Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
A sustainable kitchen involves fostering partnerships with the right stakeholders, ingraining sustainable practices into the heart of the culinary operation, and eco-friendly appliances and recyclables. It’s a concerted effort to reduce the foodservice industry’s environmental footprint through strategic collaborations and informed decision-making.
Sustainable kitchen partners encompass a range of entities—from suppliers of green technology and organic food producers to waste management companies and energy auditors. These partners are instrumental in providing the products, services, and expertise necessary to operationalize a sustainability vision within the culinary space. They play a pivotal role in helping kitchens reduce waste, conserve resources, and source responsibly, ultimately contributing to a healthier planet. Sustainable kitchen partners that you can work with to create a sustainable kitchen are listed below:
- Eco-Friendly Equipment Manufacturers
- Green Technology Innovators
- Organic Food Suppliers
- Eco-Friendly Cleaning Product Suppliers
- Innovative Sustainable Packaging Companies
- Sustainability Consultants
- Environmental Organizations
- Energy Auditing Firms
- Recycled Kitchenware Manufacturers
Sustainable practices in the kitchen are a comprehensive set of actions aimed at minimizing the environmental impact of food preparation and service. This involves optimizing energy and water use, reducing waste through strategic planning and recycling, sourcing ingredients that are produced in an environmentally responsible manner, and ensuring that waste is managed in a way that lessens its impact on the environment.
These practices are about meeting regulations and are driven by a commitment to stewardship of the Earth and the well-being of future generations. Adopting these practices can lead to substantial cost savings in energy, water, and cleaning supplies. They can also enhance a restaurant’s appeal to a growing demographic of environmentally conscious consumers, potentially increasing patronage and profits. Sustainable kitchen practices that you can follow to create a sustainable kitchen are listed below:
- Collaborating with Waste Management Services
- Supporting Local Farmer Markets
- Switching to Renewable Energy Providers
- Utilizing Water-Efficient Appliances
- Sustainable Food Storage Solutions
- Achieving Green Building Certification
Sustainable Kitchen Partners
“Sustainable Kitchen Partners “represents a pioneering initiative aimed at transforming the culinary landscape through the promotion of environmentally friendly practices. This collaborative effort seeks to unite chefs, restaurateurs, food suppliers, and consumers in a shared mission to reduce waste, source ingredients sustainably, and foster a culture of responsibility within the kitchen and beyond. By prioritizing sustainability, this partnership endeavors to enhance the quality and ethics of food preparation and to contribute significantly to the global effort against climate change.
Eco-Friendly Equipment Manufacturers
A sustainable kitchen primarily focuses on increasing the efficiency of all the commercial kitchen equipment they use to store, process, and cook, which helps commercial kitchen operators decrease their carbon footprint while saving money, time, labor, and resources. American Energy Department’s Energy STAR® is the leading qualification of water and energy efficiency for appliances, and you can start your green transformation by choosing commercial kitchen equipment with Energy Star certification. Here, we provide three samples of eco-friendly units that are designed to run on less energy or water with 3 case studies:
- Commercial Fryers: Among the most essential units for all types of restaurants and caterers, commercial fryers consume a significant amount of gas or electricity since they need to be working most of the day. As calculated in Arby’s Restaurant Group, Inc.’s case study, an Energy Star-certified commercial fryer can save up to 400 USD per year as compared to a non-Energy-Star certified unit, which yields up to thousands of dollars per year when you consider the food chain having hundreds of fryers. Atosa, Ultrafryer, Vulcan, Anets, Resfab, Henny Penny, and Royal Range offer commercial fryers with top-notch quality, which present low energy consumption.
- Commercial Dishwashers: These are among the most expensive commercial kitchen equipment you can buy for a commercial kitchen, and they can cost up to a hundred thousand dollars, depending on your dishwashing volume. Additionally, they are the main consumer of water in commercial kitchens, using thousands of gallons of water annually. However, as the Federal Energy Management Program explains, an Energy Star-qualified commercial dishwashing machine can decrease water consumption by 25% and lower your costs by around 7,000 USD per year. Lamber, CMA, Champion, Eurodib USA, American Dish, Fagor, Stero, Centerline by Hobart, Jackson WWS, and Meiko are perfect options to lower water and energy bills while washing the dishes.
