Reduce Your Restaurant's Carbon Footprint with these Eco-Friendly Initiatives

Consumers love to patron an environmentally-conscious business. In fact, Purdue University reports that a 66% of customers are willing to pay more at a restaurant if they implement eco-friendly business practices. If you're one of the many companies trying to improve your carbon footprint in 2019, there are plenty of ways to run an eco-friendly business.

Unfortunately, this can be hard when you work in the restaurant business. Between wasted food and endless amounts of packaging, crafting an eco-friendly business model in the food industry is nearly impossible. Nearly. Luckily, there are still simple ways to reduce your environmental impact on an individual basis.

Here are some of the easiest ways to become an eco-friendly business this year.

Start small

Even though you want to change the world, you shouldn't feel pressured to do it all at once. Making small, simple changes throughout your store is a great way to begin your journey.

If your store still uses incandescent bulbs, you'll actually save more money in the long run by switching to LED or fluorescent lighting. It might cost a little more up front, but these options last much longer and shine a lot brighter. You'll also find that you're replacing them less often, freeing up your maintenance crew for more important tasks. After all, you never want your guests to eat in the dark, even if you run a candle-lit restaurant.

You should also remember to turn off lights when you leave the room. Better yet, investing in motion sensor lights can help lower your energy consumption, especially in the bathroom and storage rooms which are only visited occasionally. For more ambient lighting both indoors and outdoors, you can utilize solar products to line pathways and set the mood in your restaurant.

Revamp your recycling procedure

Restaurants are often busy places. In an effort to deliver the best service possible, taking care of trash and recyclables are often pushed to the back burner (luckily, not literally. You don't want a fire).

However, taking the time to train your employees on the proper recycling procedure is essential. While you might think everyone knows to rinse out a container before shoving it in the recycling bin, many people have never made the effort to recycle before this job.

This is why it's vital to hold a small training session on the importance of recycling. This will help your employees to make the right decision, even during the hubbub of a busy day. For single-use plastic items, like tasting spoons and plastic containers, keep these items separate from your larger recyclables. You can partner with local recycling facilities to discuss options for these hard-to-recycle products.

It's essential to remember the three Rs of recycling: reduce, reuse, and recycle, and in that order. Recycling should be the last priority in your efforts to reduce the waste in your restaurant. Start reducing your products by partnering with companies who prioritize eco-friendly initiatives. For the items that you simply must utilize during transit, try to reuse them as much as possible. For example, frozen yogurt supplies often have plastic containers for wet and dry products alike. Use these products to hold your colored spoons, to hold spare spoons and coupons, or to set up a tip jar during the warm months of summer. Large cardboard boxes can be recycled or even donated to local shelters and churches for people looking to move to a new home.

Prioritize your paper products

The best way to mitigate plastic use is by replacing it with eco-friendly paper alternatives. Paper drinking straws are growing in popularity now that countless businesses are ditching plastic drinking straws. While you might want to keep a few plastic options on hand for your decadent milkshakes, simple drink orders will benefit from paper drinking straws. This goes double for your customers on the go who love fast service. Along with their paper drinking straws, disposable to go cups and paper ice cream shop supplies will help mitigate your impact on the environment.

While eco-friendly paper drinking straws are a great first step to limiting your plastic use, your other paper products could also use a makeover. After all, your single-use paper is set to wind up down the toilet or in the trash. Instead of investing in brand new toilet paper, your customers will applaud your use of recycled paper products.

For the picky customers, however, be sure to only use brand new paper products on tables and in the kitchen. While recycled papers are great for cleaning, recycled paper napkins and paper straws may not go over as well. Invest in fresh paper drinking straws to appease people from every walk of life.

Stop wasting water

Water is easy to come by in the United States so it's easy to ignore improper water consumption. But a leaky faucet can waste more than 10,000 liters each year -- water that your restaurant will have to pay for.

Start mitigating your water consumption by investing in new, eco-friendly products in your restaurant. This includes a new faucet, but it also means checking your toilet water use and changing up your dish washing techniques. If you haven't invested in a water-friendly dishwasher, buying Energy Star-rated appliances for your kitchen is vital.

You can also help mitigate water and plastic waste among your patrons. Many restaurants offer bottled water alternatives for customers on the go. By investing in an in-house filtration system, you can lower your restaurant's plastic use and start providing your consumers with fresh, filtered water. Serve it in a to go cup with eco-friendly paper drinking straws.

Opt for eco-friendly cleaning products

You've already invested in recycled paper products; why not take it a step further by cleaning with organic cleaners?

The restaurant business is known for its harsh chemicals which provide a sterile eating environment. Even though it cleans well, these chemicals will inevitably make their way back into our water systems and local ecosystems. On top of that, you never know when a customer will have a bad reaction to these harsh chemicals. These could result in eye irritation, breathing issues, or even skin problems in some people. Investing in non-toxic cleaners is better for the environment and your customers.

Look for non-toxic ingredients and organic options to establish a healthier, safer working environment.

Compost and donate

Restaurants are also known for their excessive food waste. If your business is filling up trashcan after trashcan with wasted food, you should consider investing in a compost bin. You might be able to donate pre-packaged food items to local charities and supermarkets, but you should definitely save your food waste for a compost bin.

Most people think that compost bins are just for gardeners, compost bins have taken the restaurant business by storm. All you need to do is put your food waste into an air-tight container. This includes half-eaten sandwiches, coffee grounds, and even some paper products. When it's full, you can take these bins to local gardens, compost facilities, or farms for further use. Don't let all that food go to waste. Donate it or compost it.

Do you want to form a healthier work environment? Don't hesitate to try these simple alternatives in your restaurant today. It might seem hard given the hubbub of the food industry, but there are countless reasons to make the switch to sustainable business practices. For the best in sustainable paper drinking straws, gelato spoon supplies, and more, rely on Frozen Dessert Supplies today.

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About the Author: Tim Porter

Tim is the CEO and people builder of In his free time, he enjoys being with his family, collecting watches, and Classic Mini Coopers.