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Stepping lightly: How restaurants can reduce their carbon footprint

Five ways restaurant operators are working to save the planet

If there is anyone who should care about climate change, it should be those in the restaurant industry. 

On a fundamental level, the changing weather patterns on this warming earth that have resulted in part from human activity pose a threat to every ingredient on the plate. 

Drought. Hurricanes. Blizzards. Floods. Rising sea levels. Wildfires. These events are all part of what many say is a new normal. 

What can the restaurant industry do about it? 

For years, restaurateurs have been building more sustainable practices into their operations.

They have been investing in LEED-certified buildings and energy-saving equipment and lighting. They have been recycling used oil for biofuel; shifting to compostable and biodegradable packaging; and avoiding the use of polystyrene, plastic straws and plastic bags. 

They have been buying local and organic produce; using eco-friendly cleaning products; and creating paperless office systems.

And, on a broader scale, some operators are rethinking their carbon footprints in a way that focuses on specific themes, whether it’s protecting the health of the soil, sea life or the atmosphere. 

In this five-part special report, Restaurant Hospitality takes an in-depth look at restaurants leading the way. 

Part 1: Reducing food waste

Part 2: Preserving the soil

Part 3: Supporting bee-friendly policies

Part 4: Sourcing strategically

Part 5: Promoting plant-based meals


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