Three Ways to Improve Restaurant Sustainability Practices

Bematech Blog - May 28, 2019

image of colorful straws demonstrating restaurant sustainabilityThe restaurant industry has contributed significantly to carbon emissions in the past; however consumers demanding increased corporate responsibility coupled with reports of global warming have recently prompted business owners to look closely into how they can curb waste, and the many advantages of operating a more sustainable restaurant.

Here’s how and why you can start improving your restaurant sustainability:

Address Packaging Waste

One of the primary culprits of waste is single-use plastic packaging. Plastic takes a long time to degrade. Even if you have a recycling program within your restaurant, not all plastics are recycled, and not all are recyclable.

Many top companies have started combating this by eliminating single-use plastic straws. While this is a great method, it is still just the start. Food packaging is often made of non-recyclable plastic material like cellophane, which creates substantial waste. Consider following in the footsteps of big-name restaurant giants like Starbucks, McDonalds, and Wendy’s, that have all begun efforts to increase restaurant sustainability with food packaging that uses recyclable or compostable materials.

Be Smart about Recycling

Recycling programs are the bread and butter of restaurant sustainability. There are many day-to-day items that restaurants use which can easily be recycled. QSR magazine lists out several:

  • Cooking oil
  • Grease trap
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Plastic wrappings (sometimes)
  • Plastic jugs, jars, and bottles
  • Glass
  • Aluminum cans

However, there are many items that are often overlooked, which can also be recycled easily, such as lightbulbs, batteries, empty ink cartridges for printers, printed menus, and multi-use plastic trays/baskets.

Avoid recycling pitfalls

There are some items commonly used in restaurants that aren’t able to be recycled. Items like plastic straws, grease-stained french-fry boats, insulated cups, and Styrofoam takeaway boxes all go against restaurant sustainability practices and contribute to CO2 emissions. If you can, switch to biodegradable containers and straws. If that isn’t possible, consider cutting down on the use of these by having servers ask whether or not customers want straws instead of immediately handing them out to every customer.

Use Advantages of Technology

Beyond waste from packaging and single-use items, a major source of waste impacting restaurant sustainability is from food. While it may not seem dangerous, food waste that is tossed out and left to decompose between layers of inorganic material produces methane gas, which is even more harmful than CO2.

Thankfully, technology has advanced enough to help reduce food waste. Any leftover food waste thereafter can be composted and given to farmers for better crops. To successfully cut down on waste, choose a kitchen display (KDS) that runs efficiently. This helps optimize your inventory so it can be better utilized. An advanced system can also help speed up service while simultaneously reducing wasteful errors, further helping improve restaurant sustainability.

A Global Effort

It’s everyone’s responsibility to protect the environment, so curbing CO2 emissions benefits everyone globally. When you begin cutting down waste, you develop more efficient processes that stretch your inventory further. Not only that, but you are more marketable to an ever-growing demographic that desires to align themselves with ethical and sustainable brands.

Restaurant technology has introduced solutions that help create more sustainable restaurant practices, like Bematech’s kitchen display system. To find out more about how you can leverage technology to improve your restaurant sustainability, contact Bematech today.