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It IS Easy Being Green: Tips to More Sustainable Catering

Culture | Posted on May 8, 2012 by Kaitlan Sidey

Kermit the frog is known for one particularly famous line: “It ain’t easy being green”.

This may be the case for Kermit but when it comes to being environmentally ‘green’ – it really can be easy.

As a Seneca Green Intern over the past few months, part of my placement was to support Softchoice with sustainability-related initiatives. During this time, I attended a few of the company’s Lunch ‘n’ Learns and noticed that Softchoice offers tasty meals for employees to enjoy when they learn about the latest and greatest in the IT world.  Unfortunately, like many catered meetings, they tend to produce large amounts of waste – plates, cutlerly, containers and leftover food.

This got me thinking – how can Softchoice and many other businesses become more environmentally-aware when it comes to their catering?  Simple. By using a few overlooked methods below, companies can easily green their catering and reduce their impact at relatively no cost to their business.

Three tips for greener catering:

  1. GO LOCAL. Find caterers that are local and have a short travel time to the office. Also order from some that use most, if not all local ingredients. Softchoice will not only receive fresher, healthier food faster but will also help reduce the caterer’s ecological footprint as well as its costs for fuel.
  2. REUSE. RECYCLE. REDUCE. Use caterers like Pepperberry which delivers their food in re-usable serving trays. You’ll help cut down on waste as they’ll come back and pick up the trays, which can be washed and used for other deliveries. This is a great idea for food that’s served buffet style. If that’s not an option, then ask your caterer to deliver food in recyclable or biodegradable containers and cutlery. Or…you can even reduce your use overall by ordering food that doesn’t require much plastic cutlery or plates at all.
  3. DITCH THE BOTTLES. Ask caterers to skip the plastic water bottles, and tell employee to bring re-usable ones instead. Softchoice has readily available, filtered water taps in every kitchen, as do many companies. So why not use them?

To help find the best places that meet these criteria, we’ll be sending out questionnaires to local restaurants to determine which are the “greenest” in the Liberty Village area. We’ll post this list in our comments section below so that you have an easy way to choose more sustainable options. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you have any tips you’d like to share, please post in the comments section below.

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