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Restaurants can Reduce Their Waste

Waste audits allow you to physically see what waste is being produced

Restaurants generate a tremendous amount of solid wastes including paper, cardboard, plastics, wood, food wastes, glass, metals, special wastes and hazardous wastes. Business-wise, restaurant owners and managers need to continually look for new and better ways to reduce costs and minimize overhead expenses while meeting customers' demands. Lincoln Waste Solutions provides a retail waste management framework where you can have one point of contact to manage all of your locations while receiving a minimum of a 10% discount in shared savings over what you were spending last year.

We will give you open access to your invoices so you will receive 50% of whatever amount we can save on your retail waste needs. This may come from roll-off, dumpsters or more efficient waste management. This is where a solid waste management strategy comes in: simple procedures such as assessing and monitoring the types and amounts of garbage thrown away each day can lead to significant savings for the restaurant, as well as monitoring and resizing your dumpsters and roll-offs. The first step in reducing the amount of waste a restaurant produces is to conduct a waste audit.

Waste audits allow you to physically see what waste is being produced in your facility and we will establish what your physical needs for dumpsters really are. Have you been paying too much to have too large dumpsters occupy your space? Once we have completed a waste audit, we will consider your current practices and how they are affecting your garbage.

What is being thrown in the trash? Is it recyclable or compostable? Do you need a compactor? What are you doing right? What are you doing wrong? Is your training of staff or the layout of the facility and recycling / compost / trash bins affecting what materials wind up in the trash? Recycling should be an easier task than throwing something away. Are there enough recycling bins? Every garbage can should be accompanied by a recycling and or compost bin and can often be smaller than the recycling bins. In areas like offices, there may not even be a need for a trash bin. The large majority of waste from the office consists of recyclable paper.

Training is an essential part of a successful waste reduction program. Recycling does not come naturally for many people and implementing a new retail waste management strategy takes a bit of time. It is important to integrate waste reduction into all training programs, keeping in mind, the more money we can save, the more money you will get back from Lincoln waste each month. Waste reduction is one of the most effective low cost or no cost ways to reduce disposal fees, and green a commercial kitchen. Most waste reduction practices are just simple good business practices with the "green" designation being an added bonus.

Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Most foodservice operations throw out a massive amount of garbage, most of which could be diverted. Most restaurants are "over serviced" meaning you have too many dumpsters or too frequent pick-ups. 75% of material in today's landfill is recyclable or compostable, while 50-70% of the weight of a foodservice operation's garbage consists of compostable food items. Food packaging makes up most of the remaining weight of the garbage's bins, but account for around 70% of the volume of foodservice trash. A foodservice operation without recycling, composting or any waste reduction program can reduce their disposal cost by at least half by implementing simple, structured practices as determined by a Lincoln Waste Solutions audit.

You need to rethink, then reduce, then reuse, then recycle. After we have changed and improved your current practices by optimizing your waste stream, we will implement new customer service programs so you will have only one contact for all of your trash needs. No longer will you have multiple contacts with multiple haulers for multiple locations. Recycling, unfortunately, tends to receive the lion's share of the general public's attention when it comes to waste reduction. While, it is a very important step, reducing the amount of recyclables used in the first place is a far more important step and utilizing a waste broker or a trash management firm is essential.

Recycling varies across the country as to what is collected and how it is collected and Lincoln Waste Solutions is always current on what needs to be recycled, what can be repurposed and what will go out tote competitive trash haulers. There will no longer be a need to contact your county waste management or waste hauler on details for recycling in your area, Lincoln Waste handles all aspects of waste management. At a minimum, you should recycle fryer oil and materials that are toxic such as fluorescent lights, old thermostats, batteries, unused chemicals, paints and miscellaneous hazardous materials. Lincoln Waste Solutions handles all of those for you and has hundreds of agreements with waste haulers to optimize your trash outsourcing. Many municipalities have also implemented electronic recycling programs along with national programs from a variety of electronics companies and we take care of your e-waste as well.