- Commercial Ovens: These units are the most common type of commercial equipment in restaurant or hotel kitchens and run on gas or electricity. Energy Star estimates that a gas combination oven with Energy Star qualification can save up to $3,000 annually in your energy bill with its high efficiency. Unox Cheftop Ovens, Alto-Shaam, Rational, Atosa, Belshaw, Cadco, Lang, Montague Company, Royal Range of California, Southbend, Rational, Baxter, Revent, and Convotherm ovens are added to your inventory since they offer high-efficiency commercial combi ovens with Energy Star certification.
Green Technology Innovators
Environmental awareness boosts the development of new technologies to ensure a sustainable kitchen at every phase. Green technology stands front, especially in refrigeration and food management branches:
- Innovation in Refrigeration: Utilizing the high-efficiency insulation panels manufactured from rigid and water-resistant foam to retain the chill better and lower the energy consumption, commercial refrigeration manufacturers such as Kolpak or Arctic Industries install safety alarms to allow you to ensure consistent temperature levels. The innovative walk-in freezer and cooler monitoring systems enable you to follow the temperature levels from everywhere through online systems.
- Innovation in Food Management: You can make use of the Tenzo, which is an AI-powered tool to gather data in your operations and make predictions about the projected demand for your products, which helps you determine how much food you need to prepare, thereby decreasing your food waste.
Organic Food Suppliers
Organic food refers to naturally grown products without synthetic substances in soil that are free from prohibited items in the last three years as required by the US Department of Agriculture. You can enhance your Green Transformation by using organic food products that are provided in bulk by suppliers, such as Eden Foods and SunOrganic Farm. These companies contract with local farmers and contribute to the environment by providing natural foods.
Eco-Friendly Cleaning Product Suppliers
Eco-friendly cleaning products are manufactured from environmentally responsible components such as plants, non-toxic and non-petroleum products, and are free from caustic soda or phosphate. Since there are different cleaning and sanitation needs in commercial kitchens, All-Green Janitorial Products, AlphaChemical, and HDChem are the companies that focus on eco-friendly cleaning products.
Innovative Sustainable Packaging Companies
Packaging can be cited as one of the most damaging parts of the foodservice industry since it uses a huge amount of packaging products from storage to takeaway orders. Therefore, shifting from classic packaging to green solutions will decrease your waste while decreasing your carbon footprint starting from the first stages of packaging production.
Thanks to the efforts of the companies to offer innovative solutions for the foodservice industry, you have many options for your business to continue your packaging operations with completely eco-friendly solutions. For instance, Uline offers biodegradable bags, sugarcane take-out containers, and compostable paper hot cups for restaurants. Additionally, Amcor provides flexible packaging cases made from recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for meat, vegetables, cheese, or nuts. EcoPliant has an extensive collection of sustainable kitchen equipment collection, which comprises food containers, bags, cups, plates, and all other necessary items for a commercial foodservice business. All these products are manufactured from 100% recyclable components.
Sustainability requires expertise and experience on the standards, applications, and regulations about low carbon activities, energy efficiency, green technologies, and eco-friendly innovations. You can facilitate your green transformation by contracting with sustainability consultants such as Beyond Green, Sustainable Culinary Solutions, and Sustainable Kitchen Consultants.
Organizations enable individual businesses or people to gather and create an influential force that guides them to reach higher achievements, promote their views, and defend their rights and interests. There are environmental organizations in the foodservice industry that bring restaurants together for green transformation:
- Green Restaurant Association (GRA): Launched in 1990 as an international non-profit organization to introduce and promote green dining in the foodservice industry, GRA is not present in 47 states and Canada with its turnkey certification system that defines procedures and inspects the compliance of restaurants with the sustainability standards in Energy, Water, Waste, Food, Chemicals, Disposables, and Building.
