For many restaurants and other food service establishments it can be a difficult task to manage waste. Luckily, most of the waste that is created is organic matter and can be dealt with in an environmentally friendly way.
According to the EPA, food makes for the majority of waste in landfills, accounting for 21% of the total waste.
In the US, approximately 33 million tonnes of waste foods are sent to landfills each year. While some landfills are designed to harness the methane that is a result of this food entering landfills, most are not. That means that most of the methane from the decaying waste food is released to the atmosphere, hastening global warming.
As a result it’s important for everyone to consider how they impact the environment but even more important for commercial kitchens.
Here are a few ways that your commercial kitchen can benefit:
1. Take a good hard look at how much waste you are producing.
Take into account the different types of waste your restaurant produces and try to make a good estimate of its volume.
2. Encourage your staff and customers to recycle.
Use biodegradables instead of Styrofoam and plastics. Utilize reusable napkins and cleaning cloths.
3. Reduce the general amount of items that are not consumed.
That extra mint leaf may look lovely, but that’s a resource that can be utilized elsewhere.
4. Compost waste food and food products.
If you don’t have the manpower to start up an intricate composting program, purchase an automatic biodigester. These commercial kitchen composters quickly and efficiently compost waste food and turns the output into a nutrient rich liquid. This can be used for watering your fauna or it can be diverted directly down the sewer.
5. Recycle the packaging that food comes in.
Anything from the cartons to the pallets that the products come in can usually be reused. Contact your supplier, they will be able to direct you on how to best approach this.
Each of these practices will help to reduce your carbon footprint and divert tonnes of waste from landfills each year. Often it is not only better for the environment but more cost efficient as well.
Not sure how to get started? Check out this guide from the EPA.