Saturday, May 23, 2009

How to run a green catering company

I really want to be green, I've found what I've done so far to be rewarding, but I'm frustrated by great new ideas that our community infrastructure just isn't up to yet.

Over the past few years I have been trying to educate myself in more environmental practices for running the catering company. With building our new facility many things were easy, double paned windows, florescent lighting, low flow water etc. After 12 years we now have a recycling dumpster, not just street side bins that have to be rolled out to the street (which is still better than when we started 15 years ago and had to load up the truck once a week to take it to recyclinger personally). I am happy to see that the recycle bin is always fuller than our trash can. Yeah!

Do you know that compost is not picked up from businesses in Petaluma? I am lucky that I have found a farmer that happily picks up 6 to 8 buckets of compost twice a week for his garden. I am looking forward to his tomatoes later in the season. Thanks Al!

The city of San Francisco has the best program that I have been able to find, restaurants only pay for the weight of their trash. Not only is there recycling and composting, they also offer grease pick up. They have recently re-worked a rendering plant in south SF to make bio fuel for city vehicles. You go guys.

My next task is disposable ware. I am first committed to using china, glass and flatware whenever possible. These items need to be washed, but they only travel to and from Petaluma and the money from them stays here in our community. However some events just need disposable items. Plastic is recyclable and easily accessible; however we are currently back logged in this country with the recyclables, so I've been looking at compostable "plastics"; I really like the sugar cane plates and cups, but they don't hold up for that second cup of coffee. The corn cups are hot on the market, but heat will do them in and we do not have recycling for them in our area yet (they need special composting facilities). So far my choices have been for the sugar cane paper products and plastic recyclable cups.

It is my mind set to become a lean green catering machine this year; the green is keeping me busy. I'd really like to see our waste service start picking up compost and provide composting for corn products. And perhaps for some improvement in sugar cane products. Green is getting easier all the time, but there are still improvements to be had.

Thanks to Clementine Eco Events for their time and discussions.

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