Restaurants - Waste Reduction Tips
MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2020: Governor Inslee "Stay Home Stay Healthy" Proclamation
For business related inquiries please call 425.275.4823

Reduce waste in the following ways:
• Buy products in returnable or reusable containers.
• Work with vendors to minimize packaging.
• Require chemical suppliers to take back empty buckets or drums.
• Eliminate inner-pack dividers in shipping containers for miscellaneous supplies.
• Require corrugated cardboard boxes instead of waxed cardboard for produce unless you are composting food waste off-site. Waxed cardboard can be composted with food waste.
• Buy ingredients (e.g., flour, salt) in bulk, packaged in unlined kraft paper bags, which can be recycled with food waste.
• Buy eggs shelled in bulk.
• Replace individual condiment packets with approved, refillable containers. Refill from bulk.
• Check food deliveries for spoiled or damaged products before accepting.
• Store and rotate supplies to minimize loss through spoilage and damage.
• Replace disposable beverage containers with washable, reusable ones.
• Replace disposable flatware and tableware with reusable items.
• Replace paper napkins and tablecloths with cloth ones.
• Replace single-use paper hats for kitchen staff with reusable ones.
• Use straw dispensers instead of offering pre-wrapped ones (for self-service areas).
• Eliminate paper coasters or switch to reusable ones.
• Donate excess food (bread/produce OK; not meat or cooked food) to food banks or shelters.
• Discourage the printing of emails.
• Set copier/printer defaults to double-sided.
• Use computer fax modems that allow faxing directly from computers without printing.
• Eliminate fax cover sheets by using "sticky" fax directory notes.
• Eliminate unnecessary forms, redesign forms to use less paper, or switch to electronic forms.
• Use a bulletin board or routing lists for memos and journals to reduce printed copies.
• Reduce all unwanted mailings:

  •   Eliminate duplicates by returning labels requesting all but one be removed.
  •   Reduce junk mail. Guidance and a PDF kit are at
  •   Reduce catalogs at 
  •   Eliminate duplicates in your own mailing lists.

• For new software, order only the number of manuals needed. Do the same with phone books. Encourage employees to share.
• Design marketing materials that require no envelope – simply fold and mail.
• Eliminate the use of non-recyclable packaging, such as Styrofoam.
• In the lunch/break room, replace disposables with permanent items (e.g., mugs, dishes, utensils, towels/rags, coffee filters, etc.) and use refillable containers for sugar, salt & pepper, etc. to avoid individual condiment packets.
• Serve dishes at office events in reusable serving dishes.
• Eliminate single-use plastic water bottles.
• Centralize purchasing to eliminate unnecessary purchases and ensure all waste reduction purchasing policies are followed.
• Use optical scanners, which give more details about inventory, for more precise ordering.
• Lease, rather than purchase, computers and printers.

Reuse materials in the following ways:
• Reuse old tablecloths, cloth napkins and washcloths as rags.
• Print on previously printed paper, or designate a tray on printers as a “draft” tray.
• Reuse office paper as scratch paper.  
• Require laundry service to use reusable bags to transport dirty and clean linen.
• Offer a small incentive to customers bringing their own shopping bags, coffee mugs, etc.
• Reuse paper or plastic packaging materials.
• Have your toner cartridges refilled for use.

Recycle unwanted materials including:
• Cardboard
• Newspapers, office/mixed paper, junk mail
• Glass bottles and jars
• Metal cans, containers, aluminum foil
• Plastic bottles, jugs and jars
• Plastic buckets
• Scrap metal
• Landscape trimmings (green waste)
• Pallets and other wood
• Food prep wastes (must have commercial compost collection service)

Buy the following items with recycled content:
Purchasing products made from recycled materials conserves resources and is essential to support the recycling market.
• Copier/printer paper
• Paper table covers
• Placemats
• Napkins
• Menus
• Guest checks
• Take-out containers – paperboard or Cedar Grove-approved compostable
• Letterhead
• Business cards
• Paper towels
• Tissues
• Toilet paper
• Toilet seat covers
• Garbage bags
• Boxes or bags for retail use or shipping
• Recycled or remanufactured laser and copier toner cartridges
• Carpet, carpet undercushion or floor mats
• Remodeling/construction materials: cabinets, fixtures, ceramic and ceiling tiles, drywall, insulation, interior paneling, composite lumber/wood, roofing, concrete, etc.
• Sell products made with recycled content.
• Purchase or obtain previously used furniture, supplies or materials (i.e., Craig’s List, etc.).


Would you like to be recognized as a green business? Click here to take the Green Business Pledge now!