Reduce and Reuse Before You Recycle


Recycling is just one step in a series of proper waste management techniques. The first steps are to reduce the amount of waste produced in the first place and reuse materials where you can. These practices both save the environment and save you money.


  • Buy appropriate food amounts. Buying too much food leads to excessive waste from spoilage. Buying too little means you have to arrange extra deliveries which costs more money and requires more gas to power the delivery truck.
  • Rotate food stock. Follow the first-in-first-out method when taking on new food product. Place newer items behind older, so the older food items are used first.
  • Provide smaller portions. If plates are repeatedly returned with only a portion of the food eaten, then you are serving too much. Cut back to reduce the amount of food waste.
  • Serve tap water. Bottled water is a an expensive waste of resources. Filtered tap water is just as tasty as bottled water; plus tap water costs next to nothing.
  • Serve draft beer. Serving draft beer reduces the amount of beer bottles and cans that need to be sorted.
  • Use beverage concentrates. Buying soda concentrate and using a beverage gun reduces the amount of cans and bottles that need to be recycled.
  • Dispense condiments in bulk. Use pourers for sugar, creamers for cream and bulk condiment dispensers for ketchup and mustard rather than individual, wasteful, packets.
  • Mix cleaning chemicals correctly. Hundreds of gallons of concentrated cleaning chemicals are wasted every day because they are not properly diluted. Read the labels and mix appropriately to decrease waste.


  • Buy recycled. Look for paper products and other items that are made from recycled materials to close the recycling loop.
  • Offer discounts. Reward customers who bring their own ceramic coffee mugs with a discounted price. This will facilitate customer loyalty while helping the environment.
  • Buy reusable flatware and dinnerware. Though disposables are convenient in some instances, many will eventually end up in a landfill. Reusable dinnerware and flatware can last a lifetime if properly used and maintained.
  • Donate extra food to a food bank. Not only does this increase your public image, it helps feed the growing number of homeless and hungry.
  • Clean with cloth. Cloth cleaning rags can be laundered and reused whereas paper towels just end up in a landfill.
  • Send packaging back. Many suppliers will reuse or recycle cardboard boxes, pallets and food crates.


Recycling is the most widely recognized method of solid waste management. It reduces the strain on our environment by saving raw materials and diverting trash from our rapidly filling landfills. Learn More

The Leftovers

No matter how efficient your waste management system, there will still be some materials that are not easily recycled. Ceramics and certain forms of plastic are examples, but if you reduce, reuse and recycle, your restaurant can divert tons of waste from the landfill. You can save a lot of money too.


About Author

Maggie Henderson

Maggie once gained five pounds in pursuit of the perfect Indian dal recipe. When she isn't cooking, she spends her days as a marketer and her nights and weekends blogging, taking pictures and chasing after her son and dog.

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