Most of the time when the words ‘food’ and ‘sustainability’ is put together we automatically think about the food we are eating, which is a topic in itself and is something we should all be familiar with as the market gets diluted with mass production and profit focused sales.
Although I am taking it one step further by digging a little deeper and covering the sustainability of a restaurants printed material and environmental design. In my opinion, if a restaurant claims to be ‘sustainable’ it should try to focus on various forms of sustainability — in all areas of the restaurant, not just the food.
Food sustainability and print sustainability — both effect the environment greatly. Commonly when speaking of print sustainability this applies to the printed material for your restaurant.
Using recycled papers or paper without additives can be a very green choice. Making sure the paper has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council is also a bonus and can be determined by your printer if the paper choice is right for you.
Another thing to consider is looking at that the process of making paper. It produces various forms of waste, use of energy and gas. So additional to using recycled paper, understanding the process is important as well.
Choosing the Right Printer
Use printers like Green printer Online or Warrens Waterless who has won multiple awards for their sustainable print techniques and use waterless presses to eliminate drain waste and improve air quality.
Just like locally sourced food — getting a locally sourced printer is important too. If you are going all out with your print material, reducing the use of gas emissions made by travel of your product can decrease pollution.
According to Green Printing Online ‘The pulp and paper industry is the third largest industrial polluter of air, water and land in both Canada and the United States’. So doing our part is more important now more than ever.
Let’s not forget about the ink!
Using natural, biodegradable and eco-friendly inks for your printed material is something important to consider. Vegetable and soy-based inks are very common and can be chosen for your print jobs. Just specify to either your designer or printer what options they may have.
When considering the environmental (interior) design of your restaurant there some things to think about. Even making small decisions like using second hand items can be beneficial. It has become common in trendy or ‘hipster-type’ establishments to have non-matching cutlery and dinner wear — a recycling alternative.
Using refurbished wood or recycled plastics for your decor can also be a good source of sustainability and do not forget the energy efficient lightbulbs!
You can purchase to-go containers and general packaging that is compostable and completely biodegradable. Even your cleaning products can be non-toxic and bio-degradable.
Of course sustainability can be applied to every area of your restaurant. So again if you claim to be a sustainable restaurant look further into how things are made, where you are getting your materials and products from and don’t forget to share with your community the good decisions you have made. This is important to a lot of your customers. They may just choose your restaurant over others because of these good choices.
Being environmentally responsible has become a huge concern to our future on all business levels. So becoming familiar and educating ourselves with what is most resourceful while playing our part for the environment can be an asset to your business and a healthy long term choice for us all.
RESOURCES & EXAMPLES:
A restaurant making a difference: Mixt Greens
Here is a list of ‘locavore’ (buzz word for locally-sourced food) restaurants in Toronto on BlogTO
P.S. Another hint at gaining a great reputation in food sustainability is having great portions. I do not mean overly sized portions but portions that help you with your profit margins and reduces food waste.
Thanks for reading!