3 Reasons to Get Creative with Food Waste

By Monika Wysocki, Food Waste Fair

NYC businesses produce more than 650,000 tons of food waste each year—and when that waste decomposes in landfills, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

No wonder chefs from Michelin-starred restaurants to soup kitchens are getting creative with their kitchen trim. Here’s why you need to take a serious look at what your establishment is throwing away in 2019:

1 – It’s good for your bottom line

The bottom line is that preventing food waste is good for business—in a sector where profit margins are notoriously thin. A new report by Champions 12.3 found that for every $1 invested in programs to reduce kitchen food waste, you save $7 in operating costs on average. Almost every site, no matter if it was a small cafe or a multi-million dollar restaurant, saw a positive ROI. 

2 – It’s easy to do the right thing

Over the last few years, we’ve seen a proliferation of vendors and resources for excess food recovery. From City Harvest to Rethink Food to Rescuing Leftover Cuisine to the Donate Food portal, there are options from everything from pre-packaged excess to leftover sauce. 

3 – For some businesses, it’s the law

Certain New York City businesses are required by law to source-separate their pre-consumer organic waste. If your food service business has a floor area of at least 15,000 square feet, is in a hotel with 150 or more rooms, or is part of a chain with 100 or more locations in New York City, you are covered by the law. That means your staff must separate food scraps, plant trimmings, food-soiled paper, and certified compostable products from garbage and other recyclables—and your private carter has to collect the food waste separately. More information is available here.

How do I get started?

The good news is that there are a lot of resources available to our members to help take meaningful steps toward reducing food waste. If we scale those strategies, we can eliminate millions of pounds of waste—and the associated economic, social, and environmental impacts. 

  • Attend the New York City Food Waste Fair, New York City’s largest expo of food waste solutions. The NYC Hospitality Alliance has sponsored the event to allow our members to attend at no cost! Register for your complimentary ticket using code NYCALLIANCE.
  • Hotel owners and managers should download the Hotel Kitchen Toolkit – hotels that implemented the strategies outlined saw food waste reductions of 10-38% over a 12 week period.

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