Stop for a second and visualize how much waste you create every single day in your own home… Now stop to think about how little time you have to stop and think about it. As we evolve, we find ourselves with less and less time on our hands and the busier we get, the more convenient life needs to be. We dine out more, stay out at bars longer – to at least make the day seem a bit more worthwhile. But even though we spend more time out of the house, we end up creating more waste by supporting our local food and beverage hang out.
When sipping on a cocktail and eating a delightful delicacy at your local, you’re definitely not associating this ‘necessity’ with words like ‘animal suffering, carbon omissions, pollution, destruction of eco systems, degradation of humanitarian rights, global warming…’ The Food and Beverage Industry is one of the most wasteful industries in the world. No wonder key words like ‘closed loop’ and ‘sustainability’ have been on the lips of industry leaders lately.
Lovefoodhatewaste.com estimates that in the UK alone, 7million tons of food and drink is wasted every year and this is only in our households. This accounts for almost 50% of all the food and drink thrown away in the UK and the overwhelming majority of the balance of waste is accounted for by us, the food and beverage industry. But why change? The stats speak for themselves: If we abolish the waste of the food and drink that could have been consumed in our industry alone, this could result in the equivalent of taking 1 in 4 cars omitting carbon into the atmosphere off of the roads.
Global warming is a dangerously real issue. The more we as humans waste, the more carbon emissions (the amount of greenhouse gasses produced usually expressed in tons of carbon dioxide) increase, which results in a devastating impact on the environment. Every human being has a carbon footprint – the sum of all emissions of greenhouse gasses induced into the atmosphere by your day to day activities over a given time period and it is our responsibility – for the sake of the future of our offspring – that we keep this impact as low as possible.
Do yourself a favour and calculate your carbon footprint on carbonfootprint.com, a great tool that will help you understand how to offset your carbon footprint. This could be done through something as simple (or not so simple dependent on your access to seeds, space and ability) planting a tree or even simpler through reducing our waste… So why not start in our second home – our bar.
Earlier on you were charged to visualize the amount of waste that you create at home – now visualize the amount of coasters, napkins, straws, fruit and vegetable waste from juicing and garnishing, expired ingredients, glass from spirits, beers, wines, water, plastic from containers that we waste every single day behind the stick. This is not to mention the amount of waste created by suppliers (both fresh ingredients and alcoholic goods) that do not make use of sustainable practices. Have a look at climatecounts.org for more information on global suppliers that are doing their part to minimize their impact on the environment.
The 7 million tons of food waste in the UK costs around 12.5 billion pounds and if you equate that to the F&B industry waste, consider for a second how this impacts your profit margin. Wouldn’t you want to minimize waste and increase profits while simultaneously lowering your negative impact on the environment?
So what can you start doing in your bar today?
- Think in circles
- When using an ingredient try and use every single part of the said ingredient. Consider the amount of left over frothed milk and ground coffee beans every single cappuccino creates and how these leftover ‘waste’ products can be re-used.
- Consider the source
- Select your suppliers carefully and ensure they are doing their part to lower their impact on the environment, while supplying you with the best possible quality product. Change is imminent, so if you have the power, influence your suppliers to make the change!
- Re-use and then if you must recycle
- After reusing an item and there is still waste, consider what is your best option to recycle this item. For a great example of this just look at how a low impact restaurant like Silo in Brighton, UK (one of the world’s 100 best restaurants) create compost from their food waste.
- Consider every element
- Chef Douglas McMaster, from Silo and bartenders, Iain Griffiths, from the Dandelyon and White Lyon (two of the world’s 50 best bars) have started to use melted down plastic bags to be moulded into plates and coasters. Think outside the box!
- Take the time
- Research the impact that each one of us has on the environment until such point as you understand and believe it. There are many people oblivious and ignorant to the facts – don’t be that person. Make the change!
For more information on this subject and for more ideas on how to minimize waste in your bar, feel free to check out http://www.trashtikisucks.com and follow Low Impact Bartending on Facebook.