4 Ways to Improve Waste Management for Restaurants and Retailers

Owning a restaurant or retail location comes with a great deal of responsibility—including waste disposal issues that may arise. In recent years, waste and diversion have become top concerns of business owners and retailers, especially when associated with revenue loss.

A study conducted by Business for Social Responsibility, on behalf of Food Waste Alliance, showed that food waste and profit loss are significant issues:

  • More than 84% of the food waste generated by U.S. restaurants ended up in the landfill.
  • Restaurants donate only 1.4% of food and recycle only 14.3%.
  • Businesses experience 15.7% food loss across the industry.
  • Food loss translates to 3.3 pounds of food waste per $1,000 of company revenue.

This is a substantial loss for both large and small companies in the restaurant sector. There are solutions, however. Start by identifying your needs in the following four areas:

Consider Your Costs

Consider how much cost goes into throwing away food and other wastes by evaluating how much you’re currently paying for hauling, landfill fees, environmental fees, cost of equipment and more.

After you calculate, you likely can reduce costs by partnering with a waste broker to customize the best approach to waste management. Your broker will handle:

  • Recruiting waste-hauling business options with competitive pricing.
  • Identifying the best independent haulers for your needs, eliminating additional fees and surcharges.
  • Consideration of service levels and costs, market analysis and seasonal fluctuations.
  • Managing right-sizing and cost savings through hidden opportunities and the reduction of material inefficiencies.

Consolidate Your Waste Efforts

Business owners with multiple locations may have to coordinate with several haulers at once, resulting in increased paperwork. Your waste broker, however, will manage:

  • Consolidating all invoices from each hauler, leaving you with one statement.
  • Customizing the billing process to fit your specific needs, unlike national haulers without the flexibility.
  • Acting as a single point of contact to save you time and energy.

Evaluate Your Current Services

As busy as restaurants and retailers are, you rely on your hauler to stay on schedule. However, that doesn’t always happen. Late pickups, unexpected waste volumes, continual equipment repairs, poor customer service—all are possible with an independent hauler. To solve these issues, a waste broker will provide:

  • A single point of contact. Report a missed pickup and the broker will deal with the rest. Issue resolved.
  • A plan for increases in seasonal waste volume through a process of preparation, consultation and tracking.
  • Monitoring systems that use analytics to keep tabs on the effectiveness and fullness of your baler or compactors.
  • Efficient pickup schedules that can reduce your number of hauls up to 30%-40%.

Balance Sustainable Goals with Cost Priorities

Consider these facts:

  • More than 97% of food makes its way to landfills each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • A single restaurant alone can produce approximately 25,000-75,000 pounds of food waste in a year, according to the Green Restaurant Association.

Whether you’re a company with a franchise-based business model or the owner of a centralized, single-unit restaurant, you face waste management difficulties. Identifying challenges is unique within the restaurant sector, which requires support for everything from scarce time and resources to central tracking and system-wide issues. Partnering with a waste broker will:

  • Customize solutions, address your challenges and heighten awareness to improve your restaurants’ overall performance.
  • Provide your restaurant with valuable information and analysis.
  • Assist your efforts to implement sustainable solutions, including recycling, beneficial reuse, and effective logistic management of discarded packaging and solid waste.

Restaurants are faced with burdens of food safety concerns, local laws and regulations, and food storage and transportation constraints. To resolve issues, handle invoices, manage multilocation challenges and overcome barriers, you should consider partnering with a waste broker. Contact Waste Harmonics to start managing your waste challenges.