Have we ever thought that we sometimes practise some huge habits that have some major long-lasting impacts on our environment? Restaurant operations seem simple enough. After all, it’s just food, right? Prep. Serve. Consume. But where does it go when you don’t like it? What happens to the wrong orders? Half-eaten plates? The answer is quite simple really, and most of you might already know the answer. It goes to the trash which inevitably ends up in landfills.
There are plenty of opportunities for mishandled trash to become a bigger problem. From the process of taking the trash, the bag could be heavy causing lifetime health concerns issues, or the bag could spill or break creating a slippery spot on the floor. In addition, too many trips to the dumpster can invite unwanted critters or insects into the kitchen leading to consequences to health and safety issues for employees or customers. This is important to notice since these critical insights can help you make the changes to prevent further waste from being produced at restaurants. You can implement best practices to eliminate excess waste from being created at all. For example, is waste being generated mostly from the dining room cleaning staff, packaging waste from suppliers or scrapings from customers’ plates? Try ordering less food or taking less on your plate if you are at a buffet restaurant.
Food waste reduction starts with commitment. Restaurants must dedicate themselves to eliminating waste in every possible way. Some solutions that restaurants are currently working on besides the rise of online ordering or technology taking over to create a more zero-waste and eco-friendly restaurant include:
Organize The Fridge
Placing produce or contents that are more likely to expire first and understand that these items must be used before anything else to prevent throwing away more food. Restaurants can create or print out labels to help organize their fridge. It is vital to make sure food is properly stored. Inconsistent temperatures will cause food to prematurely spoil.
Instead of throwing away vegetable scraps, Restaurants can consider creating a compost bin or find a way to include the stems as a part of the dish. For example, use the stalks and skins of fruits and vegetables to create a new side or puree for a dish. In addition, another possibility is to use leftover meat and bones to create a delicious soup broth or gravy.
It is always good to give back to the community, especially those who do not have enough to eat. Having a ton of excess food, restaurants/chefs consider donating it to a food bank or shelter. In addition, giving almost expired ingredients to buy would help consumers limit their waste and the restaurant’s waste.
Audit Your Waste (Take Notes)
Understanding how something is formed or caused is already 50% of the answer and the solution. Trying to understand where the waste comes from is important. Employees/ staff can be Monitoring work to see if the waste is reducing or try implementing another plan. With a better understanding, new and smarter habits to eliminate waste can be established.
A common rising issue in restaurants is confusion and lack of clarity in implementing a recycling program. Recycling programs can even add to the employee’s satisfaction based on a study that was done. Trash is inherently messy, but a solution for restaurants would be to partner with waste services providers. However, we can also take smaller steps on our own by recycling items that we get from restaurants and placing trash in the ride stations. There are a few changes that can be taken to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle in restaurants! Practicing the same tips above can help you live a zero-waste lifestyle! Move your old items to the front of your fridge and pantry. And when you can, donate to people in need. Even if you don’t want the food, many will be graciously pleased with your donation.
About 690 million people globally are undernourished. The rate of stunting (children too short for their age as a result of chronic malnutrition) fell from 33 percent of children under age five in 2000 to 21.3 percent in 2019 according to Action Against Hunger. A global crisis that needs immediate attention, here at Green Schools Green Future, we came up with an environmentally friendly solution. Through the use of vertical farming and aquaponics, there will be a production of food for the students, the surplus of the product being sold back to their community and total revenue earned will be put towards further expansion and expenses of the school. Students will have enriched learning while also learning soft skills that will develop their character through learning how to prepare their own meals.
Do your part to reduce waste and save the planet. It will take more than one person to make a change of this magnitude. It’s not enough for upper management to analyze and implement changes – bottom line, it starts with each one of us to end food insecurity through our choice of restaurant.
Written by Sarah Syed