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Source Reduction - Restaurant and Hotel

What is Source Reduction?
Eliminating waste before it is created. It involves the design, manufacture, and purchase of materials and production to reduce the amount or toxicity of what is thrown away. Best of all, practicing source reduction can save you money!
Source Reduction Tips to Save You Money!
In the restaurant:
  • Return cartons and containers that could be reused each time to your supplier, e.g., bakery boxes or cartons 
  • Purchase in bulk - saves packaging to be disposed, and saves on cost of goods 
  • Reuse ice from ice machines at closing to ice down food for storage - saves wear and tear on machine, water and electricity, saves food and meets proper food storage standards 
  • Reuse plastic tubs - no need to purchase tubs, and prevents tubs from entering the waste stream 
  • Save plastic bags for re storage of unused breads etc. - eliminates the need for plastic wrap 
  • Order dry goods once per week vs. 3 or 4 times - reduces office paper work, and saves precious labor time on both restaurant and supplier 
  • Adapt the habit of dumping half-empty trash into another container when removing trash - this reduces cost of liners as only full cans will be emptied 
  • Sell used cooking fat (oils) back to a manufacturer for animal food or make-up products 
  • Reuse aluminum foil or plastic wrap for covering food in coolers and steam tables 
  • Store food in reusable containers 
  • Prepare smaller portions of precooked foods (pasta, potatoes, and vegetables) to reduce the amount later thrown out 
  • Use smaller containers to hold various foods at salad bars to reduce the amount of food later thrown out 
  • Request minimal packaging when ordering supplies, materials and food items 
  • Choose products packaged with less waste. Inform your supplier of your preference for creating less waste
  • Use cloth towel machines (or hot air dryers) in high use areas such as restrooms 
  • Replace paper towels, napkins, and placemats with linen napkins and on dining room tables, once these are worn, make them into cleaning rags 
  • Use cloth rags and sponges to wipe spills in dining room and kitchen 
  • Use reusable plastic scrubbing pads for scrubbing pots and pans instead of soaped steel wool scrubbing pads
  • Purchase cleaning supplies with concentrated refills 
  • Use permanent plates and flatware for eat-in service in fast food restaurants 
  • Eliminate single use items in employee cafeteria
  • Supply condiments in bulk 
  • Replace cocktail napkins with reusable coasters at dining room tables and bars 
  • Replace bottled beer and wine with kegs or "bag-in-box" containers of wine 
  • Install bulk soda dispensing equipment 
  • Ask your supplier to exchange chemical drums instead of purchasing products in new containers when possible
In hotel guest rooms:
  • Purchase a dispensing system to replace amenities such as 1-oz. shampoo, soap or lotion bottles. If this is not possible, donate left over soaps, etc. to local shelter and other charities. 
  • Use old linens and worn towels as cleaning rags and other useful items 
  • Donate guest hangers no longer suitable for use to local dry cleaners 
  • Donate linens, towels, blankets, soap, shampoo, uniforms, used office and room furniture, etc. to a local shelter 
  • Whenever possible, have maintenance crews reuse available materials for repair and renovation 
  • Reuse old linens and towels to make baby bibs, crib bumper pads, and bar covers by salvaging usable sections of cloth
Contact the Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works, Recycling Division for more information at (410) 222-7951.
  • National Office Paper Recycling Project, Office Paper Recycling Guide, (202) 223-3089
  • EPA, Waste Prevention Pays Off, (EPA/530-K-92-004), (800) 424-9346
  • EPA, Business Guide for Reducing Solid Waste, (EPA/530-K-92-004), (800) 424-9346
  • EPA, Reusable News, quarterly newsletter, (800) 424-9346



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Anne Arundel County, Maryland. 44 Calvert Street, Annapolis, Maryland 21401 | Tele: (410) 222-7000