5 ways to make your hospo business more sustainable
Despite challenges with the pandemic, sustainability and waste remain key concerns “66% of people across 20 markets believe it is important for brands to be “committed to making our society better.” — Kantar Better Futures Report 2022. And locally:
— 46% of New Zealanders say that they want the government to lead the way on the issue of climate change.
— 69% of adults are highly concerned about the build-up of plastic in our environment.
— 76% say they don’t think business is doing enough to reduce its impact.
— 26% say businesses should lead the way on climate change.
These environmental concerns are increasing and do impact brand sentiment. So beyond adopting business practices that are kinder to Mother Earth, there are public relations advantages when you are demonstrating care for the planet. Here are five ideas for making your hospitality business more sustainable.
Choose sustainable packaging options
As of October 2022, the first tranche of single-use plastic bans came into effect. More are coming in mid-2023. The following items can no longer be distributed or sold in Aotearoa.
— Single-use plastic drink stirrers
— Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pre-formed food trays and containers*
— Polystyrene takeaway packaging for food and beverages
— Expanded polystyrene food and beverage retail packaging (such as foam takeaway containers or some instant noodle cups)
And while coffee cups are not targeted for bans, that does not mean you cannot take the lead and remove toxic plastics from your place of business. We have, and we are not the only company producing and distributing compostable packaging; there are sustainable options. Certified compostable products serve the current convenience needs while NOT creating leftovers, waste, trash and unemployed mass.
Sign up for compost collections
If you are not, start separating your food and organic waste, utilising in-house compost bins. And beyond the kitchen, make organic bins accessible to patrons so that they can correctly dispose of their waste—which is often packaging.
Offer certified compostable packaging so you can correctly dispose of these single-use items. With 13 facilities and ten collection partners across Aotearoa, we have effective, reliable and ecological ways of recovering food scraps and packaging for composting.
Get in touch to discuss our closed-loop solutions—Compost Collect.
For more information on collections, view our partners here.
Look for alternatives to landfill for your inevitable waste
— Support food banks or a local food rescue groups such as KiwiHarvest via food donations.
— Recycle your kitchen oil and fats via a third-party bio-fuel manufacturer.
— Offer used coffee ground to your customers so they can fertilise their gardens and you reduce what you send for composting.
Optional cutlery, serviettes, carry bags and receipts
Not all customers want or need these items, so making them optional will save money and reduce waste.
— Plastic straws will be banned as of mid-2023 and will only be available for those less bodily able on request. Start early. Replace plastic straws with bioplastics or paper.
— Provide receipts on request. Studies have found that individual thermal receipts can contain BPA that is 250 to 1,000 times greater than the amount in a can of food.
— Implement BYO for takeaway containers and coffee cups. Some places provide financial incentives for BYO, which is definitely one approach; others communicate that they accept these items, and a percentage of the population does want this.
— Only offer cutlery. And if you are yet to remove plastic cutlery from your business. Plastic cutlery will be phased out in mid-2023, though these items are made from fossil fuels, and they do contain chemicals that interfere with our bodies. Removing these items from your business ahead of the bans is a positive worth communicating.
— Opt for FSC® certified products. Whether paper bags or serviettes, pay a bit extra for responsibly sourced products. Paper is the main component of many of our products, Birch, for our range of wooden cutlery and bamboo pulp for our food containers. So we want to know that we are using the world's most trusted organisation to audit and monitor our raw material supply which is why Ecoware holds the FSC® Chain of Custody (COC) Certification, first issued in August 2018 (FSC-C142978). To ensure your paper and wood products are responsibly sourced, check for FSC® certification.
Add vegetarian and vegan options—if you are not already
If you are not already, offer dishes that are either vegan or easily adapted to be. Citing environmental, health and animal rights concerns, 15 per cent of kiwis are choosing to reduce their meat and dairy consumption according to the latest Colmar Brunton Better Futures report. Adding more vegan options also provides for larger groups who want to cater for everyone when choosing to eat out, and so offering vegan options becomes a competitive advantage. Increasing your vegan offering also communicates a commitment to sustainability efforts.
Polling finds that 87% of people want to be informed of a business's efforts—your efforts to address the climate crisis
That means, your marketing and communications have to be awakening and informative, working to improve understanding of your business decisions—whether that is choosing compostable packaging or increasing the vegan options on your menu, how your business is reducing impact and working towards a circular economy.
We also suggest communicating all your efforts, crafting stories and messages that reach your patrons and new audiences that work to elevate your business offering.