Food Waste Recycling Solutions for Restaurants

by Global Trash Solutions

When it comes to lowering costs and improving your green restaurant reputation, recycling restaurant waste is a powerful step. Studies show that almost 85% of food waste in restaurants ends up in the dumpster or waste stream, while only a little over 14% is recycled. The remaining 1.4% of unused restaurant food is donated.1

With many restaurant owners facing an annual waste removal bill of $12,000-$20,000, implementing a restaurant recycling program now can save your business money almost immediately. An average restaurant produces 25,000-75,000 pounds of food waste annually.1 After you have performed a waste audit, it is possible to determine just how much money can be saved by reducing or recycling your restaurant waste.

Reducing and Recycling Pre-Consumer Restaurant Waste

Every ounce of food that a restaurant purchases which does not make it to the guest’s plate is wasted. The category of pre-consumer waste includes discarding outdated items, spoilage, trimming, and scraps produced during cooking.

Some strategies for pre-consumer food waste reduction include:

  • Monitoring fresh produce waste and ordering only the amount of fresh vegetables that can be used before spoilage occurs.
  • Maintaining refrigerators and freezers with proper layering of fresh foods for maximum shelf life while operating equipment at the optimal temperature.
  • Bulk ordering only those items that have a stable shelf life, taking advantage of sales and large orders to reduce packaging and transport costs.
  • Training staff to mark food packages with the date of receipt and rotate stock on a first-in, first-out basis.
  • Hiring chefs or cooks who have the skills to make use of every part of fresh ingredients, using vegetable stalks for soups or garnish, making toast or stuffing from day old bread, or using meat scraps for stocks or casseroles.
  • Donating items nearing the end of their shelf life to food pantries or other non-profit organizations that feed the hungry.
  • Composting or recycling any remaining organic restaurant waste.

Reducing or Recycling Post-Consumer Restaurant Waste

Once a delicious plate of food leaves the kitchen, the post-consumer waste stream begins. There are many steps you can take toward reducing food waste and restaurant trash from the dining area.

  • Provide and actively offer guests bio-degradable takeout containers for their unfinished meal.
  • Implement reusable and sanitized dishes and silverware rather than disposable plastic and styrofoam for guests who eat in.
  • Provide containers for recyclable waste for guests to use if they bus their own tables
  • Compost food scraps whenever possible. If professional services for recycling restaurant waste don’t exist in your community, you can start your own or contact local farmers who may pick up your post-consumer food waste for animal feed or composting.

Other Ways to Reduce Restaurant Waste

Container of domestic food waste

Restaurant food waste recycling is only one way to reduce the volume of trash a restaurant pays to have hauled away. Other steps your business can take to simultaneously save money on commercial trash hauling include:

  • Recycling all non-food materials including plastic, glass, and cardboard, some of which may have monetary value when properly bundled and sorted.
  • Compacting trash to reduce its volume and discourage pests.
  • Engaging guests and staff in your environmentally friendly efforts to reduce garbage while recycling wherever possible.
  • Implementing a food waste management plan specific to your needs.

Restaurant Waste Management Resources and Planning

Developing a waste management plan specific to your business is easier with an expert team who can analyze your waste production and provide solutions. Whether you need help negotiating recycling or garbage hauling contracts locally, equipment to manage your waste stream, or consultants to assist with a waste stream audit, Global Trash Solutions can help.

Not only have we created systems for recycling in restaurants, but we have also developed commercial trash compaction equipment specifically designed for compacting and recycling restaurant waste. If you are considering indoor or outdoor trash compaction equipment for your restaurant, we have the latest in designs and technology to best serve your business. Global Trash Solutions is a one phone call resource for all of your waste and recycling needs whether it is consulting or equipment, so contact us today for a no-cost evaluation of your business needs.



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