Running a sustainable and eco-friendly restaurant is important to both your customers and employees. It demonstrates your commitment to reducing the carbon footprint of your business. There are many ways to do this, including reducing waste that ends up in landfills, recycling where possible, and using fewer disposable plastics. One byproduct of running a restaurant is fats, oils, and grease (FOG). Properly disposing of FOG is beneficial to your business since it avoids costly clogs and cleanup and is good for the environment since it stays out of local sewage systems. SeQuential works with retail food establishments across the United States to collect and recycle used cooking oil. Here, we discuss easy ways for you to make your restaurant more eco-friendly.
1. Improve Water Quality & Create Renewable Diesel
An important element of environmental stewardship is protecting water quality. Keeping FOG out of sewage and water treatment systems is easy with the services offered by SeQuential. We collect used grease from restaurants, which our parent company Neste refines into renewable diesel. Our customers can simply and safely place used cooking oil in secure containers for pickup. We also offer services that include regularly pumping your restaurant’s grease traps. Complying with local regulations, contributing to the creation of less polluting diesel fuels, and making it easier for your staff to clean up FOG are all steps toward running a more sustainable business.
2. Recycled Products and Eco-Friendly Takeout Containers
There are several ways your restaurant can reduce the amount of plastic waste it generates. When possible, be sure to purchase food and other products in recycled packaging. When it comes to your takeout business, it’s important to re-evaluate your use of plastic there as well. Alternatives to conventional takeout containers include:
- Drinks in aluminum cans or glass bottles
- Paper straws
- Compostable and other biodegradable materials
- Reusable containers
Reusables are possible in many locations, such as from startups that collect containers from customers and wash and return them to the restaurant. Local regulations may also guide recycling requirements.
Take an extra step and educate your customers about how to recycle takeout containers from your restaurant. Let them know that you recycle as much as possible in the restaurant. These are the types of initiatives that your eco-conscious customers will want to see.
3. Support Local Farmers and Food Producers
While this might seem daunting at first, you can create business relationships with local farmers and food producers. Once a system is in place, both you and your customers will appreciate the quality and freshness of the ingredients. Restaurant chefs and owners may even be able to influence crop choices or arrange for a seasonal supply of ingredients.
Seek out producers of local food items, such as honey, maple syrup, flavored salts, and baked goods in your community. By featuring these goods on your menu, you are helping to support a local, environmentally-sound economy. These systems reduce pollution from transportation, encourage good farming practices and land conservation, and let your customers know you care about their ecosystem and health.
4. Control and Compost Food Waste
Food waste is a global problem that you can tackle in your restaurant. If customers routinely leave food on their plates that they aren’t taking home, consider reducing portion sizes. It’s also important to evaluate kitchen practices for the efficiency of ingredients. For example, certain food scraps can be used as part of soups or sauces. Make sure your kitchen is utilizing every part of the seafood, meat, vegetables, and fruits where possible.
Another way to impact food waste in landfills is to compost it. Take advantage of municipality-wide opportunities for composting or encourage local officials to set up initiatives. Composting is sometimes possible at the restaurant, depending on your location and situation. Sometimes food waste can provide feedstocks to local farmers as well. Whether you are instituting stricter guidelines in the kitchen or composting food waste for a restaurant kitchen garden, you’ll spend less on garbage pickup and help to reduce landfill size.
Promote Green Living Practices to Customers
Don’t be shy when letting your customers know about your eco-friendly business practices. Customers want to support sustainable living. They may even be more likely to recommend your establishment, as will local food producers that you feature. Business owners who honestly promote sustainability by reducing carbon emissions and plastic waste or by working with the local agricultural community will be met with enthusiasm from customers who are also trying to reduce their impact on the planet.
Start Sustainability Journey with SeQuential
SeQuential offers simple solutions to help make your restaurant more eco-friendly. This includes recycling used cooking oil, which is then turned into renewable diesel. We provide customer resources to help make the process easy to learn and implement. While based on the West Coast, we serve retail food establishments and commercial kitchens throughout the United States. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how your restaurant can reduce its carbon footprint.