Going Green: An Eco-Friendly Approach to Catering
As caterers, we have the opportunity to not only shake up the food industry but to inspire healthy living. Sustainable catering can be achieved by changing the way you cook, serve and even dispose of food. Caterers have started to create dishes and events in environmentally friendly ways. Although you cannot necessarily tackle this overnight, becoming a more eco-friendly consumer is something you can achieve if you take small steps in the way you host an event or even apply to your daily life.
What does farm-to-table really mean? It means having an abundance of seasonal, local food and a varied menu. Get ready to take out your calendar or swipe up that app on your phone to note when tomato season starts. What does this mean for caterers? A chance to get our creative juices flowing, and the benefit of seasonal menus and innovative, fresh dishes.
As a consumer, you can look up the local farms around you or attend a farmers market in your area so you can start building up your knowledge along with fellow organic foodies. Building connections with those who focus on growing their own food can help you in your own kitchen when you’re looking to create a new dish.
Re-purpose, Reuse and Recycle
Have you ever walked into a place where the venue or establishment had wine bottles as lighting fixtures? Repurposing items has become quite a trend in the food and catering industry. This means repurposing containers, jars, pots, bottles and anything else you can think of in a delightful way. It not only helps the environment but it boosts creativity for new dishes, tableware and decor. And just when you think you’re repurposed everything, Pinterest can serve as a fun tool and inspiration for your next event.
An important eco-friendly investment a caterer can make is switching to reusable tableware. Steering away from disposable tableware will help reduce plastic waste and can help your catering service reach a new level of sustainability. For this, you will need to invest in buying tablecloths, cloth napkins and non-plastic tableware. In the long run, you will be spending less on purchasing all these items and will skip this part of recycling.
Although recycling at events takes a few additional steps, it has benefits for Mother Earth. Proper waste management practices can ensure guests understand what can and cannot be recycled. Staff should be prepared with the adequate recycling and trash bins to properly guide guests to the correct bins. Roundabout Catering works with Green Solutions Recycling to appropriately recycle cardboard and plastic. To dispose of oil for ethanol, Roundabout Catering works with Reno Rendering so that the oil is not spilled at a venue and to reduce the damage it may cause.
Not everything is recyclable, so it’s important to go through this before any event and remind everyone that this is an important step to ensure we are taking care of guests and the planet.
Compostable Alternatives to Plastic
Compostable alternatives are in and they are here to stay. Roundabout Catering, in partnership with Tesla, uses 100 percent compostable products for the Tesla Cafe. That’s right, every single thing is compostable, which means that not only do they give off hipster vibes but they are biodegradable. When biodegradable or compostable alternatives like cups or spoons break down, they release valuable nutrients to the soil and produce no toxic residues.
Never Toss, Look to Donate
Although it is easy for people to store leftovers at home, it can be quite a challenge if they’re at an event and don’t want to be carrying around a to-go box as they dance the night away. This is the perfect opportunity to offer an eco-friendly alternative, where instead of throwing away all the leftovers, you donate it to your local shelter. Local shelters welcome donations. The food that remains from your event can accomplish even more, well after your event is over. Donating what you have left will not only help those in the community who are looking for a warm meal, but it can also be the starting point to becoming more sustainable. Be sure to call the location prior to dropping off any food and ask for their guidelines. Some locations only accept sealed/canned items while others accept left-over food donation.
At Roundabout Catering, we created more sustainability in our practices to help our community. Our composting and food waste, which would normally go to the trash, is now helping feed goats and pigs at a local farm. When trying to be more eco-friendly, small steps go a long way. By donating our food waste, we are recycling by helping to feed our local animals.
Sustainability practices are a great step for environmental improvement. Let’s help do the right thing by inquiring, asking questions and learning more about how we can collectively be more eco-friendly.
Roundabout Catering & Party Rentals is the 2018 Northern Nevada Business View Readers’ Choice Award recipient for the Most Sustainable: Green & Earth Friendly.