In offices, recycling initiatives are sometimes easily implemented in the office, simply by introducing recycling bins, or creating better access to them. But what about the cafeteria? With an average of over 33 tons of food wasted in America, some of that waste is found at offices, especially workplaces with cafeterias. Here are three transformative ways to improve the sustainability of your office cafeteria.
1. Change the menu: source locally.
Sourcing from a local farm is a great way to introduce your employees to healthy, green foods. Not only is it good for your local environment and local businesses, but you also improve your company’s corporate responsibility and strengthen your company’s green resolve. You can start small by introducing a local, organic, in-season vegetable that is served every day or week by a local farm, and then expand the menu to include local meat or fuller locally-sourced menu items.
2. Recycle everything.
Recycling bins should not just be found by the office desk, but also strategically placed around the cafeteria for easy disposable of recyclables.
Also, adding a compost bin where dishes are placed for washing or where trash is thrown away, can help improve the chances that food gets recycled in a healthy way, back into the ecosystem. Most people will not compost materials unless it’s easy for them to do so.
Logistically, composting for your business is not unattainable. There are many businesses that will pick up compost from commercial sites, and some local governments might give discounts to your company for implementing a green initiative. Maybe even the farm you source your produce from will pick it up, to use it on their own produce. By reaching out to local farmers or green initiatives, you can find a cost-effective way to introduce composting, without much effort.
3. Encourage in-office gardening.
Small office plants does wonders to office morale and energy, so why not trade a few in for an easy herb garden, or edible flowers for a window gardening box? The smell of fresh herbs and flowers can be relaxing, and can be a great, tasteful way to improve homemade lunches or cafeteria meals right from the office. In addition, employees who can see the ease of growing plants can feel more confident in starting their own gardens at home. You can find creative ways to introduce a small garden. For example, buildings with rooftops can provide a small rooftop garden place, which can turn into a great place for employees to relax, as well as tend to plants.
Overall, the workplace can be a transformative space to encourage a green lifestyle, at work and home. By making these three changes, you can see a better follow-through of your green projects.