- The National Restaurant Association (The NRA): NRA is the largest foodservice trade association in the world and has a special program titled “Conserve Program” to enhance sustainability practices in the industry. Cooperating with Energy Star, Turner Foundation, Kendal College, and the University of Washington to provide detailed education for the restaurants.
Energy Auditing Firms
Enery use is among the highest expenses for foodservice establishments, and efficiency is among the most significant issues to be dealt with when working to create a sustainable kitchen. Energy auditing firms provide experts to inspect your establishment, evaluate the existing systems, and present plans and solutions to maximize energy efficiency. Priority Energy Solutions and TECO Tampa Electric are some of the companies experienced in this field.
Recycled Kitchenware Manufacturers
Recycling helps us minimize our waste by processing the waste and turning it into reusable materials or energy. You can also find cookware and dinnerware which are made from recycled metal, paper, and glass from these brands:
- Farberware: Having its roots in the first decade of the 20th Century when its founder started to make tin and copper cookware, Farberware now produces non-stick cookware under the Eco Advantage series made from 100% recycled aluminum.
- Green Paper Products: Founded in Ohio in 2009, the company now produces sustainable products for a safe and clean future for the next generations. The company presents cups, lids, containers, bottles, bags, and cutlery kits from recycled plastic and paper.
- Combekk: In 2015, the company introduced the first 100% recycled Dutch Oven, which uses certified recycled materials in its production. The company’s products are also free from toxins such as lead, cadmium, or PBA.
Sustainable Kitchen Practices
“Sustainable Kitchen Practices” focuses on the integration of eco-friendly methods and materials into the culinary world to minimize environmental impact. This approach encompasses a range of strategies, from reducing food waste and conserving water to sourcing local, organic ingredients and utilizing energy-efficient appliances. By adopting these practices, kitchens can play a crucial role in promoting sustainability, enhancing food security, and supporting the health of our planet for future generations.
Collaborating with Waste Management Services
The foodservice industry is responsible for the greatest amount of food waste in the world, totaling 2 billion in profit loss and 40% of the produced foods annually, according to EPA. Therefore, restaurants and other foodservice businesses must conduct a two-way waste management system, which includes not only handling the food waste but also employing innovative ways of decreasing food waste and utilizing the excess food.
- Waste Collection: Restaurant dumpsters and garbage bins need to be emptied daily, and waste management services can do this securely with their trained staff and specialized equipment. Companies such as American Disposal, Republic Services, and Waste Management can collect your trash daily.
- Commercial Recycling: These companies also offer commercial recycling services and process trash to separate paper, glass, metal, and other recyclable materials before sending them to dumpsters.
- Innovative Solutions for Food Waste: Services like Winnow watch and analyze your plates for food waste, provide detailed data on what products consumers waste, and offer solutions on how to reduce food waste. Salvajor, Somat, RedGoat, InSinkErator, and MasterDispoers have effective commercial garbage disposal equipment for foodservice businesses.
Supporting Local Farmer Markets
Local farmers are the closest resources for your sustainable kitchen, and they can keep you supplied with fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. Furthermore, your purchases from these local farmers support them in growing their businesses and thriving in the local economy, which will also bring you more customers. Additionally, your local producers’ shopping minimizes fuel consumption since the transportation requirement is much more limited.
Switching to Renewable Energy Providers
Sustainability is closely related to renewable energy sources; therefore, sustainable kitchens must be fuelled with solar or wind power. Solar energy is the number one choice of restaurant owners since it can easily be installed on their rooftops as well as the patios and parking lots. Even though the available areas in which solar panels can be implemented are limited, and it is almost impossible to fit all the panels that can fully power your establishment, solar panels can easily provide 30% of your electricity consumption, saving you up to $8,000 annually as calculated in detail by Fesmag.
