Restaurant Waste Management

This resource was compiled from a Sustain article by Caeli Mazara. See the original article here.

Sort your Waste Properly

When your waste is cross-contaminated with mismanaged waste products, it can mean that the whole lot is unfit for proper disposal. Familiarize yourself with local guidelines available on your city or regional website.

Common offenders that cannot be recycled:

Containers contaminated with food waste

Soft plastics (like stand-up resealable bags)

Black plastic

Make your Waste Management Program Convenient

Have clearly-marked and separate bins for each kind of waste. 

Move bins near to areas where they’ll be needed. 

Set clear sorting standards for your team. 

Invest in Greener Packaging

Make it easier for yourself, your team, and your customers by making most or all of your packaging recyclable or compostable.

Familiarize yourself with where all your regular packaging belongs. For example, bioplastics (such as those made from corn and straw) should always be composted and not recycled, but paper products actually biodegrade faster and can often be recycled or composted depending on local rules. Doing a little research will make your life easier (and greener) in the long run.

Go Back to the Source

Think about the food that you regularly throw away, or those dishes that always come back half-eaten. Adjust menus and orders accordingly — you’ll get to save money and be an eco-hero at the same time.

Involve your Customers

If you rely on your customers to sort their own waste, remind them that you’re counting on them to do it right. 

Use tips and infographics beside waste bins to clarify your system and make sorting faster and easier for customers. 

Encourage dining in (on real plates, with real utensils), or bringing reusable cups, straws, and containers from home.