Beyond the Straw: Practicing Sustainability in the Restaurant Industry

A lot of waste is inherently created in the process of running a busy restaurant. From the packaging of ingredients delivered to the restaurant, to any meal portions left behind on diners’ plates—and everywhere in between—there are many moments in the process of preparing, serving, and enjoying a meal that can generate waste.

The current trend of eliminating plastic straws is a good start toward a more sustainable restaurant industry culture, but as many moments as there are to create waste means there are equal, if not greater, opportunities to reduce waste throughout the entire food service process.

While veganism is already inherently a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle aligned with greener choices, three vegan restaurants in London, ON—Plant Matter Kitchen, Plant Matter Bistro, and Plant Matter Cafe— commit to making sustainable green choices at every opportunity in their facilities.

One of the ways they practise environmental stewardship is through sourcing and using only organic and biodegradable paperware as much as possible throughout the restaurants. This includes take out containers, guest napkins, coffee and smoothie cups, as well as all paper products used in the kitchen, helping to offset plastic consumption and divert waste from landfills.

Along with composting, the process of cooking food within the kitchen itself also presents opportunities to reduce waste in the form of oil recycling. By ensuring that the Plant Matter kitchens regularly recycle used cooking oil, which is subsequently turned into fuel, the Plant Matter restaurants divert oil waste from entering waterways.

By choosing renewable, alternative energy from Bullfrog Power, Canada’s 100% green energy provider, as a primary power source for the Plant Matter Restaurants ensures that environmental stewardship is practiced from the moment the lights are switched on in the morning until they are shut off at night. 

Whether it’s painting the walls with low-VOC paint, partnering with food providers who operate within a 100-kilometre radius, or choosing locally made upcycled furniture, the sum of many small green-focused actions combine to create a big effect on sustainability, at home, within the restaurant industry, and on the planet as a whole.

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