4 Ways to Go Green in the Kitchen Without Cutting Safety Corners
DATE: 15th November, 2017
There is much to be said for water waste in the kitchen. A recent report from CNET shows that as of March 2017, the average person who hand washes dishes can use up to 27 gallons of water in a single load. Similarly, machines built prior to 2013, “can waste more than 10 gallons of water per load,” says Alina Bradford, reporter for CNET.
Unfortunately, all too often, ‘going green’ in the restaurant industry means sacrificing a key element to maintaining a food safe environment -- and those are corners no restaurant should be cutting. So here’s a list to help you go green in the kitchen, without going in the red in the wallet.
- Invest in eco-friendly commercial dishwashers.
Any dishwasher manufactured after the year 2013 is subject to U.S. standards that require it only uses 5 gallons of water per load, which is incredible. Why does this matter? In order to properly sanitize dishes, your water temperature should be between 140 or 145 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you were thinking about hiring a hand washer to do all the dirty work, hire someone who knows how to properly follow protocol and invest in a new dishwasher to help them in execution.
- Purchase sturdy, well-made cutlery and dishware.
Many places, such as barbecue restaurants and fast food chains use disposable utensils, dishware, and all too often invest in cheap cutlery for waitstaff. Which, from a business perspective, can be the most immediately cost-efficient way to go. However, if you’re in higher-end restaurants and chains, well-made cutlery is most definitely the better investment. Dishware that doesn’t break, bend or get thrown away will save on long-term paper costs and more. Similarly, switch your plastic tupperware to glass and porcelain for storage purposes, as these more durable and long-lasting items that will help cut down on waste.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle.
This one might seem like a no brainer, but when it’s the middle of a dinner rush and all hands are on deck, it can be hard to remember to recycle plastics, cans and cardboard in the busiest of moments. Make your recycling bins as accessible and as maintenance-free as possible, so your staff can continue being environmentally-conscious even during the busiest of shifts.
- Understand gas vs. electric.
Many cooks and kitchen staff prefer gas to electric because gas allows for more control over cooking temperatures, and thusly, cook times for the food. For those looking for the most energy-efficient gas stove, make sure you note the British Thermal Unit (BTU) output. Lower BTU gas stoves are great for simmering and long-term cooking, but are also more energy efficient than higher BTU gas stoves. The average BTU of a gas stove usually ranges from 5000-7000 BTU’s, with many restaurants regularly operating gas stoves in the 12,000 BTU range.
For electric stoves, it may be harder to control the cooking temperatures, but these stoves allow your pots and pans to last longer, and provide a dryer heat that is ideal for roasting. Plus, they don’t come with the added risk that gas stoves have of a gas leak. Electric stoves use watts instead of BTU’s, at a conversion rate of 3.41 BTU’s to 1 watt, and use between 1000 and 3000 watts on average. That’s far less than energy consumed than the average gas stove.
There are many different ways to adjust your energy consumption within the kitchen without cutting corners or creating health hazards. Have more questions on how to maintain food safety for you and your staff? Sign up for a food safety course with Responsible Training and get certified today.