The Nevada Department of Conservation & Natural Resources’ Division of Environmental Protection’s (NDEP) Recycling Program awarded greenUP! with a $20,000 grant to pilot the launch of a green dining district in Carson City that will provide recycling guides to 30 restaurants on Carson Street, between Stewart (south boundary) and Winnie Streets (north boundary) and encourage them to take action to eliminate straw usage, discontinue use of Styrofoam containers, compost their food waste, and practice energy saving measures at their establishments.
According to the Green Restaurant Association, the average restaurant produces 100,000 pounds of garbage per year. Typically, close to 95% of restaurants’ waste could be recycled or composted. It is estimated that just one full service restaurant can create over 2,000 pounds of total disposed waste a week (source). The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates food waste in the United States to be about 30 to 40 percent of the food supply. The restaurant industry alone generates about 11.4 million tons of food waste annually at a cost of about $25 billion per year according to the Restaurant Hospitality Website (source). Due to the emissions associated with organic materials in the landfill, we see reducing food waste as a way to fight climate change. We will follow the US EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy to make recommendations tailored to each specific restaurant’s food waste issues.
Restaurants will be encouraged to reduce portion sizes, measure ingredients with tools like portion scoops, eliminate unnecessary sides and garnishes, perform waste audits, donate extra food and compost scraps to help reduce the amount of organic material that hits the landfill. Food in the trash is money in the trash, so restaurants are typically receptive to ideas related to reducing organic waste. Restaurants in Carson City will receive training on recycling, composting and how to properly manage their food waste.
Interested restaurants may contact firstname.lastname@example.org.