As a restaurant owner, your primary goal is to provide customers with delicious, well-prepared food. But that does not mean you can't have a secondary goal of doing so in the most eco-friendly way possible! Preserving the planet is a goal that everyone needs to work together to achieve, and as a business owner, you have even more opportunities to do so. Here are three ways to make your restaurant more friendly to the planet.
Employ An Eco-Friendly Grease Removal Company
Especially if you have deep dryers in your restaurant, you probably have a lot of grease waste. Wouldn't it be great if that grease could be cleaned and recycled for other purposes? Contract with an eco-friendly grease removal company, and that's exactly what will happen to your leftover fat and oil. These companies collect grease from your fryers and other cooking equipment, clean it, and convert it to methane that can be used to generate electricity or heat for cooking. Methane can also be used as a fuel for some trucks and cars.
Many eco-friendly grease removal companies will also clean the grease traps in your plumbing system. This is a very important task to stay on top of since clogged grease traps can lead to plumbing backups. (Also make sure your kitchen drain does have a grease trap so you're not sending endless grease into the sewer system where it can cause environmental damage and nightmares for sewer workers. A plumber can install a grease trap if you don't have one already.)
Keep Your Coolers and Freezers Well-Sealed
Walk-in coolers and freezers are a big source of energy waste for many restaurants. The doors may not seal well, forcing the appliance to use extra electricity to stay cool. Your employees may also be lazy about closing the doors behind them completely. While electricity is sometimes seen as "green energy," you should know that about 30% of electricity in the U.S. is generated by burning coal, and 33% by burning natural gas. Both of these processes release greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide, so the less electricity your appliances use, the better it is for the planet.
Check the gaskets on your coolers and freezers regularly to make sure they are not worn or torn. If they do show signs of damage, replace them to ensure the appliance seals fully. Also check latches to ensure they're operational, and remind employees to minimize the number of times they open and close the freezers and coolers.
Buy More Food Locally
One of the best ways you can reduce your restaurant's carbon footprint is by purchasing more of your food from local farms and companies. When you buy food from far away, a lot of fuel is burned in order to transport that food to your restaurant. Buying from just across town or even a few counties away reduces fuel consumption and the resulting pollution.
If you're not sure where to find produce locally, start by looking for farmers markets in your area. Show up and talk to some of the farmers. Ask if any of them would be willing to contract with your restaurant and supply a certain amount of produce on a regular basis. Most farmers will be more than happy to have a regular, dependable customer, as long as you are willing to work with them and understand the seasonality of what they can supply.
Whether you have a large restaurant or a small cafe, you have many opportunities to do better for the planet. Start with the ideas above, and move forward from there. By recycling your grease, reducing energy waste, and sourcing more food locally, you'll make a big difference. For more information, click here.