Earth Day is on Sunday, April 22nd, and what better time than to bring you tips on how to make your restaurant more environmentally friendly! Sustainability is becoming a bigger trend in the hospitality industry. Not only is this important for our environment but also an opportunity to save money! We’ve teamed up with restaurant waste reduction company, Terus to brings you hot tips on how you can reduce waste and save money.

1. Get rid of straws

Did you know 500 million straws are used in the US every day? Not only are they used for only about 10 minutes, but they are also not recyclable and sometimes end up in our oceans. Going strawless will not only get guests excited (because going plastic-free is something they’re demanding now more than ever) but you’ll also save money! How much are you spending on straws each month? That’s exactly what you’ll save.

2. Switch to LED rechargeable candles

Some restaurants feel strongly that candles should be real flames for ambiance. But there are three reasons LED rechargeable candles are a better option! First, they are not a safety hazard, unlike single-use disposable candles. Secondly, single-use disposable candles like liquid oil ones (with a plastic/metal casing) are often discarded with a little bit of oil still left in them, which means they are considered hazardous waste, and often cannot be recycled. Finally, restaurants are spending a lot of money on candles that are used for one night then discarded. Switching to LED rechargeable candles are a one-time investment that can last up to 5 years. For one restaurant Terus worked with, this switch showed a savings of $1,800 in the first year. Plus you can hide the fact that they are fake with covered/frosted candle holders.

3. Avoiding food waste

Did you know 15% of the food in landfills is from restaurants? Not only does this have an impact on our environment, but that’s food that could go to those in need! If you consistently have food that could be donated, or even a one-time event, donate your food to Second Harvest to avoid waste and help feed those in need. Many restaurants think they are liable if they donate food, but you are not liable for any risk associated with your donation. Second Harvest food donors are protected by Ontario’s Donation of Food Act 1994.

Another great option is to list any food you have leftover at the end of the day on Feedback, to be sold to guests at a discounted rate. Make money off of items you would have thrown out!

4. Invest in reusable coasters

Some restaurants like to use coasters to get their branding out there. But many restaurants are discarding them after only one use! Not only is this incredibly wasteful, but that’s a lot of money you’re consistently spending on something that is used once then thrown out. Invest in some reusable coasters! It will cost a little more upfront, but you’ll save money in the long run. Plus they can be even more impressive than the disposable ones. Check out these gorgeous wooden coasters at Pray Tell in Toronto!

5. Switch to recyclable/biodegradable takeout packaging

Along with the trend of going plastic-free, guests are demanding more environmentally sound packaging and less disposables in general! First, don’t include napkins and cutlery in takeout packaging unless requested. Takeout is often consumed at home where they have cutlery, so including cutlery can be pointless and it ends up being a waste of your money. Secondly, switch to packing that can be recycled or composted. For example, did you know black plastic cannot be recycled in Toronto? Time to switch to a different color! Check out Green Shift, which has a wide variety of more environmentally sound packaging.

All of these initiatives are also great opportunities to get your excited about how you’re reducing waste so advertise it on social media. Happy Earth Day!

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Lucy Cullen


How to, reduce waste, Restaurant, save money, Tips,