The importance of being more sustainable in the catering industry

Sustainability is one of the most important issues currently causing great concern for our planet, and with an increasing number of consumers demanding that businesses take action, more companies are being mindful of the impact they have on the environment.

From the much-publicised move against plastic straws to the introduction of the latte levy, businesses in the catering and hospitality industries have in the last few years been heavily scrutinised for their business operations – and they are being urged to reduce any environmental damage by utilising waste and going green.

As a fish and chip establishment with three restaurants and takeaways, we produce a considerable amount of waste across all three of our outlets – but that also applies to most other businesses operating in the catering and hospitality sectors.

Sustainability is currently such a hot topic that businesses have started setting their own goals and targets to strengthen their efforts in tackling climate change and global warming.

There are many ways in which businesses can make their operations sustainable, which includes:

Reusing and recycling

One of the easiest ways to make your business more sustainable is by reusing and recycling the materials you use – and it’s something that environmentally conscious people look out for. It is easy to commit to recycling by placing bins for different materials outside near your general waste. As a business we’re always looking for ways to improve sustainability and reduce our carbon footprint; recently we committed to becoming ‘zero waste to landfill’ – a philosophy which aims to prevent any waste material produced within an organisation being sent to landfill, in turn offering a more sustainable route to resourcing for future generations.

Training and educating your staff

Training is a critical part of any organisation’s sustainability efforts; if your staff are made aware of the reasons why you’re putting certain policies in place, they’re more likely to be fully on board and able to contribute to making the work environment more sustainable. Small and realistic ways to achieve this include encouraging staff to turn off the lights when not in use and reducing water and other electrical consumption outside of food preparation and service hours.

Utilising food waste

Utilising food waste has become an important part of business action in response to the urgent challenge of climate change. Currently around three per cent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions comes just from the methane arising from the decomposition of biodegradable waste at landfill sites. As part of our commitment to becoming ‘zero waste to landfill’, all the waste produced at our three sites in Lincoln, Sleaford and Ruskington is now reused, recycled, composted or converted into energy.

As part of this initiative we recently started segregating our rubbish into different bins including, more recently, one for food waste. This waste is collected weekly and taken to a biogas plant where it gets converted into methane gas, which either goes into the National Grid or gets converted into electricity to power local homes and businesses. Although separating all our rubbish takes a bit more time, the rewards are worth all the effort. The benefits of this method are that we’ve been able to increase recycling, lower our CO2 emissions and save money at the same time.

Going Green

As well as utilising waste and phasing out plastic, there are other ways to improve sustainability by making your building ‘greener’. For example, switching to efficient lightbulbs and kitchen appliances, switching to reusable towels instead of disposable paper towels and making sure everything is turned off after closing are all ways in which business sustainability can be improved.

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