When you think of catering, what comes to mind? Rows upon rows of decadent dishes? A courteous waiting staff bumbling around, offering hors d’oeuvres? Relatively low-grade food that has been whipped up en masse for the sole purpose of most efficiently feeding as many people as possible?
No matter what your idea of catering is, there’s one thing that’s almost always absent in a list of its common descriptors: environmentally friendly. That said, the following are some simple tips to help you go green with your catering options!
Order local meats
Surprisingly, one of the best things you can do for the environment is simply eat less meat or eat local meat. This is because our harvesting animals for meat is strikingly resource intensive — and at the rate we’re going, some estimates even claim that we may be living an almost exclusively vegetarian lifestyle by the year 2050 (until the 3D printing of edible meat comes along, that is…)
In any case though, meat is arguably the best part of catering for most people, but if you’re trying to go green, why not try to order some of the more vegetarian dishes instead or try going local? The environment and your blood cholesterol will thank you!
Try to get rid of all your food
This should come as a no-brainer. The most effective way to be more eco-friendly is to live more sustainably, which means trying to put every part of your catering to use. Knowing this, you should try to get rid of as much food as possible. If you have leftovers, take ‘em home for quick meals later in the week or better yet, offer them to your guests!
However, things aren’t always that easy — if you don’t want to take the food home and can’t find any takers either, you may be faced with the prospect of dumping all the quality food instead of putting it to a more useful purpose, like donating. If you really want to go green with your catering, then before you think about dumping your food, you should look for places where you can give any leftover food back to the community at the end of the day, such as food pantries.
Use recyclable plates and utensils
Though some people may be skeptical of its environmental impact in some parts of the country (they claim it’s more resource intensive to recycle than it is to simply throw things out), unless you know otherwise for your community, recycling is decidedly good for the environment. That said, another great way to make your catering more eco-friendly is to use recyclable plates and utensils, and promote the notion of recycling as opposed to throwing things in the garbage. Doing this will not only make your catering more environmentally sustainable, but also it will provide your guests with a increased sense of environmental awareness — something we’ll all start needing more and more of in the future.
Conserve resources (heat, water, etc.)
Keeping with the sustainability theme, conserving your resources is one of the best ways to live a greener life and also have a greener catering service. This one is pretty simple: Just try to use as little heat, water, and electricity as you can! Most catering services already practice these measures, since wasting resources understandably costs them money as well. But if you’re trying to go green, it’s even more important that you take steps like reducing the heat on your dishes by keeping them covered; trying to use as little water as possible (don’t dehydrate your guests, though!); and using as little electricity as possible.
By following these small steps, you can make a big environmental impact that your guests will surely appreciate and the environment will definitely benefit from!
Hayden Lewis is a writer for Lutz’s BBQ, who offer professional catering services in Columbia and Jefferson City, Mo.