From individuals to small businesses to giant corporations, more and more of us are realizing the need to adopt more sustainable lifestyles and business practices with an eye toward lightening our environmental footprint and protecting the natural resources and ecosystems that sustain us.
Restaurants can most definitely do their part by pursuing more environmentally friendly protocols and designs. Here are a few ideas on how to do just that!
Eliminate or Reduce the Use of Plastic Straws
As this Pen to Plate Studio article notes, plastic straws are a major source of waste in the U.S., where we burn through a whopping 500 million of them each day. As we come to realize the magnitude of the problem of plastic overuse and its contaminating persistence in ecosystems (not least the oceans), more and more restaurants are taking the initiative to reduce their use of plastic straws.
That’s a step we’ve taken here at Vida & Estilo Restaurant Group: At our eateries, we no longer distribute plastic straws by default. Little steps such as this can add up to big impacts.
Install More Energy-Efficient Appliances & Designs
Replacing high-consumption appliances and lighting with more energy-efficient alternatives is another easy way to reduce your restaurant’s environmental footprint. There are also many creative ways you can cut back on energy consumption: For example, by adjusting the design and layout of your establishment you may be able to take greater advantage of natural light and thus decrease your reliance on electricity.
Choose Greener Cleaning Supplies
These days, there are many green alternatives to traditional cleaning chemicals, and making the switch can lessen your restaurant’s adverse impact on local watersheds and airsheds.
Add a Garden
Convert part of your restaurant property to a garden, or—if you’ve got very limited space—consider at least putting some herb boxes on your patio. Growing some of your own produce, besides being a genuine draw for “locavore” customers, means you’re burning less fossil fuels transporting ingredients long-distance.
Go Local in the Dining Room
On that subject, consider outfitting your restaurant with locally produced furniture and decorations. It may seem like a little thing, but shipping and transportation are major sources of carbon emissions and every little cutback in that regard can help. Plus, you’ll be supporting local craftspeople and small businesses!
Here’s to taking those small steps toward greater environmental responsibility and sustainability in the restaurant industry!