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How can I reduce the food waste in my cafeteria?

Reducing food waste can be an effective and simple change to help make your school or work cafeteria greener. It can also create other positive impacts such as purchasing savings and a reduction in your hauling costs. Here's some tips when it comes to reducing your cafeteria’s food waste.

Cafeteria photo

1. Introduce a food waste recycling bin

Understandably, producing food waste can be unavoidable at times. That's why it may be a good idea to introduce a food compost bin in your kitchen area, where any organic waste such as vegetable peelings can be separated and then collected by your local food waste hauler ready to be turned into compost. Need more information? Check out our advice when it comes to successful organic waste recycling

2. Asses your food

Take the time to identify and asses which food items in your cafeteria may be under-performing. It is then important to determine the reason for all of this food waste. Is it because it isn’t to your users' taste? Are the food items being rotated correctly? Is food being over produced? These questions will help you identify which food items may need removing from your cafeteria's menu or whether production methods need to be changed.

3. Educate employees

Recycling and reducing food waste may not be in everybody's nature so it's important that you educate and train your employees on the positive implications of reducing your organization's food waste. Take the time to highlight the benefits of separating organic waste or making changes to serving methods such as a reduction in costs and a greener image.

4. Portion control

We all have those times where our eyes are bigger than our bellies, but it’s so important not to over-serve food. You need to serve food in manageable portions whilst providing the opportunity to get a second serving if needs be. It may be a good idea to offer different portion options with the meal, people may be more likely to eat the food if they have selected the amount themselves. This will help to reduce the amount of uneaten food on your cafeteria plates.

5. Go tray-less

Sodexo - a food services and facilities management company - operate trayless cafeterias in more than half of its 650 college campuses. It has managed to reduce food waste by as much as 30% as it found that their students were discouraged from overloading their trays. It may be a good idea to try removing the trays from your cafeteria - you may find people will only take the food that they can carry.

6. Be conscious of food storage

In cafeterias and food service establishments, it's predicted that 4-10% of all food purchases become pre-consumer food waste. This includes reasons such as food waste from overproduction, trim waste, expiration and spoilage. Improper food storage and handling can contribute to food waste so it's critical that you take preparation procedures seriously.

Food waste recycling bins are an easy and simple place to start – speak to us today!

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“A Short Guide to Foodservice Waste Management Best Practices,” by Lean Path

Friday, June 17, 2016
NRPA Corporate Member The Green Web Foundation