Restaurants aren’t usually considered among the most environmentally friendly businesses out there. When we think about them, we tend to think of absurd amounts of food waste, as well as water and energy waste. We think about all the food-related activities and energy use we have at home - cooking, refrigerating, washing - and multiply is many times over. Restaurants don’t seem all that great for the environment at all.
But if you’re running a restaurant, or plan to at some point, you’re not doomed to be running a business that isn’t eco-friendly. It’s not the easiest thing in the world, but running an environmentally-friendly restaurant is definitely possible. Those running a restaurant shouldn’t just aim to improve their business in this area because it’s better for the planet, but because it makes a lot of business sense at the same time. It can save you money, as well as help you provide better products for your customers.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the best ways in which you can make a restaurant much more friendly to the environment.
If you use sustainable foods - produce that is local and organic - then your restaurant is already going to be much better for the environment than most of your rivals. It helps in a variety of ways. Getting your romaine hearts from local produce growers, for example, helps reduce the amount of transport needed to get your produce. Local produce growers are also much less likely to use certain chemicals that harm the environment in order to make the produce last longer, because they’re able to sell it to another party almost as soon as it’s ready. Local ecosystems won’t be so harmed when you go sustainable - plus, fresh food is going to help please your customers more, anyway!
Organic cleaning products
Restaurants use insane amounts of cleaning materials. Tables need to be cleaned, spills need to be dealt with, kitchen mess needs to be removed as soon as possible… you end up using a lot of cleaning fluids and sprays to help keep things hygienic. Dish soap, hand wash, bleach, all-purpose cleaners… these things are in constant use at a restaurant. But a lot of the items used to clean restaurants (and homes, for that matter) aren’t very good for the environment. They release a lot of toxins and harmful chemicals into the air. You might want to have a look around for cleaning products that are built or organic or natural materials. This also helps reduce your total carbon footprint because their manufacture is much less harmful to the environment, too.
Reduce water use
A busy restaurant always has piles of dishes to wash. There are always mountains of them, and they never seem to reduce in number until the restaurant has closed. So there tends to be a lot of running water. Water waste in the restaurant industry is among the highest of any business, and it’s essential that you tackle this. One thing you should remember is that most of that water doesn’t actually end up doing anything; only some gets used to wash dishes, whereas most of it makes contact with nothing and goes down the drain. Installing flow restrictors helps give you more control over water use!