Recycling and sustainability- the past the should’ve been our future

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

This is the new future and should have been the past as well. But we are not here to bicker about it, we are here to make money out of making the planet healthier, or at least not adding to today’s pollution

ACCORDING TO THE NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION:

65% of restaurant operators have recycling programs in place

60% of consumers prefer restaurants that recycle

51% of diners will even pay more to eat at an eco-friendly restaurant

Today society is changing, new generations prefer to buy and spend money on ethical products and establishments that are known to be sustainable. As a business you need to stay relevant for your guests. 

And here we come again to “Investment”. I know, it’s everywhere. What can you do about it? You need to put in your time and some money, but the reward will be big. You will have a new marketing niche where you can have visibility regarding how eco friendly your business is and this will attract people that weren’t considering coming before.


So let’s start and make some changes !

1. Have an assessment of the current situation

Take into consideration all processes, all products, all objects that you are currently using or making and write down all the waist that is coming out. Divide them in three categories. Reusable, compost and to throw(recycling bins). 

Reusable are the ones that you can have a second product with. You give them a new purpose.

Like fresh fruits that are 1-2 days old and not selling can be the smoothie of the day, ingredients for cake, frozen fruity ice cubes that are fancy in your glass or jam. For this you need to keep in mind the health of the consumers regulations of your country.  Croissants that did not sell that morning can be transformed into the next morning “baked french toast” and so on. Play with ingredients in your menu and do be afraid to add specials. 

Old fancy cups or old liquor bottles can make for tasty decorations. 

So and so forth, creativity is the limit. 

Compost is easy. A bin full of the compost materials that are defined as so in your laws(can be different from country to country). A lot of recycling companies will give you a special bin only for that. BUT if you want to help even more, make a partnership with a local farmer that is in need of some compost. You can give it for free(the nice way to do it) or make a contract that increases your profit(good for the business). 

The waste that can’t be reused in any way must be thrown out. So let me paint the picture of yellow, blue, black and orange bins. Yes, you know what I am talking about. Is the Powerpuff girls with a twist of the recycling world. This is usually set up with a recycling company. 

If you have an open space where guests can discard their trash alone you should be specific about what can go where. Use a tasteful picture, a small list but make sure it is visible, be available if people want to ask questions and make sure your staff is prepared to answer them. 


2. Chance the single use supplies. 

This is where you invest money. Dreadful, but keep in mind, you will end up spending less over time not needing to restock so often. 

To change them entirely is not always available as an optional so at least change them with biodegradable supplies and increase the price of the end product that you are serving. People are willing to spend more money on something that is not harmful for the environment and they will also feel good about it. 


3. Order from local farmers/shops or make it your own

Find companies that are trying to be sustainable and have a recycling program and make a partnership. To have less waste try ordering products that are not in a carton box, wrapped in plastic, and transported in a plastic bag and all of this put in another bigger carton box for security. Pick your vegetables from a local farmer or farmers and have seasonal food. Have your bread delivered from a local bakery straight to your place or even better make your own bread. Go to a spice shop and refill all your jars with the necessary spices on the spot rather than have them come in individual packaging. 

Making products in your own kitchen rather than ordering, can increase your revenue and make you spend less on your supplies. 


4. Transport of the products

Is something that sometimes you can influence and if it stays in your power choose to be eco-friendly and drive electric. Why? Because it is cheaper and attractive to you guests.


5. No headaches 

Make someone else responsible . This way you will have a win-win. No stress about the recycling process and you empower someone else. Make the rules clear and the person in charge is reliable and implicated. Now lean back and enjoy the rewards. 


Tips: 

  1. Have a pick up policy/ delivery for the last hours of the establishment being open. Like this you can sell the soup that you made for the day, pasta that you had left over or make boxes with a little from everything. Instead of throwing them you can sell them for half the price. 

  1. Evaluate your inventory. Make sure that your food doesn’t sit for too long in storage. Store your perishable ingredients properly. Being organized and smart about it can save you a lot of money.

  1. Give to food away. Instead of throwing it at the end of the day give it to you staff or help people in need. Donate it to an orphanage or homeless shelter. Give away ingredients that are quick tot expire and you have no use for. 

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