FSD's 2011 Environmental Study
Buying local helps earth, say operators.
The percentage of operators who see buying local, sustainable and/or organic products as a way to help the environment continues to grow, according to the results of our third Environmental Survey.
- This year, 53% of survey respondents said they follow this popular practice, compared with 47% last year and only 34% the year before.
- Recycling continues to be the No. 1 environmental practice, with 85% of operators recycling at least some items. Paper and cardboard (93%) remain the most recycled materials, followed by plastic (76%), metal (62%), glass (59%), oil (56%), batteries (39%) and polystyrene (15%).
- Other environmental practices cited in our survey were collecting oil for biodiesel conversion (44%), eliminating disposables (28%), using water flow restrictors (26%) and composting (24%). Other environmental programs mentioned by at least one respondent included supplying food waste to hog farms, pulping trash to reduce its volume and going trayless.
- Only 4% of respondents said they don’t participate in any environmental programs. Most of those respondents cited cost, lack of administrative support or being located in an area where options such as recycling are not available.
- Using environmentally friendly (e.g., compostable) serviceware is one option being pursued by 43% of operators. Even though such disposable items are more expensive than typical plastic serviceware, only 17% choose to pass the extra cost onto their customers.
- For those who don’t make use of this type of disposable ware, cost is the reason most cited (71%). Other reasons given include lack of convenient locations to recycle or compost (31%), customers aren’t asking for them (16%) and such products aren’t available in their area (12%).
- Seventy-one percent of operators said they market their environmental efforts. Most of those (62%) do it through posters, handouts and other tools. The institution’s or company’s website is a vehicle used by 36% of operators to market these efforts, and 23% use contests and giveaways as the way to pass on the message.
- Although not all foodservice operators are able to practice environmental awareness in their workplaces, all respondents said they take steps in their personal lives to help the environment. Recycling (89%) and conserving energy (86%) are the actions most often cited. These are followed by water conservation (67%), buying local, sustainable and/or organic items (50%), maintaining a garden (48%) and buying “green” products (42%).
- When it comes to transportation, 45% of respondents indicated they drive less, while 35% said they are driving vehicles that are more fuel efficient. Finally, 24% of operators compost at home.
- Waste continues to be the top environmental problem facing the earth, according to operators, with 37% citing this as the No. 1 challenge. Water pollution is second, at 21%, followed by global warming (20%), air pollution (11%), loss of the ozone layer (5%), animal extinction (3%) and acid rain (1%).