Go green or go home! As of 2019, pollution affects more than 200 million people worldwide in so many different ways; Life expectancy can be as low as 45 years due to illness. Children are losing IQ. The probability of children being born with birth defects is only increasing, and that’s not even close to being all. Now more than ever, it’s VERY important to start making eco-friendly changes that will not only contribute to the environment and our well-being, but will actually help your business save money and draw in customers too.
With Earth Day just a few weeks away, there’s no better time to start making changes than right now. If we all lend a helping hand, our home will soon become a better, healthier place to live. Read on to learn a few simple ways your business can make sustainable changes that won’t break the bank.
The Three R’s
You’ve heard it before: reduce, reuse, recycle. Whether it’s littered or not, trash does end up in the ocean, and the discarding of non-biodegradable materials like plastic overtime has caused detrimental effects to over 267 different animal species across the globe. Now, they’re facing entanglement, plastic ingestion, and ultimately death, which is not only problematic for our eco-system, but for our own health as well. We now have to be cautious of the seafood and other animals that what we ingest, especially as plastic production and consumption are also going to double within the next 10 years.
We know it’s a bummer, but not to worry—there are a number of ways your business can help! Start small by simply giving your customers the option to recycle. Have an artistic employee help you make some cool signage to place above your designated recycling bins to catch your customers’ eyes so that it’s a no-brainer. If it comes out awesome, post a photo of it on your social media pages to get people talking. You can also encourage reusing and get some eyes on your business by getting innovative with re-purposing old materials, like other environmentally friendly restaurants have. Ever hear of cup sharing? There are already a few variations of this new trend around the globe, but essentially, customers receive a to-go cup from one location, and drop it off in a designated box at another participating spot, where it’ll then be reused again. Cup sharing is still being tested in the US, so keep it on your radar!
Energy Efficient Changes
If you’re looking for solutions that may have a longer lasting effect for your business, make the switch over to energy efficient appliances. Sure, they may be expensive right off the bat, but they’ll certainly prove to be a smart investment once you see those lower utility costs. In fact, making these changes in your restrooms alone is enough to save thousands of gallons of water and a significant amount of money each year. Start by investing in waterless urinals, high-efficiency toilets, or low flow aerators that can save you nearly $400 a year per sink. Changing out your current appliances is now quicker and easier than ever, so your business can continue to operate throughout the day as usual. In addition to your appliances and utilities, you can also purchase energy efficient light bulbs to reduce the amount of energy you’re using even more so—which will of course reduce your spending too.
Everything we purchase has an effect on the environment one way or another, whether it’s the energy produced during the production of the product, or harmful chemicals put forth in the environment once the product is used. If there was a way to purchase “greener,” more sustainable products, why wouldn’t we act on it? Consider revising some of your restaurant’s everyday purchases on the following:
- Cleaning products – Look into eco-friendly cleaning supplies that are made with better ingredients that can help improve air quality and are actually less expensive.
- Paper products – Consider napkins made from recycled paper or using thinner paper to wrap sandwiches and other items, like Subway has done. A change as small as this can save about 147,000 trees annually!
- To-go containers – If you’re still using Styrofoam to box up your food, it’s time to make a change. Styrofoam is not only bad for the environment, but it is also a known health hazard and possible carcinogen. Look for alternative to-go containers made from biodegradable materials manufactured from renewable resources.
Don’t forget about your food. Studies show that consumers are willing to pay more for local food that’s good for the planet and good for their bodies, and 57% of adults will actually look for locally sourced food when dining out at a restaurant. Simply offering dishes made with locally grown produce will draw customers in, which will eat the cost of having to potentially spend a little bit more on better quality food. And guess what? The appetite for local food is only growing stronger! In 2019, sales on local foods will climb to $20.2 billion, up from $11.7 billion in 2014. It’s not up for debate; offering local foods will only increase the likelihood of receiving more business.
Did you know that 84% of restaurant food waste gets thrown out, rather than being recycled, reused, or re-purposed? Limit the amount of non-biodegradable trash your establishment produces by switching your straws and utensils to ones that will decompose naturally. Composting your food waste is also an option that is 100% environmentally friendly and can enhance your image with locals! Since 60-80% of the trash produced by restaurants is food, you can also consider donating it. There are many local charities and food kitchens that would be happy to give those leftovers to people in need. It saves you the pain of throwing good food out, and also helps people in your community that are in need.
At this stage of the game, caring about the environment isn’t negotiable. Your efforts will make a greater impact than you know, not only by contributing to help the environment, but by also using your voice to influence your community. Make your efforts known, and your business could be the talk of the town! Increased curiosity about your establishment means more customer visits, which means more business. So, how will you make the initiative towards running a more sustainable business? Let us know on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!