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Restaurants and Taverns

Since restaurants and taverns are points of large scale consumption, recycling should be a key component of operations.

Restaurants that use disposable napkins, utensils or placemats can reduce waste volume by switching to reusable items. Many restaurants also generate sufficient quantities of aluminum and glass. Handling of restaurant waste include:

  • Recycle corrugated cardboard, glass, metals and plastic. If space is a problem, specially designed equipment such as can, glass and plastic crushers are available to reduce the volume of your recyclable materials.
  • Replace beverage bottles and cans. Most beer and soft drinks can be served on-tap, reducing both the cost of buying beverages and disposing or recycling cans and bottles. Even wine can be stored in bulk in some circumstances.
  • Replace disposable items (cups, utensils, trays, dishes and single-serving condiment packages) with reusable items.
  • Eat-in restaurants and hotels can use reusable napkins and dinnerware, placemats and tablecloths. Switching from disposables may add to dishwashing and laundry costs, but will save on the purchase of paper goods and avoid waste disposal costs.
  • For carryout and fast food, select the minimum appropriate packaging for food.
  • Buy in bulk to reduce container waste, but avoid buying too much of a product that might spoil. Buy locally to minimize transportation costs.
  • Some fast food chains are operating recycling programs for polystyrene containers. Contact your container supplier about the feasibility of such a project. (NOTE: In Pennsylvania, DART Container works with its customers to recycle polystyrene.)
  • Ask suppliers to provide you with products that are packaged in materials such as recyclable or reusable paper, glass, steel, aluminum or plastic.
  • Donate useful, outdated stock and leftover foods to food pantries, charities and shelters.
  • Collect and send used grease to a renderer.

Steps for Successful Recycling:

1. Be sure that recycling and trash bins look different from each other and are clearly marked. Both types of bins should be conveniently located in the kitchen and bar areas so that employees will use them.

2. Take time to train employees about what gets tossed in which bins. Be specific, using product names used in your establishment. For example, cans from the XYZ company get recycled, but the ABC company containers go into the trash. Make up a "Dos and Don'ts" list for recycling and post it on the bulletin board or at work stations.

3. If your establishment is self-serve, post signs letting customers know that you are recycling and what they should do with their bottles and cans. Either put out a bin for these items, or have customers leave them on a designated counter for collection by your staff.

4. Be sure that your grounds crew knows to keep yard waste separate from other waste.

5. Ask your waste hauler for advice about keeping recyclables and wet waste separate. Depending on their trucks and equipment, they may want to give you separate containers for trash and recyclables.

6. Research the feasibility of investing in a mini-cardboard baler, can crushers and glass pulverizers. This equipment will allow for efficient management of space and may increase the likelihood of favorable recycling service contracts.

7. Let your patrons know that you recycle.

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