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Going Green in the Restaurant Biz

3 August 2009 No Comment

Guest blogger Melissa Warren

My initial inspiration for this blog post comes from my insanely creative friend Bonnie Forkner. This is a girl who sends me a handmade gift every holiday, did the “green wedding” before it was trendy and plans to open an eco-friendly bed and breakfast some day. It’s not bad having my own personal Martha Stewart when I need her. Did I mention that she raises cage-free chickens in her backyard?

Bonnie recently sent me an email titled “Bonnie’s Latest.” As you can imagine, I was very anxious to read about her next project. She announced the launch of going home to roost – a blog dedicated to bringing awareness to a simpler way of life. As best described in her words, the blog “focuses on design and style, and features talented artisans, designers and eco indieprenuers. It even includes some handmade how-to’s, recipes and whole-living tips to boot.” Bonnie ended the email explaining that the main goal of going home to roost is to provide daily inspiration to her readers and allow them to feed their creative mind.

Well, it works. In honor of Trevelino/Keller officially launching Dine and Shoppe – a new social network designed to deliver smart content and innovative services in support of restaurants and retailers – Bonnie’s whole-living tips have inspired me to provide five simple tips that can make your restaurant a healthier, trendier and more productive place to run. Yes, everyone has heard “green is the new black” a million times, but have you really made the effort to research or implement green practices at your restaurant? Let me help you get started…

1. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle – This one is the most obvious; however, recycling has been a challenge for restaurants in the past because they produce a large amount of waste. Times have changed and there are now companies that come to your back door and pick up your recycling.
2. Buy Eco-friendly Products – If you want to go one step further with recycling, try to buy eco-friendly products. The demand for post-consumer and non-toxic supplies has seen such an increase in recent years, which gives you more affordable choices for items such as cleaning supplies, ink and paper and glass products.
3. Be a Local – Try to buy local food products. They are healthier for your customers and the environment. Additionally, it keeps money in your local economy. Start this effort by offering local fare once or twice a week.
4. Go Tankless – Instead of heating and storing water in a tank all day, install a tankless water heating system that heats water on-demand. Not only do these systems have water conserving properties, they save energy. According to the Grand Hall, suppliers of the Eternal Hybrid water system, customers have reported up to 50 percent savings on energy bills.
5. Start Composting – Promoted by the Environmental Protection Agency for years, composting food waste will limit your restaurant’s carbon footprint.

On a closing note, it’s crucial to do some research before you start to implement or improve your green practices, especially before promoting your restaurant as being “green.” Greenwashing, the act of promoting a product or service of being environmentally conscious without any basis in fact, has hit record highs. It’s important to be knowledgeable in this arena before you move forward.

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