As a nation, America wastes a lot of food. Despite the fact that 77.2% of Americans say they feel guilty when they throw food away, that doesn't stop us from doing so. In 2015, approximately 27 million metric tons of food from U.S. homes were wasted. That same year, the value of all food waste from American households, businesses, farms, and manufacturers was roughly $218 billion.
Restaurants are becoming more aware of and understandably concerned with the amount of waste they generate -- from both a financial and moral perspective. They are taking major steps to track and reduce their food waste in an effort to reduce costs, improve sustainability, and give back to local communities. But are they doing enough?
Recycling initiatives can reduce the amount of waste produced, allowing restaurants to make better use of their resources and keep garbage out of commercial waste bins and landfills. A recent sustainability report by the National Restaurant Foundation found that nearly two-thirds of restaurant operators already recycle cardboard, paper, fats, oils, or grease.
Many restaurants also use at least some packaging that contains recycled materials or that can be composted. While some of this packaging could cost a bit more upfront, using it will ultimately allow restaurants to save money in other areas (like on waste management services). Still, a significant percentage of restaurants are not properly recycling basic items like aluminum, plastics, or glass... meaning that these easily recyclable items often unnecessarily end up in the landfill.
Food tracking is also an important part of waste reduction. Nearly half of restaurant operators track food waste as part of their operations, with nearly 75% of operators who track waste generation doing so on a daily basis. Restaurant chains and franchises are most likely to partake in daily tracking. Tracking the amount of waste that ends up in their commercial waste bins can allow restaurant operators to see where they can cut back or divert that waste. If restaurants are able to direct that food waste elsewhere -- through food donation or composting, for instance -- these organizations can save money on waste collection, put resources back into their business, garner positive press, and provide aid to local agencies.
That said, the majority of operators that track food waste do so by hand or general estimates. Only a small number of operators use waste-specific software or smartphone apps to perform tracking. Dumpsters are typically serviced at 60% or below fullness levels, on average, and utilizing available technology could allow these establishments to save even more due to more efficient waste collection methods.
Partnering with waste removal services that offer high-tech monitoring of commercial waste bins can allow these businesses to cut costs even further and to take their commitment to sustainability to the next level. Enevo utilizes its patented sensor technology and advanced analytics software to ensure commercial waste bins are only collected when they need to be. Then they partner it with their dynamic routing software to run their waste removal trucks as efficiently as possible, driving the fewest number of miles while avoiding dumpster overflow. This keeps waste operation costs and carbon emissions low. Coupled with data-backed methods to track waste production along with the incentive to reuse, recycle, and divert as much waste as possible for maximized savings, Enevo’s technology and waste services is a highly effective tool for restaurants that want to prioritize saving money and the planet.
Environmentalists will likely find it encouraging that restaurant operators are shifting their focus towards sustainability. But in so doing, they're actually helping their businesses, as well. Protecting and giving back to the environment is noble and serves their own interests. By reducing the amounts of trash that ends up in their commercial waste bins, restaurants stand to save a substantial amount on removal fees with Enevo. That, in turn, requires these establishments to implement more sustainable strategies.
The bottom line: your restaurant waste is likely costing you a lot more than you think. But you'll never know exactly how much unless you partake in tracking and monitoring methods, like Enevo’s. For more information on how our innovative sensors and take on waste removal can allow your restaurant to save money and further your eco-friendly efforts, please contact us today.