Turning Food Waste Regulations into Opportunities

As cities and states begin pushing harder toward their zero-waste goals, new regulations are being put into effect that will change the way businesses operate. For restaurants and food production, these new food waste regulations are already being put into place across the country and can have staggering impacts on your workflows, production, and profits. But it’s not all scary fines and penalties – in fact, if you do it right, you can take advantage of these changing regulations from something you have to do, into something that will increase profits and drive customer loyalty.

Cracking Down on Food Waste
Across the US, a collection of major cities have established zero-waste goals with an emphasis on reducing food waste. The city of Seattle has taken serious measures by placing a city-wide ban on throwing away food waste that went into effect in 2015. The ordinance states that all food waste and food-contaminated waste (paper napkins, cardboard containers, etc.) must be composted, and has even gone as far as to fine residents and businesses that dispose of food waste improperly. Austin, Texas is another city that has placed a city-wide ban on food waste that is targeted specifically at restaurants. In Austin, businesses can be fined between $100 to $2000 per infraction for failing to handle food waste properly. The entire state of California is moving to ban organic waste by the year 2025, and they are making big strides in their efforts. The program is designed to use compost to remove carbon from the atmosphere by revitalizing degraded grazeland. Although food waste regulation already exists in cities like San Francisco, state-wide changes are on the way.
Ultimately, these regulations shouldn’t be seen as a burden. The benefits of a food waste reduction program not only saves your restaurant money – it can bring in and keep new customers. Reducing overall waste saves you money right off the bat with only having to make changes to your purchasing practices, employee training, and other small changes. Furthermore, if you keep track of your food recycling programs, you can share that information with your customers to let them know that your restaurant isn’t just throwing away perfectly edible food. Social responsibility is one of the strongest marketing tools with eco-conscious consumers.

Staying Ahead of the Curve
As cities’ zero-waste programs go into effect, businesses need to stay ahead of the curve to avoid major changes in their workflow, revenues, and ultimately – their profits. If your workflow requires a complete overhaul to remain compliant with changing regulations, right now is the time to address those coming changes. Evaluation, preparation, and baby steps make for a smooth, and effective transition. Having multiple locations across multiple cities only compounds the issue and is a very strong point for evaluating how you are currently handling your waste and recyclables. When any aspect of your workflow changes, you can expect downtime and an impact on productivity. Factoring in elements like employee education, additional documentation requirements, and efficiency into a plan is essential to move forward and remain compliant.
No matter what industry you are in, regulations are a factor of doing business that are always going to be changing. Quest has the foresight to keep up with these evolving policies and keep your business from having to deal with interruptions to your workflows and hefty fines.

This article originally appeared on Retail and Restaurant Facility Business

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