Additionally, you can power your commercial refrigerators, freezers, and merchandisers, which store your temperature-sensitive foods even during electric cuts, which are common issues in case of storms or other power outages.
Utilizing Water-Efficient Appliances
Water consumption in commercial settings is a great expense and a serious threat when not managed efficiently since clean water resources are gradually decreasing. Therefore, we can present you three technologies that are highly efficient in decreasing water use while maintaining your smooth workflow:
- Pre-Rinse Spray Valve: Pre-rinse faucets are used to remove the soil and food debris on the dinnerware and cookware before placing them into the dishwasher, and it causes a large amount of water consumption. So, replacing it with an innovative pre-rinse spray valve that utilizes the spray force with less water (up to 20%) can save you 12,000 gallons of water as well as a $1,172 water bill in its lifetime, as calculated by California Energywise.
- Grey Water Filtration Systems: Companies like Hydraloop and Ecovie offer grey water filtering systems that process the water from laundry, sinks, and rooftops for a second-time use for garden irrigation or toilet flushing, thereby saving up to 45% of clean tap water.
- Commercial Dishwashers: Dishwashing is the primary water consumer in a commercial kitchen, and therefore, by equipping your facility with the new-technology commercial dishwashers with Energy Star qualification, you can save up to 50% of water annually, according to the Arizona Department of Water Resources.
Using Sustainable Food Storage Solutions
Restaurants, cafes, and other commercial foodservice businesses need food storage solutions for takeaway orders, to store ingredients, or to deliver foods and meals. Preferring Compostable, recyclable, or biodegradable food containers made from bamboo, sugarcane, and corn starch helps you decrease your carbon footprint and contribute to your sustainable kitchen efforts.
Achieving Green Building Certification
While creating a sustainable kitchen in your establishment is crucial, you must also ensure sustainable building to create an eco-friendly business. Green building certification systems determine the standards for a green building and inspect whether the buildings meet the specific criteria on environmental responsibility, energy use, and human health. Furthermore, these systems provide auditing, guiding, and helping services to transform your building into a sustainable facility. Some green building certification systems are mentioned below:
According to Yale Sustainability, the most common type of green building certification is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which evaluates the many building features, including energy, air quality, lighting, noise pollution, transportation, materials, and many others. Another green building certification is the Living Building Challenge, which focuses on the energy, water, and waste factors and how these are produced and reused.
How to Measure The Impact of Sustainability in The Kitchen
Sustainability in foodservice is an extensive plan that must be applied constantly to reach your goals to decrease your carbon footprint, minimize the harmful effects of your operations, and contribute to the world’s future. However, creating a detailed plan and applying the necessary steps one by one to reach a sustainable kitchen is not complete with regular measurements and evaluations that provide insight into your applications’ performance, effectiveness, and efficiency. It would be best if you had the correct key performance indicators (KPI) to evaluate your advancement properly.
What are The KPIs for Measuring The Impact of Sustainability in The Commercial Kitchens?
The KPIs for measuring the impact of sustainability in commercial kitchens are listed below:
- Energy consumption
- Water usage
- Waste generation
- Recycling rates
- Carbon footprint
- Local sourcing proximity
- Supply chain sustainability
- Cost savings from sustainable practices
- Employee engagement levels
- Customer response
- Compliance with environmental standards
- Noise pollution.
Energy consumption is the first KPI to be monitored closely, and you can use digital tools to check how much energy is used in what processes and asses the possible ways of further enhancing energy efficiency. Look for the average kWh (kilowatt-hour) usage for your commercial kitchen and the potential percentage reduction achieved by implementing sustainable practices.
Water use in dishwashing, food preparation, cooling, cooking, ice making, and other essential operations are measured to test your precautions’ efficiency.
Following the waste amount, classifying the waste types enables you to improve your waste handling and food purchasing and preparation operations.
Monitoring the recycling processes and calculating the amount of waste that is recycled, composted, or sent to the landfill is essential in achieving a sustainable kitchen.
