Green Restaurant  GroupGoing Green in the Foodservice Industry

Going green is the biggest issue on everybody’s mind, including the food service industry! With Americans spending their money on food from restaurants, it’s good to know the facts about where you’re eating.

One restaurant can produce nearly 100,000 pounds of garbage a year. The upside to this is that 95% of it is either recyclable or compostable. There are many ways for people to change their habits to go green! Restaurants use some of the largest amounts of electric energy compared to office and retail jobs. One piece of kitchen machinery uses up an amount of energy equivalent to that of a household! Thirteen percent of a restaurants energy usage is solely from lighting.

An easy way to save money with lighting is to replace your old light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs). To install 20 CFLs into one restaurant, the cost could amount up to $110. On the flip side, the money saved with using these new bulbs could save more than $560! When looking for appliances, Energy Star approved ones are where to look! They are priced lower and save you even more money to use them!

There are many other ways to save money and energy with a few small changes. In bathrooms or storage spaces, motion lights help to regulate when you really need the light on. In the kitchen, turn off ventilation hoods when they’re not in use, replace leaky gaskets in walk in doors or coolers, and only turn on the appliances and lights that you will be needing.

When it comes to water, kitchens use 300,000 gallons of water a year! To save some water, servers should only be serving water when it is asked for. Also, drippy water faucets need to be fixed! They send thousands of gallons of water unused down the drain. Replacing old spray valves on sinks can save 90,000 gallons of water. This can also lead to saving $2,200 a year, while replacing them only costs you about $55. Low flow faucet aerators also help to save you lots of money and gallons of water! They only cost about $30 each. Replacing four in a kitchen could save 173,00 gallons of water and $2,800 a year!

When you recycle one ton of paper, you’re doing a lot of good! In doing this you could save 12-17 trees, nearly 2000 gallons of water, a little over 1000 pounds of waste, 3 cubic yards of land fill space, nearly 2000 pounds of greenhouses gasses and nearly 400 gallons of oil. Many things that are recyclable are paper, glass, plastic, metal, and many other things found commonly around kitchens. Restaurants should be looking into starting recycling and composting programs. The advantages of composting would be to create fertile soil for future crops to grow.

For take out food, replace all Styrofoam take out materials with more eco-friendly compostable products. New green cleaners can be put in reusable spray bottles and taking the oil from frying machines and sending it to certain companies can change it into oil! For restaurants, napkins should either be recycled paper or cloth, to cut down on paper wastes. To lower a restaurants carbon foot print, fruits and vegetables can be bought by local growers.

It takes little steps to go green, but each step can help to create a more eco-friendly world.


Jacqueline Cook