Now that you have decided you’re ready to take the green plunge the question is “where do I start?” There is not a set of green rules that will fit every restaurant. It’s important to have an understanding of where and how your establishment is using energy and water. As well as how much waste is being produced. You can easily determine energy use with the help of free online energy and cost saving calculators sponsored by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Food service Technology Center (FSTC). Water usage can be determined through monthly usage reports requested from your water provider or using the water calculator sponsored by the Food service Technology Center. Food waste should be recorded manually or through an automatic food waste tracking smart system. Once you can determine the biggest problem you will be able to build a green strategy tailored to you restaurant’s unique operations and budget.
- Set an energy efficient replacement plan for potential equipment failure. As outdated equipment begins to breakdown and new equipment is needed. Research the benefits of replacing it with energy efficient equipment. The Webstaurant is a great place to purchase new equipment. Their trained customer solution representatives will be able to help direct you in the best options available for your business.
- Perform scheduled maintenance to existing equipment to ensure proper operation. Cleaning coils and filters regularly will reduce energy cost and ensure equipment is running sufficiently. Clark Service Group offers proactive maintenance tailored to the needs of your establishment.
- Check water pipes and faucets for leaks and fix immediately. Those tiny drips add up. A small cold water leak of just under 0.2 gallons per minute fills about 10 gallons every hour, adding up to 100,000 gallons in the span of a year. This can turn into a cost of about $700 in excess water usage for the year.
- Get rid of Styrofoam. Styrofoam in most restaurants is found in the form of take-out boxes, soup and coffee cups. It never biodegrades, switch to recycled paper products.
- Install flow restrictors on faucets. A flow restrictor limits the amount of water used in hand washing sinks, on dish machines and dish sinks. This saves to 5 million gallons of water a year.
- Give complimentary glasses of water as requested. Studies show about half of each complimentary glass of water is wasted per person per meal. That’s an average of 20 billion gallons nationally every year! That’s enough to fill 31,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Starting with these low cost steps will launch your restaurant into a whole new way of thinking. Soon you will notice more things you can do to improve the environmental impact your establishment has.
Written by: Rebecca Simmons
Edited by; Carrie Hershey