Like many students, I work in the service industry. As a server/bartender, I am part of a system that continually contributes to waste. When I first began my current job, I remember remarking on subtle things I believed could be changed so our company could be more sustainable, but after close to 2 years, I have settled and fallen into the cycle of waste.
About a week ago, I was bartending during a sold out concert. Our venue was packed with beer drinkers and cocktail appreciators. We had run out of glassware and resorted to a stash of compostable plastic cups. I was amazed at how many customers remarked on the glassware. Many of them didn't want to contribute to more plastic waste, but I reassured them that the cups were compostable and not to worry. Little did I know, roughly 80% of the recyclable cups would be thrown in the trash, never to be recycled. Just because something is compostable does not mean it ends up in a compost! As a restaurant, we should have all been on the same page. The only way to make effective measures, is to ensure everyones cooperation. Your ideas can encourage a work environment to all contribute to a more sustainable work place. This includes all areas of work, not just restaurants.
I recently came across this Ted Talk about sustainable restaurants. Arthur Potts Dawson refers to himself as a "green chef" by designing restaurants that don't create waste. While this may sound impossible, Dawson examines his experience and shares his plans to reinvent the way we grocery shop, eat out and manage food based establishments.
There are many ways to reduce our waste and I encourage each one of you to bring something innovative to the table, whether it's at your school, place of employment or home. How will you decide to make a difference?