Each year, restaurants waste 11.4 million tons of food. That amounts to about $25 billion per year. It's no surprise that the establishments who churn out thousands of meals per day would waste food, but that doesn't excuse it.
Restaurants have gotten away with serving food in plastic bowls with plastic spoons for too long. Preventing waste in restaurants could save about $620 million on an annual basis. That's probably money that they're interested in keeping, which gives them a reason to literally clean up their acts.
Who Should Hold the Restaurants Accountable?
The only people who can influence a business are its customers and investors. The ones who make them money. When it comes to your restaurant, listen to your customers. They could be trying to tell you the same thing that they're telling the major corporations.
Brands That Are Making a Change
A number of brands have already started the push to be greener. They've recognized the many ways in which they create waste, and have taken steps to minimize it.
Wendy's claimed that their customers became aware of the impact that their packages have on the environment. In an attempt to reduce their impact, their carryout bags are 100% recyclable, their cup carriers are molded from 100% post-consumer waste recycled content, and their napkins are produced with 50% of the same recycled content. Recycling really is the way to go.
McDonald's also claimed that they listened to their customers about packaging waste. They hope to make 100% of their guest packaging with recycled content by 2025. They also became the first restaurant company to set a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target that was approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative.
A Few Ways to Reduce Waste
If those restaurant companies proved anything, it's how easy it is to reduce waste. Provide food servings that are just right to prevent wasting anything. Then donate any leftovers to the shelters in your area. Use hand-dryers in the bathroom instead of paper towels. The possibilities are endless. All it takes is a little effort and dedication. The environment and your customers will thank you for it.