Making Restaurants more Sustainable?

Hello!

I’m seeking opinions on whether or not something is green washing or not. I live in the northeast, and my mother is working to make restaurants more sustainable. A big dilemma she’s in is that all the sustainable replacement for paper/plastic cups and other single use disposables are at least double the price, and I’m not even sure how much of an impact they have.

I live in the northeast US, so there is no commercial composting available on this side of the country. So all “compostable” options just get thrown away and sent to the landfill. Which I’ve heard can be even worse than plastic due to the methane released. But I also think it’s a positive factor that these sustainable items are generally being made from renewable sources, so at least it’s not supporting the production of brand new plastics, and creating micro plastics? I’m still not sure if the pros outweigh the cons though to make the price worth it.

I know that finding ways to get people to reuse things is the best, also starting a petition in the city to start a composting program and helping educate the community is a good idea.

Do you have any experience with this that can maybe help my mother?

Thank you guys!

1 Like

There are many farms in my area that offer compost drop offs (sometimes even pickup!).
I would look into that and just networking with local farmers for wholesale produce, etc. https://compostnow.org isn’t in my area yet but you can check yours! Working with local farms cuts the middle man in the transportation process and you can also build a relationship with them - they take the compost, you buy the produce made by the compost. It’s a nice little closed loop system that enriches the community!

1 Like

My area is not in there, but I do compost in my own house and we use that to fertilise some of our plants, trees and flowers around our garden.

Restaurants can grow some of their own produce. I know of a chef who has been growing both exotic and endemic plants for use in his menu. Foraging is also possible and has been implemented by many restaurants for several years.

https://foodtank.com/news/2018/10/21-chefs-bringing-foraged-ingredients-to-the-table/

Easiest are the perennial herbs. Thyme, rosemary, and sage would be great candidates to start with. In my local market, they have rosemary in pots. They harvest fresh cuttings whenever someone buys from them. When enough cuttings have been harvested, they take away the pot for a new one and the other is sent back to the farm to regrow. Restaurants can easily do this even if they have little space. This has the benefit of the herbs being real fresh and do not come in little plastic trays.