What is carbon neutral, and what does it look like in practice for a commercial kitchen? Many foodservice operators are recognizing the importance of minimizing their environmental footprint. Resources, such as energy, foodstuffs, and waste disposal, are under price and logistical pressure. It makes sense to carefully examine how an operation can utilize these resources efficiently and minimize the impact on the supply chain.
One consideration in assessing the operation is the carbon footprint. This refers to the impact of a facility’s carbon dioxide emissions, both directly and indirectly. The state of being carbon neutral means the amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced is offset by the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a significant contributor to climate change.
Achieving carbon neutral in commercial kitchens may seem daunting, but there are several ways to reduce or offset carbon emissions. Some examples:
- Energy efficient equipment. Investing in energy-efficient equipment, whether appliances or ventilation systems, can significantly reduce carbon emissions. Calculations can be made to compare different types of equipment and their energy use and related carbon impact. Purchasing energy-efficient equipment may require more upfront investment, but can generate long-term savings on energy bills.
- Improved waste management can also contribute to a reduction in carbon emissions. Implementing recycling and composting programs to reduce the amount of waste entering landfills which emit methane, a greenhouse gas.
- Renewable energy, whether purchased from the local energy provider or installed (solar, wind) on the property. Tax incentives may offset renewables’ costs and save energy dollars over time.
- Depending on the size of the operation, local sourcing of ingredients from local farms may be a viable option. This would reduce carbon emissions associated with transportation
Becoming carbon neutral involves some additional costs, and the additional investment will lead to long-term savings and benefits. It will reflect positively on your brand and customer loyalty as customers seek businesses that invest in these practices and, importantly, reduce environmental impact.
If you are interested in further information on how to help your commercial kitchen become carbon neutral, the experts who manufacture your equipment and appliances can guide you on the proper selections needed to meet this requirement.
Our recommended next article would be: What does a sustainable commercial kitchen look like?
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