Managing restaurant waste is a task that must be handled with great care, especially that produced in kitchens.
In addition to complying fully with health regulations, it is necessary to study whether the waste that is thrown into the containers has been fully used or wasted.
If restaurant products are wasted, it implies more expenses for the restaurant, under the concept of buying ingredients from suppliers and paying for the collection of waste.
Also, within waste management, the separation of elements of the restaurant such as containers or bottles to place them in recycling containers is considered.
In this way, the restaurant adds to the commitment of taking care of the environment and saves money that could be invested in structural or furniture improvements.
We invite you to read on and find out what actions -or advices- you should follow to perfectly manage the waste generated in your restaurant’s kitchen.
Waste generated in the kitchen and how it is disposed of
Restaurants generate hundreds of kilos of waste in a working year, regardless of its classification according to its raw material
Organic waste is part of most waste and should be disposed of in the grey or brown containers.
In addition to throwing it in the corresponding container, it can be used as garden fertilizer.
Glass bottles or containers that contained drinks or sauces should be thrown into the green container.
In the case of having remains of some broken dishes -which are usually made of glass or porcelain- they should be taken to clean points, as they have a different recycling process than glass.
For packaging, invoices or product packages that have been made of cardboard or paper, the famous blue recycling container should be used.
The only exception for products made of this type are used napkins and kitchen paper. It is recommended that they be thrown in the organic product container.
Another container that should be used for good waste management is the yellow one, which is responsible for storing cans, plastic products and tetrabriks.
Finally, a very common question is how to dispose of used oil correctly, to avoid causing any damage to the pipes of your kitchen dishwasher or contaminating water bodies.
With the help of a strainer, the oil must be purified to eliminate food waste and served in containers that close hermetically.
These containers must be taken to green points or given to companies in charge of recycling used oil. They are usually used to make new products such as vehicle oils or household oil paints.
Key actions to perfectly manage your restaurant’s waste
Before putting into practice the advice to reduce the waste generated, it is important to start implementing certain measures or actions that are part of the health requirements of the establishment.
Because kitchens handle food that is served to diners, waste treatment spaces need to be kept away from food preparation areas.
Areas for restaurant waste must be equipped with containers that meet the standards of cleanliness as set out in the rules governing the catering industry.
One of these rules states that containers must have an anti-drip system and prevent the appearance of pests, although this should also be avoided when taking out the garbage at the end of each working day.
It is also important to check the pest elimination controls daily to know when the process has to be done again and to close the kitchen.
With respect to food and products that are stored in the pantry, be aware of expiration dates to avoid throwing away the product while it is in good condition or serving it out of date.
Tips to reduce the waste managed in your restaurant
As soon as you start applying the tips for managing waste and reducing it, you will notice the change progressively.
It is impossible to achieve 100% elimination of waste, but reducing it to a low percentage allows the restaurant to invest less in paying for waste collection and buying food to prepare the dishes on the menu.
Some effective tips to reduce waste generated in your restaurant kitchen are
Plan changes to the menu
You must meet with the members of the kitchen and talk about the loss that the restaurant generates when preparing each of the dishes that make up the menu.
Another idea is to classify your menu in dishes with low, medium or high loss, this way you can make decisions about reducing the portions of some dishes or eliminating them because of their lack of profitability.
In addition to making the changes, it is important to talk to the chefs so that after implementing the changes they can make the most of the products and reduce waste, which is the goal of the changes
Making the most of each ingredient
It is necessary that each person who works as a cook has an induction about the use of each product he handles when cooking a dish.
By knowing the ways to use the ingredients, more parts will be used in the elaboration of dishes and less will be the loss produced.
An example of how to avoid wasting a product is to change the utensils.
A potato peeler will allow for more product, while cutting with a knife reduces the amount of ingredient to be used in a dish.
In the case of meat and poultry, it is important to remove the remains of fat and bones according to their preparation, because they tend to displease diners.
However, great care must be taken when cutting the pieces of animal protein to be used in the dishes on the menu.
If you offer juices or smoothies on the menu, each fruit must be washed and cut into pieces.
This will be put into a vacuum bag and placed in the freezer, thus increasing its shelf life
This advice also applies to vegetables and legumes, which, despite being frozen, will not lose their freshness or nutrients.
Shop by pantry storage
If your pantry is running out and you need new products, only buy those whose existence is about to run out inside the pantry.
Do not buy food that you have in large quantities, it will be more complex to use these products and they will end up expiring before you can open their packaging.
Another point to be aware of is that you should buy products with expiration dates not so close to the date of purchase.
That way, the chefs will be able to prepare the dishes with peace of mind and without fear of having to throw away the expired products.
Pantry product rotation
When your products are stored in a pantry, rotation is very necessary.
In order to manage it correctly, the idea is to place the products in order of purchase. The older ones in front and the new ones behind, so you make sure you use the ones with the closest expiry date first.
That way, it will be easier to observe the existence of the products in the pantry and the expiration date of each food item.