A typical restaurant generates more than 100,000 pounds of garbage per location each year—more than any other retail business, according to the Green Restaurant Association. To help quick service restaurant operators improve the sustainability of their operations on Earth Day, Cintas Corporation has identified five steps to eliminate waste through source reduction efforts.

“The Environmental Protection Agency estimates Americans throw away approximately 250 million tons of trash every year,” says Ann Nickolas, Senior Director of Foodservice, Cintas.

“While recycling reduces landfill waste, source reduction— or waste prevention— is another way QSR operators can limit their environmental impact and waste disposal costs.”

Cintas’ five easy tips to improve source reduction efforts include:

1. Use a chemical top-off service. A chemical top-off service eliminates much of the packaging, transportation and waste associated with purchasing ready-to-use chemicals. A managed chemical program alleviates overstock or shortage issues by ensuring chemicals are always available.

2. Implement a microfiber wipe program. Disposable wipes directly contribute to landfill waste and take years to decompose. Microfiber wipes reduce up to 98 percent of bacteria from hard surfaces, improving food safety efforts. They can also be laundered and re-used many times, extending the product lifecycle and diverting products from the waste stream.

3. Rent mops. Many QSR operators throw away mops after a short period to keep floors clean and reduce the opportunity for cross contamination. A mop rental program ensures that mops are regularly laundered and ready to clean floors.

4. Integrate preventative maintenance strategies. Products and equipment that are not regularly cleaned and maintained break down more quickly, ultimately ending up in the landfill faster than products that are regularly maintained. A routine maintenance program that cleans all surfaces and equipment throughout the restaurant will help reduce wear – and the opportunity for failure.

5. Use green chemicals. Green Seal-certified chemicals are proven to have reduced toxicity and limited environmental impact compared to traditional chemicals. Dilution control programs further improve the sustainability of a chemical management system by ensuring that chemicals are properly diluted each time they are used.

“While much of the focus of ‘going green’ in the foodservice industry is about the types of products and systems used, QSRs can benefit by reducing their inventory and using products that last longer,” added Nickolas.  

For more information on Cintas’ sustainable solutions for foodservice, please visit www.cintas.com/foodservice.

Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types primarily throughout North AmericaCintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol CTAS and is a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Industry News, Philanthropy