8 Ways You Can Reduce Your Restaurant's Carbon Footprint
Restaurants and hospitality need to adopt a number of changes that can be easily made to reduce your carbon footprint and lower your ecological impact.
Businesses need to be greener as that's what their customers are demanding. The Global Sustainability Study of 2021 conducted by Simon Kucher and Partners found that globally 85% of consumers have made changes to their purchasing behaviour to become more sustainable, ‘greener’, in the last five years.
It was also found that one third of consumers are willing to pay a premium for more sustainable products, with the highest willingness being 42% in the US. There is a significant number of consumers who want to become more eco friendly and businesses need to evolve with this new mindset to avoid becoming outdated.
Reducing the carbon footprint of your business doesn’t mean giving up on your dreams or providing your customers with poor food, poor decor or poor service.
Instead, it means taking practical steps to reduce your ecological impact and lower your business’s carbon footprint. These actions won’t happen overnight, but it is entirely possible to reduce your business’s carbon footprint and lower your ecological impact.
Here are 8 ways SKOOT thinks you can reduce your restaurant’s carbon footprint.
1. Responsible Dining
In order to reduce your carbon footprint, you need to make sure that the food that you serve is as carbon-friendly as possible. Reducing your ecological impact is crucial when lowering your carbon footprint. The best way to do this is to provide more carbon-friendly dishes, vegetarian, vegan, plus looking to locally source your meat and ensuring that fish is responsibly sourced (the majority of plastic in the sea isn't from straws or water bottles it's from fishing nets).
Carbon-friendly foods are those that have a low carbon footprint during production as well as low carbon emissions during consumption.
The chart below gives you an indication of the highest GHG foods with beef being a whopping 27kg of Co2 per KG of beef, no-ones loving that, especially when compared to lentils at 0.9kg of carbon per KG.
2. Reduce Waste
Waste is an inevitable by-product of any business. The key is to reduce the amount of waste that you generate.
Hiring a waste management company is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint and limit the amount of waste that you produce. Your waste management company will help you get the most out of your rubbish and ensure that it is properly handled and safely disposed of.
Reducing, reusing and recycling are all essential ways to lower your carbon footprint. There are a variety of different ways that you can recycle your waste and if you’ve got an outdoor space or garden, composting and growing your own vegetables is a great way to embrace the circular economy.
We’re also entering a new wave of upcycling, with customers no-longer viewing refurbished goods, furniture as a downmarket or poor option.
3.Go Solar and Switch To Renewable Energy
One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to go solar.
It’s now much easier to incorporate solar energy into your business by installing panels on your roof. This is an ideal way to generate your own electricity and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
Checkout off-grid in Marseille, Le Présage is Europe's first solar-powered restaurant, 'cuisine solaire.'
But it’s also not always easy for City restaurants, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look to switch your energy provider to a more renewable source. Check out ecotricity.
4.Change Your Lighting System
Most of your restaurant’s carbon footprint is caused by your lighting system. This means that by changing your lighting system, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
Switching to LED lighting has the potential to reduce your carbon footprint by 50-70%. LED lights can consume 90% less energy than regular lights, meaning that you are saving money and lowering your carbon footprint at the same time.
5.Share The Responsibility
It's not only the responsibility of a restaurant to reduce the carbon footprint of the business. It's also that of the customers, the responsibility needs to be shared. Providing lower carbon options such as more vegetarian meals automatically lowers the carbon emissions.
Offsetting food miles and adding a green service charge, is a great way to ensure that you're doing good. Whether that's a tree for every cover, or 1 per table. Given that 1 tree in its 1st year will remove 5.9kg of carbon and the average 3 course meal is 8kg, it's a great way to easily reduce.
And with SKOOT each restaurant gets its own virtual forest. You can see what the new restaurants in Mayfair are doing with SKOOT - SKOOT.eco/manomayfair.
6. Ditch The Styrofoam & Plastic
The majority of take-away restaurant’s carbon footprint is likely caused by your packaging materials. Styrofoam and plastic are the two most common items used for packaging food, but they are both highly harmful to the environment.
Styrofoam is not biodegradable and when it is littered, it takes hundreds of years to break down. Plastic is biodegradable, but it takes many, many years to break down so is just as harmful to the environment.There are more options for cutlery and straws, other than these materials such as paper or plant based bioplastic. Styrofoam and plastics have a direct impact on our environment and should be avoided at all costs.
7. Promote Sustainable Transport Solutions
Every person turning up at a restaurant had to choose a mode of transport to arrive. Every mile someone drives is 300g of carbon. Every 28 miles you need to plant a tree to offset the carbon. Providing carpool options such as SKOOT.
Or encouraging people to walk, cycle or use sustainable public transport all makes a huge difference.
25% of all carbon emissions are from transport, so it’s likely to be a ¼ of a restaurant’s footprint.
Rewards are a great way to encourage staff members to reduce your restaurant’s carbon footprint and make changes in their daily lives that will benefit the environment as well.
Whether that’s offering say an Amazon Voucher for every suggestion that you implement that reduces your carbon footprint, or a tips bonus at the end of the night for the server who sells the most vegetarian specials.
Promote SKOOT Ride carpool App to staff, so they can split the cost of getting home at night but also reduce their carbon footprint.
We all need to take responsibility and most staff actually want to help make a positive contribution to the restaurant.
The problem of carbon footprints and carbon emissions can seem overwhelming and confusing but the reality is that there are simple small steps that can be taken that will make a huge difference.
At SKOOT we have solutions focussed solely on restaurants that are easy to implement. To find out more check out our Hospitality Solution at skoot.eco