Doing your part to become a Green Restaurant

Becoming a Green restaurant by taking steps to conserve natural resources, prevent pollution, and reduce waste. By getting everyone involved to become green is the easy way to make this happen. With Restaurants consuming a huge portion of our water and energy, not to mention the waste produced on a daily basis. Doing research on becoming Green for my restaurant, I found that there are easy ways to accomplish this without many major changes.

I have always been a supporter of buying local, but realizing a truck will travel an average of 1500 miles for you to receive

food to your restaurant when buying from a distributor. Buying local, will support the local economy, as well as offer a fresher product. Most communities have a support organization putting Chef’s and farmers together; make sure you use these resources. Most are combining their resources for marketing, and purchasing power.

Reuse when you can; use used pasta water for stock or to water your new garden, or buy inserts so that you don’t have to throw out the water after using. Try to get 100% yield out of all of your products by enlisting your staff to come up with ways to saving you money.

Lighting can be a simple solution for making a change for your checkbook as well as the environment. By replacing an incandescent light bulb with an $8 compact fluorescent that will reduce two thirds of the energy, and lasts ten times longer, and produces seventy percent less heat. When looking for compact fluorescent lighting makes sure you chose the longest life, and smallest quantity of mercury to make the biggest impact.

Take out containers would be the next easiest way to becoming a Green restaurant. While petroleum based, polystyrene foam are cheaper, but a detriment to our environment. Paper based, or products made with corn resin, potato starch, or sugar cane by products which disintegrate completely. When buying recycled, chose 100% post consumer recycled waste, and also chose brown over white. Unbleached is better.

Buying non toxic products for cleaning, trash bags, hand soaps will have a less impact on the environment. As rules tighten on improper disposal of toxic cleaning products such as chlorine bleach, ammonia, petrochemicals, and VOC’s, we need to find simple solutions to use. Improper disposal, such as pouring them down the drain, or the ground outside, into storm sewers, into trash containers are a strict violation of all municipalities.

Automatic Temperature controls are needed to set temperatures at down times, reducing your energy bill substantially. Also, monitors for your coolers and freezers to detect fluctuations in temperature in the coolers, which could and has for me, loss of product. By keeping your coolers clean, organized, and installing strip curtains will go a long way towards saving your checkbook. Cleaning condenser coils will save 25% on energy costs, as well as keep your units running longer with less maintenance bills.

By installing newer hand dryers, a casual restaurant using 30 cases of paper towels spending $1000, they could save $995 a year, and eliminate a lot of waste.

The following suggestions will be more cost outlay, but the rewards can be returned in a few years. There are alternative forms of energy, wind, solar, solar thermal that can be used, and as technology improves, so does the tax credits, and rebates.

Choosing Energy star ratings would help save part of the 80% of the $10 billion bill annually for energy for restaurants, because of inefficient cooking, holding, and storage of food products.

Ventilation; by most kitchen hoods running at full speed all day, it is said to waste about 2 billion in energy. By regulating the speed during down hours or installing demand ventilation systems one could save five thousand dollars a year per hood.

Installing old insulation with more current efficient and environmentally friendly products can save up to 50% saving on your energy bill. Two options are Lcynene, and Bio based, both are sprayed and expand 100 times their original volume to fill all holes and corners, reducing the need to caulk.

Diesel conversion – Some green restaurants are converting their engines to run on used fryer oil, the units costing around $800. Others have converted their water heaters using around 6 gallons of oil that would normally had to pay to remove.

As you can see, there is lot of ways to help the environment, not to mention can help your checkbook. Spend some time to see where you can make a difference by making your green restaurant greener. If you have any suggestionson becoming a green restaurant please send us your ideas via our "Contact Us" page.

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