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  • Writer's pictureMatt Wampler

Restaurant Sustainability Trends for 2023

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the impact of human actions on the environment, the restaurant industry has begun to prioritize sustainability in order to reduce its carbon footprint and make a positive impact on the planet. From reducing food waste to implementing eco-friendly practices, restaurants are finding creative ways to become more sustainable. How will these efforts benefit both the environment and the bottom line in 2023?

Sustainable Food Packaging

One of the biggest trends in the restaurant industry right now is the shift towards more sustainable food packaging options. This includes biodegradable packaging made from plant materials or plant waste, recyclable packaging that can be sent to a recycling center, and reusable packagings such as glass, wood, aluminum, or bamboo. Many customers are now considering the sustainability of a restaurant's packaging when making purchasing decisions, so offering more eco-friendly options can be a great way to attract and retain customers.

Low or Zero-Emission Delivery Options

Food delivery is a growing trend in the industry, but it also contributes significantly to a restaurant's carbon footprint. To address this issue, many restaurants are now offering low or zero-emission delivery options such as electric scooters or cars. These options not only help to reduce the environmental impact of delivery, but they can also be a selling point for customers who are looking for more sustainable options.

Minimizing Food Waste

Food waste is a major issue in the restaurant industry, with an estimated 4-10% of purchased food going to waste before it even reaches the customer's plate. To address this issue, many restaurants are implementing strategies such as optimizing food prep, using inventory management software and donating excess food to organizations that can use it. Reducing food waste not only helps to minimize a restaurant's environmental impact, but it can also help to reduce operating costs.

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Cleaning products are a significant contributor to water and air pollution. They contain chemicals that can harm the environment and human health. Therefore, it’s essential to choose eco-friendly cleaning products for your restaurant.

Eco-friendly cleaning products are made from natural ingredients that are less toxic and biodegradable. They don’t contain harsh chemicals like chlorine, ammonia, or bleach, which can harm the environment and people. Eco-friendly cleaning products are also better for indoor air quality because they don’t emit harmful fumes. They’re safe to use around food, and they’re gentle on surfaces.

Switching to eco-friendly cleaning products can also save you money in the long run. They’re often more concentrated, which means you use less of them. Plus, they don’t require special disposal methods, which can save you money on waste management.

Eco-Friendly Disposable Products

Eco-friendly disposable products have become a growing trend in the restaurant industry as more businesses aim to reduce their environmental impact. These products are made from sustainable materials, such as recycled paper, bamboo, and plant-based plastics, and are designed to be biodegradable or compostable.

Using eco-friendly disposable products in restaurants can help to reduce waste, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and save resources. For example, using recycled paper napkins instead of virgin paper napkins can conserve trees, water, and energy. Using biodegradable or compostable takeout containers can reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills or the ocean.

Many restaurants have made the switch to eco-friendly disposable products to appeal to environmentally-conscious customers and to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. Some have even implemented programs to encourage customers to bring their own containers for takeout orders.

Eco-friendly disposable products can be more expensive than their traditional counterparts, but the long-term cost savings and positive environmental impact can make them a worthwhile investment for restaurants. As consumers become more aware of the environmental impacts of their food choices, it is likely that the use of eco-friendly disposable products in restaurants will continue to rise.

Biodegradable Materials

As we mentioned earlier, biodegradable and compostable materials are a more sustainable alternative to traditional plastics, which can take hundreds of years to decompose. These materials are made from renewable resources, such as plants, and can break down in a matter of weeks or months.

Many restaurants are now using compostable or biodegradable materials for things like straws, utensils, and takeout containers. Some are even using them for things like napkins, tablecloths, and menus. Using compostable or biodegradable materials can help reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and can even be used to create compost for gardens and farms.

Plant-Based & Vegan Menus

Plant-based and vegan menu options are becoming more popular as people become more aware of the environmental impact of meat production. According to a study by the University of Oxford, the production of animal-based products generates significantly more greenhouse gas emissions than plant-based products.

Many restaurants are now offering a range of plant-based and vegan options, including dishes made with vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts. These options can be just as tasty and satisfying as traditional meat dishes, and they can help reduce a restaurant's carbon footprint.

In conclusion, sustainability is an increasingly important topic in the restaurant industry. From reducing food waste and implementing eco-friendly packaging to investing in renewable energy and sourcing locally, there are many ways that restaurants can work towards sustainability. These efforts not only help to protect the environment, but they can also benefit the bottom line by reducing operating costs and attracting customers who prioritize sustainable practices. As consumers continue to prioritize sustainability, it is important for restaurants to consider their own practices and strive to become more sustainable. By staying up-to-date on the latest trends and finding ways to incorporate sustainability into their operations, restaurants can position themselves as leaders in the industry and make a positive impact on the world.


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