Sustainability in the kitchen aims to minimize the carbon footprint in the operations of foodservice facilities. Therefore, all businesses monitor their carbon footprint output regularly to evaluate the efficiency of their efforts.
Local Sourcing Proximity
The use of fossil fuels during transportation is a significant source of carbon emissions, and therefore, sustainability in the kitchen requires the assessment and evaluation of the distances from the source to the kitchen and working to minimize it through local sourcing.
Supply Chain Sustainability
While focusing on improving your eco-friendly and sustainable operations, you also need to assess the environmental practices of your suppliers. Some certifications or indexes rate the sustainability of supply chains, which can give a measurable sense of improvements or scores.
Cost Savings from Sustainable Practices
Sustainability in the kitchen contributes to your profitability with less expenses through less expenses on water and energy bills, transportation, and food waste and more earnings through a rising number of customers. This is also evaluated regularly to ensure the highest benefits from savings and rebates.
Employee Engagement Levels
Your staff is vital to your sustainable kitchen, and their engagement levels are measured to check efficiency. This might be reflected in improved employee retention rates or satisfaction survey results, which are sometimes published in corporate social responsibility reports. Engaged employees are generally 27% more likely to report “excellent” performance in their company, according to Gallup.
Customers’ perceptions and views about your sustainability efforts are also crucial and must be measured to evaluate efficiency and awareness. The National Restaurant Association has reported that over 70% of adults prefer to dine at environmentally friendly restaurants.
Compliance with Environmental Standards
Sustainable kitchen applications are also strictly tied to regulations and standards, and your facilities and staff’s compliance with these regulations is monitored for a constant and consistently sustainable kitchen. Compliance rates can be found in government or third-party audit reports.
Going Green also comprises lowering noise pollution for the wellness of your personnel and customers. So, the sound levels are measured to assess their compliance with the regulations.
In conclusion, a sustainable kitchen involves a multifaceted approach, encompassing the adoption of eco-friendly practices, collaboration with sustainable kitchen partners, and integration of innovative technologies into daily operations. Considering the imperative to address environmental concerns, commercial kitchens are increasingly embracing sustainable practices to mitigate their impact on the planet.
The importance of sustainable kitchens cannot be overstated, considering the escalating threats posed by climate change and the need to curb the hazardous effects of the foodservice industry on the environment. Beyond environmental resource stewardship, adopting sustainable practices yields significant cost savings, enhancing the financial viability of commercial kitchens. Moreover, it opens avenues to tap into a growing customer base, particularly among environmentally-conscious individuals, including the Gen Z demographic.
While the path to sustainability may pose challenges, collaboration with sustainable kitchen partners emerges as a strategic solution. Eco-friendly equipment manufacturers, green technology innovators, organic food suppliers, and waste management services constitute essential allies in this journey to Going Green. These partnerships contribute expertise and practical solutions to implement sustainable practices seamlessly.
Adopting energy-efficient appliances, innovative packaging solutions, and eco-friendly cleaning products showcases the perceptible steps commercial kitchens can take to reduce their environmental footprint. From solar energy utilization to embracing recycled kitchenware, the options are diverse and readily available for those committed to fostering sustainability.
Furthermore, collaboration with environmental organizations, engagement with sustainability consultants, and support for local farmer markets amplify the impact of a sustainable kitchen initiative. These partnerships extend beyond individual businesses, creating a collective force that advocates for green transformations within the foodservice industry.
In the pursuit of sustainability, diligent measurement and evaluation are crucial. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as energy consumption, water usage, waste generation, and customer response provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of sustainable practices. Regular assessments ensure that the commitment to sustainability is not only upheld but also continuously optimized for maximum impact.
The transition to a sustainable kitchen is a dynamic and ongoing process that requires commitment, collaboration, and continuous improvement. As commercial kitchens embrace this transformative journey, they contribute to a healthier planet and position themselves for long-term success in an increasingly eco-conscious world.