To really make your restaurant stand out, replace your old take-out or to-go containers with more environmentally friendly and biodegradable containers. Get rid of styrofoam and polystyrene foam completely! Those take thousands of years to biodegrade and are made from harmful chemicals.
Look for containers made from potato or corn starch, recycled content paper products, bamboo, grasses, even leaves. Your customers will appreciate the effort, and the containers won't waste the planet.
Here's how you start an Eco To Go Program:
1. Post a sign up in your restaurant and on your website alerting customers they can start ordering this way.
2. Educate your employees about what "Eco To Go" means, what to include and what not to include. If the customer doesn't specify when placing the order, have your employee ask, "Would you like your order Eco To Go?" At first your employees will have to explain what it means, but eventually everyone will catch on.
3. Follow up. Make sure your employees are adhering to the policy and keep educating customers on reducing waste.
4. If you haven't already done so, look into buying biodegradable To Go containers that are much more environmentally friendly.
Making sure that organic (food) waste doesn't enter the landfill is the most important thing that restaurants can do to reduce their carbon footprint. About 30% of food is wasted nationwide, and that figure is higher in restaurant spaces. When organic waste decomposes in a landfill space, it releases methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) and the nutrients are not returned to the soil.
Here are a few local companies that will pick up your food waste and turn it into nutrient rich compost that helps improve soil quality: