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Ways Your Restaurant Can Go Green in 2016

The New Year is the perfect time to lay out new goals for improving your restaurant. As 2016 gets underway, why not make one of those goals to be more environmentally friendly? This may seem like a lofty goal, but we're here to help with these 7 practical steps that you can take to get started.

1. Use Less Electricity

Running a restaurant isn’t exactly easy on the electric bill. Powering large appliances, lights, heating, and air conditioning can use a serious amount of energy. Despite this, there are ways to reduce your electricity usage. Investing in Energy Star Rated appliances and using up-to-date energy efficient lighting are both ways that you can save energy. For a more in-depth look at how to save electricity in your restaurant, check out this article.

2. Minimize Waste

Wasting food is another huge problem for restaurant owners. If portions are too large, customers can end up throwing away a large amount of food, and if your inventory levels are not perfect, ingredients can go to waste, too. Conduct a waste audit to figure out exactly where you’re going wrong when it comes to food waste. Use these detailed steps to reduce waste in your restaurant and watch the savings pile up.

3. Try Composting

Composting is the process of breaking down organic waste into soil. When you compost in your restaurant, you help keep plant waste out of landfills, where it would release harmful carbon dioxide and methane gas in the process of decomposing. Aside from the environmental benefits, you can save on trash management costs if you require fewer pickups. You can try composting both on-site and off-site. Contacting your waste management provider is a great place to start when figuring out which method is right for your restaurant.

4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

A lot of restaurant waste that can’t be composted can be recycled. Plastic food packaging, cans, bottles, and jars are easily recyclable, but be sure to check plastic numbers and separate properly. Talk to your waste management provider, and train your staff on the proper protocols for a successful recycling program. You can also check out this article for more information on restaurant recycling.

5. Use More Local Ingredients

When food has to travel hundreds of miles to reach your restaurant, fuel and money is wasted. Using locally sourced food eliminates waste, and is also a great selling point to environmentally conscious customers. If you’re not prepared to overhaul your entire menu with local food yet, you can try creating a few seasonal dishes based on the ingredients that are in season around you.

6. Ditch the Disposables

If you run an establishment that can’t get rid of disposables altogether, you can at least try to use less when customers dine in. Try offering drinks in washable plastic cups or glasses, and make straws available by request only (or use these eco-friendly ones). Send leftovers home in biodegradable take-home boxes, and consider using green paper products in-house.

7. Use Clean Chemicals

Keeping your restaurant clean is one of the most important parts of the business, but harsh cleaning agents can wreak havoc on the environment. By using environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals, you can contribute to keeping your local water system healthy.

Going green in your restaurant can be a challenge, but doing your part to help make the world a cleaner place can be hugely rewarding (not to mention the direct cash-saving benefits). Be sure to let your customers know of your efforts, and don’t hesitate to try any combination of these ideas in 2016. Your planet and your budget will thank you.

Posted in: Eco-Friendly Tips | By Sabrina Bomberger
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