Food service and restaurants

Bakery Achieves Landfill-Free Status

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

A Washington state bakery has achieved zero-waste status by recycling, reusing and repurposing all of its waste.

Franz Bakery, a 108-year-old family-owned company, eliminated waste at its Spokane bakery through a recycling program that encompasses all aspects of its operations, including product and packaging waste, scrap metals, used equipment lubricant oil, used fleet motor oil, paper, plastic and cardboard.

Announcing EPA’s Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit

EPA has recently released a free, new resource to reduce food and packaging waste! The Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging Toolkit helps restaurants, grocers, caterers, and other commercial kitchens to save money and reduce their environmental impact. Explore the toolkit and share extensively with those in your food services network.

Understanding the amount, type of, and reason for food waste is the first step toward reducing it. The kit includes an Excel audit tool that allows users to tailor their waste tracking to the level of detail needed for their facility. Once the data is entered, the spreadsheet automatically generates graphs and data summaries to help facilities identify opportunities to reduce waste.

You can find this free resource and others at

Also consider joining EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge (FRC), a free program for any organization which prepares, sells or serves food. Participants reduce wasted food through source reduction, donation and recycling, saving money, helping communities and protecting the environment. They share tools, webinars and other useful information on tracking and reducing wasted food and give annual EPA awards.


Read the full post from the National Park Service.

Impending climate change impacts spur action across both the public and private sector. Regulations, best practices, and efficiency regimes challenge past ideals on chemical usage, and support the use of cleaner, greener alternatives. It is common knowledge today that refrigerant and aerosol emissions damage the ozone layer, resulting in a vulnerability to climate change effects. More than 35,000 retail food establishments (including supermarkets, grocery stores or wholesale clubs) in the U.S. use HCFC-22 as their primary refrigerant. HCFC-22 is an acknowledged ozone-depleting substance, and is being phased out under the Montreal Protocol, which is the international treaty to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. EPA has been phasing out refrigerants cited by the Montreal Protocol since 2003, and by January 1, 2020, all production and import of virgin HCFC-22 will be banned. To reach this goal, EPA has partnered with GreenChill.

GreenChill is an EPA partnership with food retailers that aims to reduce refrigerant emissions, and consequently decrease their detrimental impacts on the ozone layer that affect climate change. The program works with food retailers to help them transition to using environmentally friendlier refrigerants, reducing refrigerant charge sizes, eliminating leaks, and adopting green refrigeration technologies and best environmental practices. Advanced refrigeration includes multiple systems that reduce refrigerant emissions, including Centralized DX Systems, Distributed Systems, Secondary Loop Systems, Cascade Systems and Low GWP Refrigerants.

The partnership has three main programs that assist food retailers in reducing refrigerant emissions:

        1. The Food Retailer Corporate Emissions Reduction Program;
        2. The Store Certification Program for Advanced Refrigeration; and
        3. The Advanced Refrigeration Promotion Program.

Webinar: How to Reduce Wasted Food: EPA’s Food Waste Reduction Tools for Food Services & Restaurants

May 15, 2014, noon-1:30 pm CDT
Register at

The Guide to Conducting and Analyzing a Food Waste Assessment provides step-by-step instructions to conducting a one-time assessment of the food waste thrown in garbage bins. This instructional outreach material is useful for facilities new to food audits and for those who wish to better understand their current food waste management practices.

The toolkit for Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging: A Guide for Food Services and Restaurants is designed to help food service establishments save money and reduce their environmental impact with suggested strategies, templates and case studies. Users first track the amount, type of, and reason for wasted food and packaging on paper. Entering the data into the Excel tool automatically creates graphs to help identify patterns and opportunities to reduce waste. The accompanying PDF guide provides intervention strategies and background information.

These free, new resources can be found at


Julie Schilf is an Environmental Scientist with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 5 office where she is the regional coordinator for EPA’s WasteWise and Food Recovery Challenge programs.  She will provide a summary of the instructional outreach materials on Conducting and Analyzing a Food Waste Assessment.

