Food preparation and production
- Cook in large volumes and at the lowest safe temperatures.
- Start cooking with hot, not cold, water.
- Heat only the portion of griddle or stovetop to be used.
- Stagger start-up times of equipment.
- Rearrange oven shelves before turning on the oven and don’t peek at the food in the oven.
- Do not pre-heat oven longer than necessary.
- Use thermometers to calibrate oven temperatures.
- Whenever possible, use microwave ovens, which draw less than half the power of conventional ovens and cook much faster.
- Use infrared lights for maintaining hot temperatures for cooked foods.
Refrigeration and freezing
- Compile a list of needed items from a walk-in refrigerator or freezer.
- Cool hot foods and liquids according to food codes before placing in refrigerator.
- Thaw food in refrigerator rather than under running water.
- Record and maintain proper temperatures for all refrigerators and freezers.
- Install plastic air strip curtains for all walk-ins and freezer doors.
- Fill dishwasher to capacity, monitor temperatures and do not use hotter water than is required by law.
- Scrape and stack all dishes before turning on the dish/pot machine.
- Turn machines off between batches.
- Replace high-flow valve with low valve on pre-rinse spray.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning
- Ensure that ventilation hoods cover all production equipment and use hoods to re-circulate heat.
- Keep ventilation hoods and filters clean.
- Use compact fluorescent light bulbs and open window shades or blinds for natural light.
- Turn off lights, appliances and exhaust fans when not in use.
- Clean lights at least once a week and replace burned-out bulbs.
- Use timing mechanisms, dimmers or automatic photocell devices on lights.
Plumbing and fixtures
- Repair leaking faucets.
- Install automatic faucets on sinks.
- Insulate all exposed steam and hot water pipes.
- Purchase durable, reusable products or eco-friendly disposables.
- Buy in bulk.
- Select products that use less packaging and are as free of toxins as possible.
- Serve from refillable dispensers rather than single-use disposable items.
- Separate glass, metal and paper waste for recycling.
- Install pulpers, compactors and crushers to minimize waste volume.
Building and Maintenance
- Work with your facility’s engineer to implement a regular maintenance and cleaning schedule for all equipment for maximum efficiency and performance.
Adapted from “Ways Foodservice Operations Can Impact the Environment” by Laurel P. Brown, MS, and Ruby P. Puckett, MA, RD, FCSI (Summer 2007 Market Link, newsletter of the Management in Food and Nutrition Systems dietetic practice group).