Climate change is one of the most significant challenges that humanity currently faces. As the global population increases, as do carbon emissions. This has put an ever-growing strain on infrastructure, and is rapidly depleting our natural resources on an international scale. As production on needed goods continues to skyrocket, more and more damage occurs to the environment.
The time has come for each of us to take a hard and honest look at the way in which we treat the environment. Many current behaviors cannot be sustained indefinitely. Our natural resources will not last forever. New energy sources must be harvested, and more energy-saving and environmentally-friendly equipment must be utilized in order to accommodate our growing population and advancing technology.
Each industry has been tasked with doing its part to reduce its carbon footprint and combat global climate change, and the restaurant industry is no exception. If you own or operate a restaurant and want to do your part to combat climate change, consider these five sustainability tips.
1. Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances
The combined energy consumption from normal restaurant usage is astronomical. Most of this comes as a result of the numerous appliances that are continually running every day. Making the switch to energy-efficient appliances will significantly reduce a restaurant’s energy usage. Not only does this reduce harmful carbon emissions and lessen the strain on energy resources, but it is also most cost-effective for the business owner. The use of less energy will result in a substantially lower energy bill. In addition to replacing your appliances, there are several other small changes you can make, which will result in energy savings.
Also, the use of LED or halogen bulbs in your light fixture will reduce overall energy consumption, as will installing motion sensors on light switches. Rooms that are not in constant use (such as bathrooms, offices, and closets) do not need to be lit when empty.
2. Only Use Eco-Friendly Disposables
The use of biodegradable and recyclable packaging can significantly reduce the amount of environmentally hazardous waste your restaurant creates. These types of products are a much more reliable alternative to those made from foam or paper.
3. Adopt a Cloud-Based POS System
A cloud-based point of sale system eliminates the need for large, energy-draining computer equipment from your restaurant. It can also create a substantial reduction in paper usage, as much more information is able to be stored and filed digitally. This is also a fantastic way to get rid of those bulky filing cabinets.
Switching to a cloud POS system for restaurants is one of the best things you can do to reduce your business’s carbon footprint. And much like making use of energy-efficient appliances, the considerable long-term financial savings are a significant benefit.
4. Buy Produce Locally, and Create Dishes Based on What’s in Season
Sourcing produce locally should be a no-brainer. However, many restaurants, particularly the large chain restaurants, do not do this. Their produce is ordered, and shipped frozen to every part of the world. This puts more trucks on the roadways giving off harmful emissions and requires additional refrigeration units to keep the product frozen until used.
Buying your produce from local distributors eliminates shipping costs, and allows you to provide your customers with fresher tasting food—it is also beneficial for the local economy. Creating and serving seasonal dishes will reduce your dependency on frozen produce, and ensure you will never run out.
5. Donate Surplus Food and Start Composting Scraps
The amount of food disposed of by restaurants every day is shocking. Consider donating the unused or unsold food your restaurant generates before merely throwing it into the dumpster. There are certainly plenty of people who would greatly benefit from what is destined to become your garbage. Contact a local shelter or food bank in your area. They will most likely pick the food up daily, and you may even be eligible for a tax incentive for your donations.
Consider composting your expired food rather than merely throwing it away. If you are unwilling or unable to compost it yourself, reach out to a local organization in your area. Much like the food back, they will most likely pick it up and compost it for you.
Going Green Can Save You Green
The idea of “going green” with your restaurant may be intimidating at first. However, once you begin investigating what’s involved, the intimidation factor dissipates very quickly. It is essential that every business does its part and makes necessary changes. The environment will thank you, and so will your wallet!