McDonald's, Burger King, White Castle, Hardee's (owned by CKE Restaurants, Carl's Jr.), Krystal, Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits, Cook Out, Zaxby's , Raising Cane's, Hot 'n Now, ; In-N-Out Burger, Original Tommy's, Dick's Drive-In, Arctic Circle , Halo Burger, Burgerville, Whataburger, Jack in the Box, Topper's Pizza, Pizza Pizza, Country Style, Wendy's, Tim Hortons, . Maid-Rite, Taco Bell, Dunkin' Donuts, Sonic Drive-In's, Starbucks, KFC, a part of the largest restaurant conglomerate in the world, Yum! Brands; and Domino's Pizza, Subway, Quiznos, Blimpie, Mr. Goodcents, Firehouse, A&W Restaurants, Extreme Pita , Manchu Wok, Harvey's, Arby's, Chick-Fil-A, Popeye's, Little Caesars, Bojangles, Checkers, 5 Guys, Smashburger, Red Robin, Applebee's, Baja Fresh, Big Boy, Friendly's, Baskin Robbins, Chipotle, Church's Cold Stone Creamery, Chuck E. Cheese, Dairy Queen, Denny's, Dagwoods, El Pollo Loco, fat burger, Hooter's, IHOP, Jack in the Box, KFC, Johnny Rockets, Krispy Kreme, Long John Silver's, Miami Subs, Mr. Sub, Nathan's Famous, Whataburger, and Zaxby's are all restaurants that have conducted waste audits and have utilized waste brokers and waste outsourcing to optimize their waste management costs.

The Lincoln Waste approach is that our experience in the industry has led us to develop fully integrated services that allow any size restaurant to control costs, raise recycling rates, increase diversion and enhance their green image. From training front-line crews in proper recycling procedures, to managing your waste-related dumpster and roll-off compliance issues, Lincoln Waste brings proven environmental solutions to your table. And, because of our shared savings model, we're able to offer our customers a wide array of environmental services with single-point-of-contact simplicity. The restaurant industry is trending toward a more sustainable image. It's time to move your restaurant beyond basic recycling and generic green messages to a customized program that delivers real environmental and financial benefits.

In order to be truly sustainable, your environmental plan must serve the dual purpose of minimizing impact while driving profitable growth. Lincoln Waste offers the restaurant industry proven environmental programs that accomplish both goals, with the added benefit of improving operational efficiencies. Waste impacts can be viewed from three sources: upstream, downstream and direct. The upstream impact of goods and services is the amount of natural resources and human capital consumed in the production and distribution of goods purchased for your facility. These are indirect impacts that an operation will only see in the price of goods.

For instance, a can of soda is just a can of soda in a cafeteria, but the single can does not show the true costs associated with its production. The upstream impacts of a can of soda includes the growing and harvesting of corn for the corn syrup, mining and smelting of aluminum, pumping and refining of oil to produce the poly lining and the worldwide distribution of each element from one facility to the next in order to create an aluminum can to be fill with liquid that will be consumed in a matter of minutes. After consumption of the soda, the can then becomes a direct waste your facility must deal with, or a downstream impact if the customer takes the drink away. With both upstream and downstream wastes, the costs and environmental impacts are invisible, but can still be somewhat lessened with the knowledge that these costs exist. You can serve sodas from reusable soda kegs to reduce the upstream and downstream impacts and remind customers to recycle, which highlights the lack of control with downstream wastes. The customer may choose to recycle it or throw it in the garbage destined for a millennia in the landfill, then repeat the numerous steps with their next can of soda.

Wal-Mart has recently started looking at the upstream impact of the millions of products it purchases and requiring efficiency standards from its manufacturers. While no foodservice operations have the buying power of Wal-Mart, educated choices can be made that affect the upstream environmental impact of the goods used. Recycled content paper is a simple example. The amount of resources consumed is much smaller with recycled content paper compared to virgin pulp paper. Applicable products and practices may vary depending on type of businesses, local recycling and composting options and available storage, but all foodservice operations can and should implement some sort of waste reduction practices into their policies. Write the practices into company statements and training guides, and allow new ideas to grow from staff. Create and post recycling guides to remind staff and customers what is and is not recyclable and how to recycle each item.

