Recycling In Restaurants And Bars

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Sustainability is more than a rising trend, it's a new way of doing business for bars and restaurants. In 2011, the National Restaurant Association in partnership with Georgia-Pacific Professionals completed a national study on restaurant recycling programs.  The research revealed three out of five customers prefer to visit restaurants that have recycling practices in place.  Customers take notice and appreciate a restaurant's efforts to reduce their impact on the environment, leading to a better public image.

For those businesses who are unsure about recycling or need assistance implementing an effective recycling program, we are here to help.  For additional information or to schedule an appointment with a Recycling Coordinator, please call us at (239) 252-2508, our Customer Service Department at (239) 252-2380, or email us.

It is estimated that 51% of consumers are willing to pay more for menu items if the restaurant recycles.  On average, customers eat out three to five times a week. Think about the potential for profit increases and customer involvement by recycling at your restaurant or bar. Start recycling today!

Recycling and Reuse in Bars and Restaurants

Did you know that you can reduce your waste considerably by utilizing reuse and recycling techniques? 

Reusable Items to Think About

  • Use cloth napkins instead of disposable ones.
  • Use reusable dinnerware and flatware instead of one-time use disposable ones.
  • Use glass cups instead of plastic cups.
  • Use cloth or reusable placemats instead of disposable ones. 
  • Replace dishes, trays, and single-serving condiments with reusable items.
  • Replace beverage bottles and cans to on-tap beverages. This will reduce the cost of buying beverages and waste disposal costs.

Recyclable Items to Think About

Many restaurants and bars also generate significant quantities of glass, aluminum, steel, plastics and corrugated cardboard. Some methods for handling restaurant waste include

  • Recycling corrugated cardboard, glass, metals, and plastic.
  • Buying in bulk to reduce container waste.
  • Contacting your supplier about the feasibility of recycling polystyrene containers. Some fast food chains are  currently recycling these containers.
  • Ask suppliers to provide you with products that are packaged in recyclable or reusable materials such as paper, glass, steel, aluminum or plastic.
  • Collect and dispose of used grease properly through your contracted hauler or by transporting it to any Collier County Recycling Drop-off Center.
  • Donate useable, outdated stock and leftover food to local charity organizations.  

Steps for Successful Recycling

Be sure that recycling and trash bins look different from each other and are clearly marked.  Both types of bins should be conveniently located in the kitchen and bar areas so that employees will use them.

Take time to train employees about what gets tossed in which bin.  Be specific, using product names used in your establishment.  For example, cans from XYZ company get recycled, but ABC company containers go into the trash.  Make up a "Do's and Don'ts" list for recycling and post it where employees are sure to see it. 

If your establishement is self-serve, post signs letting customers know that you are recycling and what they should do with their bottles and cans. Either put out a bin for these items, or have customers leave them on a designated counter for collection by your staff.

How Can Your Business Help With E-Waste Recycling?

Electronic devices are made from a variety of recyclable materials that can be reused, like steel, aluminum, copper, gold, silver, and plastic. Bars and restaurants can improve sustainability by disposing of those familiar restaurant appliances such as televisions, guest pagers, monitor screens and cell phones properly.  Contact your electronic manufacturer or vendor; they will often take back equipment they sold. Or contact your recycling hauler and verify if they have an e-waste collection program.  You can also bring your e-waste to a Collier County Recycling Drop-off Center.  Help us preserve our environment, dispose of your e-waste properly. 

Recycling "Outside the Box"

Many establishments are demonstrating their commitment to conservation by recycling "outside the box."  Your recyclables are not just limited to your basic plastic, aluminum, tin, paper, steel, and glass.  Many bars and restaurants have begun to participate in a program called ReCork that turns wine corks into footwear, floor tiles, shipping cartons, and other high-durability goods.  The corks are collected in a bin that customers are invited to help fill. When the bin is full, corks are collected and converted into durable goods. 

Helpful Information

Restaurants & Bars Brochure

Business Recycling

Mandatory Recycling

Starting a Recycling Program at Your Business

Training Videos for Businesses

75% Recycling Goal

Facts and information found on this web page compiled from various sources including Willistown Township, PA.,, National Restaurant Association,, and