Reduce Your Restaurant’s Carbon Footprint
Owning a restaurant means offering excellent service and fantastic food. However, restaurants, like any other business, have their own environmental impacts. From the carbon emissions of the livestock production to water used in the supply chain and the soil damage from over agriculture and aggressive farming methods to get out of season crops to the customer’s table, a restaurant’s carbon footprint can be substantial.
If you want to reduce your restaurant’s carbon footprint whilst also maintaining excellent service, read the following tips, and make your business more eco-conscious!
You’ve probably already heard of the farm-to-table movement. Most food travels huge distances, roughly 1500 miles, from where it’s produced to where it’s sold. This distance and transport cause huge amounts of carbon emissions (from the vehicles) that could be avoidable. The movement was pioneered in California, and focuses on sourcing your ingredients locally, offering dishes with in-season produce. By sourcing your food from local sources, it doesn’t have to travel a significant distance, reducing carbon emissions.
Get Rid of Straws
Many restaurants are abandoning plastic straws. Aside from being a single-use plastic item that will inevitably end up in the oceans or landfills, they’re particularly harmful to the ocean’s wildlife. If you want to serve your drinks with straws, you can easily switch to cardboard ones, use biodegradable straws, or even have metallic reusable ones.
It’s important to note that some of these decisions won’t always be popular with all customers, so always do some customer research before making any significant changes in your restaurant.
Reduce Energy Waste
You’re probably already trying to keep energy costs at a minimum to avoid hefty bills at the end of the month. Keeping energy use to the strictly necessary can also benefit the environment. Research shows the two main consumers of energy in a restaurant are lighting and refrigeration. Using energy-efficient refrigerators or LED lighting can greatly reduce consumption and therefore reduce the impact on the environment, plus save you a bit of money each month too!
Reduce Food Waste
Paradoxically, wasting food wastes energy. Not only are the resources used to grow that food wasted, but also the food itself ends up rotting away in landfills, creating methane and other greenhouse gases that further contribute to the environmental issues we see today. When you reduce food waste in your restaurant, you’re reducing your carbon footprint.
Engineer your Menu
Certain foods are more energy-intensive than others. Taking a look at your menu and re-engineering it to remove less popular options that may be more energy-intensive is a good way to reduce your restaurant’s carbon footprint. You can also offer meat-free options or even meat-free days, which are not only eco-friendly but also can lure in a whole new set of customers to enjoy your food. Menu engineering also optimizes your menu to make your cuisine as profitable as possible!
Not all food is compostable, but a great deal of restaurant food waste is. Think of things like onion peels, rinds, vegetable peelings, and other organic byproducts. Composting these items means they won’t rot away in a landfill. Many restaurants have also taken the initiative and partnered with local farms, which collect the compostable material waste from restaurants and turn it into fertile compost used for the next local harvest to produce for the restaurant, creating a sustainable, endless cycle.
Charge for Takeout Containers
Although this may annoy some customers, charging a small fee to use takeout containers will encourage them to bring their own, therefore reducing plastic waste. Customers that don’t have their own containers will still use the plastic, but they’ll definitely become more mindful of using them. This initiative has proven very effective with plastic bags in supermarkets, with many people planning and bringing their own bags to avoid the fee and be more environmentally conscious.
Select your Meats Carefully
If you still want to serve meat at your restaurant, it’s a good idea to be mindful of what kind of meat you serve — they’re not all created equal. Poultry is the meat product with the least harmful environmental impact and only accounts for 10% of emissions related to livestock. If you choose to serve other kinds of meat, look into who you’re buying it from and choose the most ethical vendor, as they’re the ones that will likely be the most eco-conscious too. This could inevitably spike up the price of a meat dish, but research suggests nowadays, most people are willing to pay a higher price for better quality, more ethical meat.
Reducing Your Restaurant’s Carbon Footprint — Going Forward
Crafting a more sustainable restaurant, one that disrupts the environment in minimal ways, is achievable. Small and consistent actions can yield tremendous results in a greener eatery!
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About the Author
Kendra Beckley helps companies enter a new market and build long-term relationships with partners. She is interested in writing articles on various topics at Buy Coursework. Kendra is also a business development manager and editor at Assignment writing services.