These days, “greening up your restaurant” does not mean adding more plants to the dining areas.
But you may have trouble coming up with ways to make your restaurant more environmentally-friendly. After all, you don’t run a pollutant-laden chemical plant, a power-gulping manufacturing facility, or even a paper-producing office. So what can your little eatery do to make a difference and help save the planet?
Plenty. Here are a dozen suggestions:
- Conserve energy on a daily basis. Turn off lights in storage rooms. Don’t run the dishwasher until it’s completely full. Shut off the oven or stove when they aren’t in use. Every little bit helps!
- Encourage people to recycle. Not only does that mean putting recycling bins in the back offices, but also having cans for paper and other recyclable materials where your customers can use them.
- Nix the styrofoam. This material simply does not degrade, but rather sits in landfills forever. Instead of styrofoam cups, bowls, or carry-out food containers, use products that are recyclable.
- Clean greener. Make an effort to purchase cleaners and cleansers that are eco-friendly and/or do not contain toxic chemicals or substances that can harm the environment.
- Make straws optional. Many non-fast food restaurants only provide straws upon request. This cuts down on the amount of plastic that ends up in the trash – especially those straws which are never used.
- Use cloth napkins. If you run a sit-down or casual dining restaurant, then provide cloth napkins for your guests. Eschewing paper napkins can really cut down on paper waste.
- Embrace flow restrictors on faucets. These are attachments for bathroom and kitchen sinks that restrict the flow of water, which can help you save hundreds (or even thousands) of gallons of water each year.
- Install hand dryers. Today’s hand dryers are much more powerful than the weak-blowing ones of the 20th century. Putting them in restrooms can sharply reduce paper towel waste.
- Try to use “sustainable” foods. These are ingredients or food products that are organic (where no toxic pesticides are used) and/or locally grown (which reduces pollution created during long-distance transportation).
- Illuminate more smartly. That means replacing the fluorescent light bulbs in your restaurant with CFL or LED bulbs, which last longer and use less energy to light up your space.
- Invest in greener equipment. The next time you shop for a new dishwasher, toilet, freezer, refrigerator, stove, or oven; choose a model that is more energy-efficient than the equipment you had been using. Look for low-flow toilets or appliances with the ENERGY STAR rating.
- Buy eco-friendly floor mats. Make sure that your floor mat products utilize recycled materials in their fibers and backings.
Ultimate Mats sells many different mats that are made from post-consumer recycled drink bottles or vehicle tires. In fact, most Ultimate Mats products are made with between 10% and 20% recycled content, and a few boast a majority portion of recycled content. For more information on getting a “green” floor mat for your restaurant, visit the Ultimate Mats website today.
Image credit #3: Ultimate Mats
Written by Chris Martin