Many businesses today are becoming more eco-friendly, as they understand the impact on the environment from their production processes, materials they use for packaging and the like. Restaurants and diners are no exception, and they too may want to reduce waste and also bring in customers who are looking to frequent businesses that are as eco-friendly as possible. Note a few tips on how to do this for your restaurant.
1. Use recyclable bottles and bulk ingredients
You may find a restaurant supply store that allows you to bring back supply bottles and have them refilled with condiments, spices and the like. This cuts down on waste and may even be a cheaper option than buying items in new bottles and jars.
At the very least, you should always buy your bulk items in recyclable bottles and ensure your kitchen staff recycles them when they're empty; provide recycling bins and find a recycling centre near your location so you can bring them in as often as needed. Remember that virtually every type of plastic as well as glass can be recycled, so encourage your kitchen staff to be vigilant about putting empty containers in the recycling bin and not the trash.
2. Avoid plastic serving pieces
Even if you have a small diner, avoid plastic serving pieces for your customers and use real flatware. You can probably save hundreds of pounds or kilos of waste every year, if not every month, by using real flatware and cups rather than plastic forks and spoons, paper cups and so on.
3. Look for post-consumer waste recycled materials
When buying items that do need to get thrown out, such as napkins and paper bags, look for post-consumer waste recycled materials. This refers to materials that were already used by a consumer and then recycled to make those paper bags and other such products. The higher the percentage or content, the more recycled material that is being used in those products.
4. Use recycled pieces for artwork
"Upcycling" is a term that refers to reusing old materials but in a new way, and it's commonly done for items that would be trashed but are instead turned into artwork or practical pieces. For example, you might find car tire rims that are cleaned and polished and stacked on each other with a Plexiglas top for tables; these are a very fun look for a diner. For a more traditional look, reclaimed railway ties can be stacked for planter boxes. Advertise to your customers that your location has upcycled or reclaimed pieces for art; not only do you keep these items out of landfills, but you also draw in customers who want to frequent businesses who are making eco-friendly choices.