In recognition of Earth Day on April 22, the National Restaurant Association’s Conserve program encourages restaurant operators to take three sustainability steps that can positively impact the environment and their bottom lines.
To help restaurants reduce overall energy use, Conserve suggests implementing a start-up and shut-down schedule, which helps operators ensure operators only use kitchen equipment and house lights when necessary. Shari’s Café & Pies, a chain with 100 locations across the Pacific Northwest, implemented this similar strategy and has saved $4,145 per year per location, according to Conserve.
This may seem like an insignificant step but drips can add up to tens of thousands of gallons per year. Between heating, water and sewage fees, fixing leaky sinks can save hundreds of dollars each year.
Conserve encourages operators to donate leftover food. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, more food reaches landfills than other types of municipal solid waste. It is estimated that 25 percent to 40 percent of the food that is grown, processed and transported in the United States will never be consumed, according to a Conserve release. The National Restaurant Association has partnered with Food Donation Connection, a non-profit that helps link restaurants with charitable organizations and offers tips for donating food.