Amanda Hong is a graduate fellow with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9 office working in Sustainable Materials Management and Pollution Prevention. She will provide a detailed overview of how to use the toolkit for Reducing Wasted Food & Packaging.

Chipotle Identifies Climate Change As a Risk, Warns It May Stop Serving Guacamole

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Chipotle’s recent SEC filing caused quite a stir. Specifically, one of the risks stated in that filing caused a stir.

The company cited “changes associated with global climate change” as having a potential “significant impact on the price or availability of some of our ingredients.” Due to cost increases, Chipotle “may choose to temporarily suspend serving menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of our salsas.” However, Chipotle spokesperson, Chris Arnold downplays that specific example. “It’s routine financial disclosure,” Arnold told Think Progress. “Nothing more than that.”

Chipotle may or may not have to suspend serving such staples of its menu as guacamole and salsas. However, chances are great that climate change will have an effect on the fast food chain. The filing also mentioned that weather events “such as freezes or drought” could lead to temporary price increases on certain ingredients. The filing goes on to mention drought. “For instance, two years of drought conditions in parts of the U.S. have resulted in significant increases in beef prices during late 2013 and early 2014.”

Composting 101

Read the full post from the National Park Service Commercial Services.

As more businesses seek opportunities to lower their carbon footprints, it is often the food and beverage departments that lead the charge. At parks around the country, concessioners are switching to biodegradable and compostable service-ware and utensils, composting their food waste, and promoting more recycling. Food and beverage operations are generally the number one contributor to waste in parks, which means there is ample opportunity for concessioners to make strides in this area.

Organic materials are among the highest volume of waste collected at park events.i Compost is organic material that aids in growing plants. Food waste and yard trimmings are common inputs for creating compost — both of which are found frequently in parks and at concession locations. There are many benefits to composting. Concessioners can compost food scraps or vegetation waste to reduce their output to landfills. Other benefits of composting include:

  • Reduction or elimination of the need for chemical fertilizers;
  • Cost-effective means of remediating soil;
  • Avoidance of methane formation in landfills;
  • Marketable commodity. Concessioners can supply their compost to those who need it (gardens, local farmers, etc.).

New Refrigeration Efficiency Standards To Take a Bite out of Supermarket and Restaurant Energy Costs

Read the full post from ACEEE.

The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a final rule for strong new efficiency standards today that will take a big bite out of the energy consumption of the refrigerators and freezers used in supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, and commercial kitchens. The significant reductions in energy use that we’ll see with the new standards are made possible by the availability of technologies including LED lighting and occupancy sensors, high-performance glass doors, and high-efficiency motors, which all provide big efficiency gains.

Engineering An End To Food Waste With Smarter Logistics For Our Leftovers

Read the full story in Fast Company.

This startup is working out the most efficient way possible to pickup leftover food from restaurants and deliver it to charities in need. It’s like Fresh Direct for unused food.

McDonald’s, White Castle to EPA: Cut Corn Ethanol Mandate

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

The National Council of Chain Restaurants has urged the EPA to further reduce the levels of corn ethanol mandated under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

In response to concerns about the RFS, the EPA last year proposed cutting corn ethanol levels for 2014 to 13.01 billion gallons from 13.8 billion gallons. NCCR members, including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Domino’s Pizza, White Castle Food supply chain stakeholders, say the corn quota is still too high.

In comments submitted to the EPA, the NCCR says the ethanol policy distorts agriculture and commodity markets, artificially inflates the price of corn, and sharply raises food costs and prices for restaurant owners, operators, franchisees, small business owners and the general dining public.

The American Frozen Food Institute has also warned that EPA that because corn and soybeans are critical ingredients in a range of frozen foods, higher biofuel targets will raise cost and prices for food makers and shoppers.