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National Restaurant Association - Dumping garbage fees

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Dumping garbage fees

Reducing garbage expenses was a recurring topic at the recent NRA Show. The discussions reflected restaurateurs’ interest in embracing sustainability while cutting costs.

Here are some tips offered at various education sessions:

• Don’t buy trash contributions. The most effective and profitable way to reduce a restaurant’s garbage is to purchase only as much food as the place will sell, stressed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Chris Newman. If you don’t buy more than you need, you’ll have less waste for the trash. The importance of precisely forecasting sales also was underscored in education sessions that touched on rising commodity costs.

• Give it away. Not garbage, but unused surplus food that would otherwise go into the waste bin. By donating the food to charities instead of throwing it away, restaurants can qualify for a significant tax break while lowering their tipping fees, panelists in one education session said. Carl VanNostrand said his Pizza Hut franchise cut its tax payments by $250,000 by donating unsold pies.

• Give composting a second thought. Many restaurants formerly couldn't divert food waste from landfills because composting services weren’t available in their area. That has changed drastically, with hundreds of commercial composting facilities in operation and the tally growing quickly, said Holly Elmore, director of Zero Waste Zone and moderator of an education session on the topic.

• Recycling may be easier than you think. For one thing, research released at the show underscored the willingness of patrons to help in the process. More than eight of 10 quickservice customers are willing to sort their garbage into bins for various types of recyclable materials, according to the research, which was conducted jointly by the National Restaurant Association and Georgia-Pacific Professional. Starbucks disclosed that it had expanded a pilot cup-recycling program to Chicago after setting up tests in Seattle and New York City.







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