Options Available to Reduce Waste

There are literally thousands of options available to reduce waste, most of which should be structured into policy like prep pars and food rotation schedules. Others may need more legwork in order to implement successfully. Here are twenty two restaurant suggestions for reducing waste upstream, direct and downstream outside of modifying your waste outsourcing;

1. Talk to your suppliers about using reusable packing. Tell them you would prefer to receive items like new tongs, for instance, in a milk crate rather than a cardboard box. Smaller, local farmers and suppliers are often more interested and structured to work with reusable packing for food packaging compared to large distributors.
2. Develop a composting program
3. Develop a comprehensive recycling program if there is not one already in place
4. Call around and find recycling or reuse option for miscellaneous items
5. Bottles and cans are not the only things that can be recycled. Old cracked hotel pans, broken tongs and anything make of at least 75% metal can usually be put in the metal recycling bin. Contact your local recycler to confirm that they can accept these items.
6. Use compostable products for items that are normally discarded in-house such as straws, stir sticks and drink skewers, then compost them
7. Find products that come in less packaging, and also more recyclable packaging
8. Use reusable options with everything possible. Coffee filters, coffee cups, drink coasters, etcetera
9. Replace bottled beers with keg beer and bottled or canned soda with bag-in-box syrups or 5 gallon pre-mixed soda kegs. Most people will tell you the premix tastes better, but they are getting harder to find.
10. Develop a relationship with a food donation program in your area
11. Donate old tableware, kitchen utensils and equipment to a church, school or soup kitchen
12. Buy in bulk - while this is standard operation for most foodservice facilities, consider all the products not normally taken into account for bulk purchases such as alcohol and cooking wine.
13. Discontinue use of any non-essential products like paper place mats, frilly toothpicks and practices like putting two straws in cocktails
14. Have staff distribute disposable items like napkins and plastic forks rather than placing them in self-serve stations.
15. Use napkin dispensers that dispense one napkin at a time
16. Invest in nice wood tables rather than using linens or other table covers. This small upfront cost saves thousands of dollars in linen services every year.
17. Buy cleaning chemicals in concentrated form and reduce the number of chemicals on site by using multi-purpose cleaners
18. Have employees use reusable cups for their own drinks
19. Offer discounts to customers that bring a reusable coffee mug
20. If applicable, charge a deposit and allow neighboring workers to take plates and utensils back to their offices
21. Reduce the amount of excessive takeout packaging - a sandwich wrapped in paper inside a paper bag worked just fine up until the 80's, it can work again
22. In quick serve operations where the customer is disposing of waste, make obvious, easy to understand labels on each bin for "bottles," "cans," "plates and silverware" and "garbage only." Because some people see everything as garbage - even your reusable silverware, labels may need to be more specific to identify waste like "paper cups and wrappers only." Also, make the garbage can opening small so guests do not just dump their entire contents in the garbage. Better yet, use a bus tub for garbage so staff can remove any silverware or recyclables thrown into the "garbage only" container.

Lincoln Waste Solutions helps boost your restaurants' diversion rates and green image with easier-to-use recycling programs. Utilizing solid waste management, Lincoln Waste Solutions delivers a customized waste pickup plan that revolves around your restaurants. Efficient C&D Recycling, where we will split the profits we will save you when ordering a roll-off or a dumpster, whenever you need to remodel, renovate or retool your restaurants, we will help you recoup a portion of your costs with smart C&D materials recycling.

In the end, as with any change to structure, the main component of making waste reduction work is staff and customer involvement, as well as a partnership between you and Lincoln Waste. Implementing new products and programs without integrating a comprehensive training program, precluded by a waste audit, will result in failure. Most employees are excited to implement sustainable practices at the work, especially when they feel they are doing the next right thing in terms of helloing the planet. Properly training them on the Lincoln Waste Solutions system will ensure that your new sustainability programs are accepted and successful.

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