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3 sustainability hacks for the back of the house

Photograph: Shutterstock

Sustainability is a hot topic among consumers and restaurant operators alike. From minimizing waste to streamlining back-of-house production processes, operators are working hard to increase their sustainability efforts—in part because consumers continue to demand it.

In Technomic’s May 2019 Sustainability & Corporate Social ResponsibilityReport, nearly three-quarters (73%) of operators said they expect sustainability and social responsibility will take on a greater role in the next two years. It’s easy to see why: Eighty-three percent of consumers say they are at least somewhat concerned about the environmental impact of the restaurant and foodservice industry, making this a continued area of opportunity.  

As more consumers decide where to dine based on a restaurant’s sustainability efforts, continuing to focus on eco-friendly practices will be key for driving traffic. Here are a few areas of focus.

Single-use plastics

Single-use plastic products, including bottled water and plastic straws, contribute enormously to a restaurant’s overall waste. For sustainability-minded consumers, knowing that the restaurants they patronize are working to minimize—or at least reduce—that plastic waste can be a big deal.

But there’s another great way restaurants can reduce plastic waste, and that’s the plastic typically associated with frying oil. Oil generally comes packaged in disposable plastic jugs, which simply get thrown out or recycled once used. By switching to a closed-loop, end-to-end oil management system, restaurants can vastly reduce the amount of plastic waste they produce.

For instance, thanks to its partnership with Restaurant Technologies, Shake Shack has eliminated 24,384 pounds of trash—the equivalent of 124 dumpsters—simply by using a clean oil management system.

Water waste and pollution

Water waste and pollution are other sustainable initiatives operators should keep top of mind. Water waste can add up quickly, and restaurants contribute more to water pollution than most operators may think.

For example, if restaurants pour oil or grease down a drain instead of disposing of it properly, that’s a big problem. Uncontrolled or inadequately controlled discharge of fats, oils and grease (or FOG) into municipal sanitary sewage systems has caused significant public health risks and has negatively impacted waterways. As a result, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed rules to address the problem, including controlling FOG discharges to help prevent sewage overflows and blockages.

Restaurants can also consider implementing a back of house oil recycling program to limit the amount of oil that needs to be discarded in the first place. With recycling programs, oil can be filtered and reused—either in the restaurant or elsewhere—rather than simply disposed of.

Oil management systems boost sustainability in the back of house

Oil recycling systems and oil management programs, such as those offered by Restaurant Technologies, are an easy way to add to a restaurant’s sustainability efforts. This simple solution helps cut down on oil and plastic waste and can also help reduce the damages caused to waterways from improper oil disposal. Learn more at rti-inc.com.

This post is sponsored by Restaurant Technologies

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