More and more consumers are consciously choosing products and businesses with eco-friendly ethics at heart. And that’s a good thing. If your restaurant already has an eco-conscious outlook, chances are you have noticed a shift in attitude and consumption.

At Billy Tannery, the leather we use is a by-product of the food industry, so we work closely with hospitality, witnessing up close how restaurants can be more sustainable, and eco-friendly - without compromising on customer experience. 

Perhaps you are already taking care of the little things such as disposable coffee cups and straws, but are wondering where you can do more. What about those special touches that carry an ethical ethos through to the whole dining experience? Here we share some unique ideas for eco-friendly restaurant products.

Sustainable swaps for restaurants

Cleaning products

As cleaning often happens behind the scene, the cleaning products used are often overlooked as part of the customer’s experience. But actually, if your cleaning products use harsh chemicals, they may be producing VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that are harmful to your customers and staff as well as the planet. 

Pay particular attention to hand soaps and air fresheners in bathrooms, as these will be used and noticed by your customers. From there, you might consider eco-friendly alternatives for oven cleaners, surface and floor products and laundry/dish detergents. For products that are being rinsed away, look for biodegradable formulas to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals entering the water system.

Material and reusable linens

You may or may not have tablecloths in your restaurant, but you will almost certainly have napkins. Reusable is of course a preferable alternative to disposable or paper napkins. Go for high quality organic cotton, so that they last as long as possible. 

Cotton blends or man-made fabrics may contain microplastics that will be released into the water during washing. If you already have napkins with such materials, you may consider using an item designed to contain microplastics during washing, such as a Guppy Bag.

Menu covers

Protect your printed menus without resorting to plastic covers or laminated pages. Investing in durable leather menu covers will make your menus last longer and look more luxurious. Billy Tannery’s leather menu covers are made with high quality, full grain goat leather that’s tanned by hand in our very own microtannery. The majority of our leather is a byproduct of food waste, completing the circle from farm to table.

Energy efficient lighting/LED

The hospitality industry generally uses a lot of electricity, from lighting and heating your establishment, to the appliances used to keep it running smoothly. Cutting down on your energy use could be as easy as changing a lightbulb

Switching your lighting can have a positive effect on your business costs, as well as your environmental impact. LEDs are considered to be far ‘greener’ as they last much longer than conventional bulbs, and so don’t need to be replaced as often. This means you don’t have to worry so much about buying new light bulbs (and all the packaging, manufacture and shipping that entails) or responsibly disposing of the old ones. Compared to lighting options such as fluorescent strips, they are far less damaging to the environment when they are disposed of.

Reuse, recycle… and upcycle!

Just as Billy Tannery makes products from materials that would otherwise be wasted, there are many ways to carry this ethos further through your restaurant. Every element of your decor, to your compost can be maximised for its eco-efficiency. Consider sourcing soft furnishings from recycled fabrics, upcycling furniture or turning waste into wonder. It is perfectly possible to achieve a sophisticated, high end feel whilst still showcasing your eco-friendly credentials.

During a previous collaboration with the zero waste restaurant Silo, we were so excited to see innovative dinnerware made from recycled carrier bags, and cutlery created from crushed wine glasses!

We are passionate about sustainability, and love to see our products play a part in the hospitality industry. As our leathers are fully traceable and sourced from the food industry, it gives us genuine pleasure to create products for the food industry! 

Check out our range of restaurant products, such as menu covers, leather chef’s aprons, bill presenters and coasters. We offer bespoke services for both corporate and private customers. Contact us to see how we can customise our existing range of leather goods or create an entirely bespoke product just for you.

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