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RESTAURANT RECYCLING PROGRAM

Introduction:
It is evident that in the near future, all lodging facilities and restaurants, no matter what their
size, will be forced to recover major portions of their waste products. New legislation, lack of
landfill space and public demand will require it. This unit can help guide your efforts.

Components in Designing the Recycling Program:


1. Determining which materials will be recycled.
2. Establishing hauler arrangements.
3. Determining collection strategy.
4. Acquiring containers.

Recycling Program, Part I:


Determining Which Materials to Recycle
Your team should now evaluate all recycling options to determine which materials you are
interested in recycling and how to better manage waste that cannot be prevented. The team
should consider the marketability of the materials to be collected. The Restaurant’s
Management Team will keep you abreast of current values in the area.

The Following Materials are Currently Recyclable:


 Paper – Virtually all is recyclable; high grade white paper is the most valuable.
 Corrugated Cardboard – Largest single source of waste paper in hospitality waste
streams.
 Newspaper – Second largest source of waste paper in hotel industry.
 Plastic – #l PETE (Polyethylene Terephthalate) and #2 HDPE (High Density
Polyethylene).
 Metal – Bi-metal food cans and aluminum beverage cans.
 Glass – Color separated: clear, brown, and green glass bottles and jars.
 Food Waste – Some food waste can be composted, other options are being
explored.
 Yard Waste – Grass clippings and leaves can be composted, and under Missouri
state law cannot enter the waste stream.
 Telephone Books – Both yellow and white pages are recyclable.

Donations are another form of recycling. Local charitable organizations will benefit from your
used items or surplus goods. Examples are: food, personal care items, mattresses, linens,
blanket, towels and tableware.

Recycling Tip:
 Recyclables such as aluminum cans can be donated to charities or organizations
working on charitable causes.

Recycling Program, Part 2:


Establish Hauling Arrangements
The next step is to contact a recycling hauler. Most restaurants should not have to pay for
recycling. This depends upon your location and the amount of waste you generate. In some
instances, you may even earn revenues for your recycled materials.

If the volume of recyclables generated by your restaurant does not meet hauler minimum
quantity requirements, there are other options to consider.
1. Enter into a cooperative recycling arrangement with other small businesses and a
hauler. A hauler can service several businesses near each other. If you share a
space with or are adjacent to other businesses, you can share a common recycling
area and any cost or revenues.
2. Take the materials to a recycler. You may be able to earn revenues on even small
quantities of materials if you deliver them to the recycler.

The Ritz Carlton Hotel’s waste hauling company takes their recyclables to a local
recycler and deducts the profits from the hotel’s hauling bill.
3. Take the materials to a drop-off recycling center. You won’t earn revenue, but this
may be the most convenient arrangement, depending upon your size and location. A
listing of drop-off recycling centers in the U.S. is managed by “Bridging The Gap”.

The Restaurant Resources consultants will help you arrange the best recycling strategy for
your needs. It may be necessary to adjust collection frequencies, container locations, and
collection routes. Open communication between the campaign coordinator and your
recycling hauler is the key to success in this area. The waste reduction team should also
work closely with shipping and receiving personnel to schedule recycling pickups and ensure
that the recyclables are properly organized for pickup.

Recycling Program, Part 3:


Determine the Collection Strategy
You can now determine the location of recycling collection containers and who will be
responsible for transporting and emptying them. A guiding principle is to make it as
convenient as possible. The system must be both simple and reliable to ensure long-term
success.

Glass, metal, plastic and food wastes should be separated in the kitchen and bar areas.
Different colored containers can be effective to help the staff separate the materials by type.
Keeping garbage and recycling containers separated avoids confusion and is a good way to
improve the efficiency of your recycling efforts. Separating also helps the chef and
management to be aware of what is in the trash (i.e. good food wasted, silverware in trash,
amount of glass breakage, etc.).

Recycling Tip:
 Recycle your liquor bottle as you inventory the empties.

Office paper recycling, including front desk, hostess station and cashier, increases
significantly when collection begins at each desk. Employees sort recyclable paper into
special containers beside or on their desks and then empty them into central collection
containers located throughout the building. Multiple containers may be provided to sort
multiple grades of paper.

Central collection containers should be placed in convenient locations, close to areas where
materials are generated, Key locations include: all kitchen areas, bars, offices, copy room
and store room. At least one central container for every working area is recommended. The
size of container must be appropriate for the number of guests and employees served,
amount of recyclables generated and collection frequency. Recycling containers should be
clearly labeled to avoid any confusion. Trash cans should also be available at those sites in
order to minimize unwanted trash (contamination) in recycling containers.

Recycling Tip:
 Place some of your recycling containers where your guests can use them. They will
help you in your efforts and they will appreciate it!
A designated storage area is required to store the materials to be recycled. This area should
be easily accessible to both your recycling service and to those responsible for transferring
recyclables from the central collection bins. Do not overlook available outdoor locations.
Containers should have tight fitting lids or covers and may need to be in an enclosed area if
outdoors.

Recycling dealers require that corrugated cardboard cartons be broken down or baled.
Balers may be provided by the recycler, purchased or rented, depending upon
circumstances. Balers are available in various sizes and may be placed either indoors or
outside in a covered area. Use of a baler significantly reduces the amount of space required
to store cardboard and paper waste and saves time by eliminating the need for employees to
break down cardboard boxes.

Recycling Program, Part 4:


Obtain Containers
Storage containers may be provided by your hauler or available for lease as part of their
service. Containers are also available through a variety of other sources. Information can be
obtained from the Restaurant consultants. A wide variety of recycling container styles are
available. Any container, such as a 55 gallon drum, may be affixed with the recycling logo for
use as a recycling container. Your hauler will inform you of any special requirements.

Publicizing Waste Reduction Success


Spread the good news! Publicize your waste reduction success internally throughout the
restaurant. Publicize your waste reduction success to your clients and customers by
highlighting it in brochures, presentations, advertisements, press releases, signs, or other
promotional materials. Publicize your success to the community through business
associations, community meetings and newsletters. Remember that “being green” is good
for your bottom line - more and more people consider environmental responsibility to be an
important quality in a business.

Recycling Tip:
 Use your waste reduction campaign as a marketing tool.

Your restaurant can encourage group lunches/dinners by offering to present your waste
reduction campaign as a meeting topic or program. You can even offer a tour of your
successful operation. The ability to conduct a recycling seminar is a great selling tool!

Summary
To maximize the bottom line, businesses today require wasting less of everything. Recycling
and waste reduction have never been more timely for both potential savings and public
image. In the fast-paced world of business competition, however, it can seem difficult to start
a waste reduction campaign. But, by cutting down on the amount of waste your businesses
generates; you can save money, increase productivity, attract more customers, and help
protect the environment.