, the costs are only in the short-run. After the initial costs you will start saving money on things like energy costs, trash costs, food and ingredients, and other costs like paper towels. Making your eco-friendly efforts known to your customers and the community will help you gain their support, and they may even be willing to pay a little extra at your business for being green.