How to be More Eco-friendly in the Catering Industry
The catering industry produces millions of tonnes of rubbish every year and is a massive consumer of energy. With increasing concerns about our impact on the environment, it’s more important than ever that businesses look to reduce waste where possible. Here, Mike Hardman from catering equipment supplier Alliance Online, explains how you can do just that.
Climate change is becoming an increasingly important issue in our lives, and we must all do better when it comes to looking after our environment. As these concerns continue to rise, consumer habits will continue to shift, and it is businesses that look towards more eco-friendly alternatives that will do better in the long run.
Whether it is the recent move against plastic straws, continued efforts to recycle and reuse goods, or changing the way we consume energy, going green is not just good for the environment, it’s also good for your bottom line. With that in mind, I’m going to walk you through some top tips to make your catering business greener.
Lower your energy consumption
The amount of energy you use is a big factor in your overall carbon footprint. But, simply being mindful of what you are using and, more importantly, what you are wasting, can have a huge impact on your total consumption. Not only will you be able to drastically reduce your carbon footprint but, with energy costs so high for catering businesses, you will also save money. You’ll likely already know ways in which you could decrease the amount of energy you use, but the key is coming up with a plan and sticking to it. If you don’t know where to start, consider getting someone in to do an energy audit which should highlight any issues, whilst suggesting ways you could improve.
Making sure that lights and equipment are switched off when not in use, turning everything off at the end of service, maintaining appliances and equipment for efficient performance are all fantastic ways to cut down on energy. But you need to train staff to be vigilant and follow the practices you put in place. It’s also worth looking at your energy supplier and seeing if you can switch to a green one. Not only will this energy be renewable, it might also be cheaper.
Cut down on waste
Hotels, pubs, and restaurants produces a huge amount of waste each year, whether that is general rubbish, single-use plastics, or food. Creating, collecting, transporting, and processing this waste takes a huge amount of energy and emits a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere. It is unrealistic to become a zero-waste business but, by thinking about what you waste and the impact it can have on the environment, you can lower both your emissions and your costs.
Food waste is perhaps the hardest to cut down, after all, you don’t want to be running out of half the menu on a regular basis. That said, you want to make sure you aren’t over ordering. Keep track of what’s about to go bad and find ways to incorporate these ingredients into specials or staff meals. To cut down on plastic waste, look for suppliers that deliver goods in reusable crates and boxes. And, when this is unavoidable, make sure you are recycling as much as you can.
Motor vehicles are some of the biggest polluters on the planet, so cutting down on how product and goods travel miles from the supplier to your business can save money and lessen your environmental impact. Ingredients that are sourced locally, either in your region or in the UK, don’t impact the environment as much as those shipped from across the globe. If you can switch to local farmers and food producers, you’ll be able to drastically decrease the carbon footprint of your menu.
The method of transportation is also an important consideration. Over 90% of all world trade is done by sea (International Maritime Organisation), a method that releases much less carbon into the atmosphere compared to air travel. The problem is that easily perishable foods from abroad, such as pineapples, mangos, and oranges, must be imported via air in order to maintain their freshness. If in doubt, the best way to ensure that your ingredients are as green as possible is to buy as much locally-grown and seasonal produce as you can.
Thinking about the environment in your business practices is well worth it in the long run, and you’ll actually end up saving money too.
Follow these tips and make your business more eco-friendly.