Sure, the first point of reference when it comes to running a sustainable restaurant comes with the partners that a restaurant chooses to work with. Are they using sustainable agricultural practices? After that, one has to look very carefully at the types of materials that are chosen as part of the inner-workings of the establishment. Cups, silverware, plastic bags — if you’re running a successful operation, then chances are your place is going to be using up a lot of “stuff,” much of which might generally be cheaper if it’s less eco-friendly and ultimately, less sustainable.
So just how can a restaurant operate in a more sustainable manner? What types of things can be dealt with sustainably? Here is a brief run-down of just a few things that restaurants can consider when trying to adopt a more robust policy of sustainability:
List of Sustainable Restaurant Practices or Questions
- How do you deal with kitchen waste? Is it composted or simply thrown in the trash?
- What do you do with glass (soda or beer bottles), paper (paper cups, cardboard sleeves, old beer coasters), cans and cardboard? Do you recycle them and take the time to carefully separate items? Do you reach out to trash and recycling haulers to increase efficiency? Do you use and recycle all aluminum foil when applicable?
- Who do you pay for your power and electricity? Have you opted for sustainable wind energy program with your local utility provider? Any other kind of sustainable power program that you’ve considered?
- When you consider your hiring practices, does your hiring manager give priority to candidates who live in the neighborhood, so that they might walk and or bike to work?
- Have you considered offering a subsidy to employees, so that they might purchase safety equipment such as bicycle helmets and locks, should they opt to take their bikes to work? Do you provide them with dedicated parking spaces for their bicycles, within close proximity to the establishment?
- What kind of soaps do you use in the kitchen? Low-impact detergents, food-safe non toxic cleaners are both available for purchase. Low flow water systems are also a good way to get your business more sustainable.
- What are your take-out utensils made out of? Did you know that they are available in potato-starch, which is completely compostable? What about your straws? Take out bags? Cold or hot beverage cups? Containers and lids for soups or condiments? There are versions of everything that are suited for composting and non-plastic, you just have to do the work to find them.
- Are your paper products non-bleached and or made from partially recycled materials? Think about napkins, basket liners, storage bags that end up in the freezer, and more.
- What about your menus? Made from recycled paper? Ink that’s safe for the environment?
- Do you repair equipment instead of throwing it away, giving it a longer life cycle?
- What kinds of light bulbs do you use in your restaurant? Compact fluorescent? An even better option?
- What kind of paint did you use in the treatment of the walls?
- Did you look for recycled materials when you furnished your restaurant? What about counter tops, kitchen equipment, and table tops? Did you source sustainable materials?
- Do you use free-range meats in your kitchen, sourced from local farmers and ranchers who have also adopted sustainable practices?
- Where and how do you advertise? Do you take advantage of web advertisement over print when it’s available?
- Where and how do you host your restaurant’s website? Several hosting companies have adopted “green” practices in how they get the power to maintain server farms and locations.
[Photo Via: Cookingupastory]