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Benefits of Recycling in the Commercial Kitchen

Benefits of Recycling in the Commercial Kitchen

Restaurants create large portions of food to serve many people. With this large amount of production comes a lot of waste, and waste costs money, both in uneaten or spoiled food and trash handling fees. Along with the environmental benefits, there are several other reasons for a restaurant to engage in a recycling program.

The Advantages of Recycling
  • Recycling is good for business. Customers take notice of and appreciate a restaurant's efforts to reduce environmental strain, leading to a better public image. This can increase customer loyalty and spur customer involvement.
  • Cheaper trash fees. The fewer times the dumpster needs to be emptied, the less you will have to pay for trash pickup.
  • Cash incentives for participation. Some local governments offer monetary assistance for recycling. In addition, trash handlers may have service plans that include recycling and can cost $20 to $50 less per ton than conventional garbage pickup.
  • Reduced purchasing cost. Restaurants with an effective waste management system will have several in-house reusable items, like cloth cleaning rags and reusable flatware. This will reduce the amount of new products that need to be purchased. » Learn More about Waste Reduction in the Commercial Kitchen
  • Avoid extra costs. In several cities, recyclable materials, like cardboard and newspaper, are banned from landfills. Additional disposal fees are charged to anyone that wants to put recyclable material in a landfill. 
What are landfills?
Landfills are garbage tombs, places to store and hide trash. They seal in the garbage and seal out air and moisture, two things most materials require to decompose. In these conditions, landfill garbage, even compostable material, can take decades or even centuries to completely break down.
A capped methane vacuum well at a mature landfill
Recyclable materials
Aluminum
  • Nearly everything aluminum can be made from recycled aluminum.
  • Recycling just one ton of aluminum cans saves the energy equivalent of 1,665 gallons of gasoline.
Food Waste
  • As much as 70% of all restaurant waste is food waste.
  • Food waste can be composted to create a nutrient rich soil additive.
  • Farms, greenhouses, even home gardens can benefit from composted food waste.
Cardboard
  • Old cardboard boxes can be donated to charities for reuse or sent to a recycling facility to make new cardboard and other paper products.
  • Recycling one ton of cardboard saves 460 gallons of oil.
Glass
  • Glass can be reused an infinite number of times.
  • Anything made of glass can be recycled into new glass products.
  • Recycling a single glass bottle saves enough energy to power a 100W light bulb for four hours.
Paper
  • All non-glossy paper can be recycled into several products including newspaper, bathroom tissue and kitty litter.
  • Every ton of paper recycled saves energy equivalent to 185 gallons of gasoline.

Plastic
  • Recycled plastic can be used to create several products ranging from mop heads to t-shirts.
  • Five two-liter recycled bottles can produce enough insulation for a men's ski jacket.
Steel
  • Recycled steel can be made into steel cans, building supplies and tools.
  • Steel recycling saves enough energy in one year to power 18 million homes for that entire year.
Used fryer oil
  • Fryer oil can be turned into biodiesel, a popular alternative fuel.
  • Rather than paying to have your oil taken away, biodiesel companies are actually paying restaurants for this resource.