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Sustainability is gaining increased interest not only in Malaysia but also globally these days, and it’s important that food and beverage businesses do their part as well to manage kitchen waste. One of the ways to do so would be through the 3Rs of waste management — Reduce, Reuse and Recycle


What does Reduce, Reuse and Recycle mean?

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are the 3 most well-known Rs of waste management:

  • Reduce means to cut down on the amount of trash or waste that we generate
  • Reuse means to find new ways of using things that would otherwise have been thrown out
  • Recycle means to turn something that you would normally throw out into something new and useful


Ways to Reduce

There are a few ways to reduce wastage in your restaurants. In fact, having less waste also reduces the time taken to clean up, helping you save labour costs while saving the earth. Food is also money, so the more food you waste, the more money you’re throwing away.

One way is to conduct a waste audit. Help your back-of-house staff track wastage over a certain time period and note down the common waste, before figuring out how you can reduce waste for certain items.

Yet another way is to get creative with ideas on how your back-of-house staff can create takeout meals from leftovers that are easy for your front-of-house staff to sell. This will help to avoid a wastage of food! Try crafting a selection of delicious recipes that are based on your leftover chicken — this could be your next best-selling takeout meal!

Train your kitchen staff to help you reduce wastage during preparation, such as certain knife techniques that will help to keep food fresh for longer.

With these tips, you can increase your offering, keep your customers happy, reduce food wastage and save money.


Ways to Reuse

Other than reducing wastage in your restaurants, reusing items are also important. Be sure to use storage containers that can be reused and request for your ingredients to be delivered using recyclable packaging.

While these may seem small, the actions of reusing have a considerable impact on the reducing the overall wastage. After all, for every time that your staff reuses an item, it means that your restaurant has saved the need to purchase that item again, thereby reducing waste.

Another way is to find new use for old items. One such way is to use old jars as jars for tips!

Beyond reusing items in the restaurant, why not get your diners on board as well?

Many restaurants are offering small discounts in return for diners using their own reusable cutlery when ordering takeaway, whether this is in the form of reusable containers or reusable mugs to purchase their food and drinks.

By doing so, you can do your part for the earth while also reducing the costs required to purchase takeaway food and drink containers.

Some restaurants also partner with eco-friendly suppliers to sell reusable straw sets at their restaurant, taking it a step further in encouraging their diners to adopt more sustainably lifestyles.



Ways to Recycle

Does your ingredients come in cardboard boxes? Or perhaps you provide canned drinks to your diners? Make sure to recycle them!

Newspapers are one of the easiest to recycle and also one of the most recycled materials. Once recycled, these newspapers are given a new lease of life — they become egg cartons, building insulation, paper plates, construction paper, new newspaper and more.

For all your items that are recyclable, have a separate corner for recyclables and make sure to bring it to a recycling bin instead of a regular dustbin.

Other than the usual items, food waste can also be composted. In fact, according to data by Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp), 55 percent of solid waste disposed at landfills comprise food.1

Composting is a system of breaking down organic materials, such as fruits and vegetables, cardboard, bread, pasta, and more — to form nutrient-rich soil.

While this may require some basic set up such as a composting bin, you can always opt for other alternatives such as eco-partners that will collect your food waste for you or that you can send your food waste to, to compost at their composting facilities.


Take a step towards more sustainable efforts

While it will be best to implement these tips for your restaurants, it’s also important to remember that every effort matters! You may choose to implement these tips all at once or to roll them our gradually over a certain time period — there are no rights or wrongs as long as we try our best.

At Unilever Food Solutions, we are dedicated to helping you solve any queries you may have about your food business, including reducing, reusing and recycling at your restaurant. Check out UFS Academy’s tips on waste management to help you learn better on how to integrate these tips for your business.