Green initiatives are put in place to reduce carbon footprints. Anyone from a home owner to a major food supplier can follow green initiatives and reduce their carbon footprint.
There is a growing trend that sees many people are more conscious of the food they eat. And many more are inclined to go to a restaurant that supports the environment in some form. By recycling or using biodegradable containers, for example.
Food waste is a serious issue. For every meal eaten in a UK restaurant, nearly half a kilo of food is wasted – through preparation, spoilage and what’s left behind on the plate.
How to Become a Green Restaurant
By incorporating some of the following green initiatives into your restaurants practices you can begin to understand the sustainable elements that encompass what it means to be a green restaurant.
Farm to Fork
Farm-to-fork is concerned with producing food locally and delivering that food to local consumers. Linked to the local food movement, the movement is promoted by some in the agriculture, food service, and restaurant communities. It may also be associated with organic farming green initiatives, sustainable agriculture, and community-supported agriculture.
This refers to the stages of the production of food and how to maximize efficiency in these areas:
The following green initiatives explain how locally grown produce can benefit the consumer, supplier and local area.
By growing and eating locally, both the farmer and consumer can ensure that crops are picked at their peak of ripeness. You can often find that produce at local markets has been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.
Foods will taste a lot better than foods that have been stored for long periods. Also, transport costs can decrease due to seasonal foods being produced closer to where they are eaten.
Supports Local Economies
Any money that is spent with local farmers and growers stays local. It is usually reinvested with businesses and services in your community and local area.
Promotes a Safer Food Supply
The more steps between you and your food’s source increases the risk of contamination. Food produced in distant areas has the potential for contamination at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution.
Asking Local Farmers and Growers
You can ask local farmers and growers what practices they have used to raise and harvest their crops and livestock. When you know where your food comes from, who has grown it and how it has been grown, you can make a more informed decision about what food is right for you.
What to do to Stay Local
-Buying foods grown as closely to where you will eat them as possible.
-Altering your diet or menu to substitute foods shipped from far away to local foods.
-Paying attention to where your food comes from.
-Making an active decision to source the freshest foods, produced as close to your home as possible.
Choosing organic food over conventional food has many benefits. Organic green initiatives will not only help to protect the planet but can even help improve negative environmental issues.
Investing in Organic Food will help Protect the Environment
-Organic farming builds healthy, strong soil which can maintain soil nutrients and help solve erosion problems.
-Organic farming helps to conserve and protect our water supply.
-Organic farming can reduce our need for fossil fuels and helps combat the negative effects of climate change.
-Organic farming encourages healthy biodiversity.
-Organic farming results in less air pollution than conventional farming.
Biodiesel is an alternative fuel. It is similar to conventional or ‘fossil’ diesel. Biodiesel can be produced from straight vegetable oil, animal oil/fats, tallow and waste cooking oil.
Biodiesel has many environmentally beneficial properties.
-The main benefit of biodiesel is that it can be described as ‘carbon neutral’.
-Biodiesel is rapidly biodegradable and completely non-toxic. This means that spillages represent far less of a risk than fossil diesel spillages.
-Biodiesel has a higher flash point than fossil diesel and so is safer in the event of a crash or accident.
Green initiatives such as multiple restaurants recycling food waste see benefits to the local community and the environment. These benefits can be significant.
-Large-scale food composting reduces the amount of trash sent to landfills.
-As a result, less trash is incinerated and the production of methane and other greenhouse gasses is decreased.
-Restaurants that recycle food waste save water and energy and reduce strain on over worked sewer systems because less waste is sent down the drain.
-Resulting compost can generate revenue if it is sold as a soil amendment.
Restaurant owners can maximize savings on utility bills by assessing some of the most water intensive equipment used in their kitchens. Upgrading this equipment with water efficient models can save money. It can also have a relatively short payback period.
A BostonUniversity café successfully reduced its water usage by more than 48,000 gallons per year after upgrading its kitchen. With the installation of high-efficiency pre-rinse spray valves, they saw a 63 percent decrease in water use. With cost savings from water and sewer fees alone, a restaurant’s payback period for replacing old, inefficient pre-rinse spray valves could be as short as one month.
Other Green Initiatives to Think About
There are many other green initiatives that can be put in place in order to reduce your carbon footprint. Some of which include:
-Using renewable energies
-Educating staff and customers about restaurant practices
Image Sourced: Ryan Griffis