Food Service Diversion

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Below are some common items generated at restaurants that are landfilled. There are plenty more we just don’t have listed. If you have others and tips of diversions, feel free to share with us and leave a comment.

  • Tracking: Below are some suggested ways to track. Though, how you track your discard diversion is mostly up to you. DARN3 is most interested in tracking the cumulative impact of positive behavior changes in lessening wasting.

LEFTOVER FOOD
Tip: Taking leftovers home from your plate is great! However, you could try to get in the habit of bringing reusable containers to reduce the establishment’s use of disposable containers. Maybe keep these in a bag or purse.

  • Tracking: By implementing these diversion practices, count how many times you bring leftover food home with you and estimate the amount of food. Also, when you use reusable containers try to track how often you do this.

PLASTIC STRAWS
Tip: Refuse the plastic straw whenever possible. At sit-down restaurants, try and get into the habit of clarifying you don’t want a straw to your server.

  • Tracking: Count how many times you do this in a week or month.

UNWANTED MEAL ITEMS AND CONDIMENTS
Tip: Avoiding unwanted meal items takes practice and it is different in every place of food service. Suggest to whoever takes your order that you only want this and that. Then tell them what you do not want.

For example, if you know that you are not going to eat the vegetable that comes with the order tell them to leave it off. If you don’t want the Tartar sauce packet, tell them. Most fast food places are not allowed to accept returned packaged condiments and supply them to another customer. For example, maybe you don’t need a bag at a fast food location. Maybe you will not use the supplied plastic utensils. Possibly you only need one packet of ketchup instead of 2.

  • Tracking: Track how often you intervene to prevent “oversupply” and estimate the number of items you are diverting from the landfill.

NAPKINS
Tip: Try to bring your own cloth napkins just in case the venue only has disposable napkins.

  • Tracking: Simply just track how often you bring your own cloth napkins and record how many paper napkins you are preventing from being landfilled.

RECYCLABLE MATERIAL THAT GETS LANDFILLED
Tip: A lot of items that is a part of your meal could be recycled. In food service location where there is a recycling bin, make sure you know what can or can’t be recycled in Dubuque, and follow through be sorting properly. In locations where there isn’t a recycling bin available, try to bring recyclables home with you to divert. Take the paper placemat, served on some plastic trays with your order, fold it up and take it home for recycling or tell them to leave it off your tray.

  • Tracking: Estimate how many recyclable items you prevent from being landfilled in the food service industry per week

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