At Billy Tannery we love good food. We love our leather products. And we love sustainability. Everything we do has sustainability at its core. The leather we use is a by-product of other industries - namely food. And as a result, we work closely with the hospitality industry, collaborating with some of the country’s top chefs to help their restaurants be more sustainable.
We're passionate about fighting waste, and reconnecting leather with the food chain. And whilst we don't pretend to be experts, we've found some effective ways to improve our practices and be more green.
Here we share some simple ways restaurants can be more sustainable.
Why is sustainability important for restaurants
Sustainability is everyone's responsibility. Any business can benefit from introducing environment-focused practices; it’s not just about saving the planet. Recent cost of living increases are keeping money at the front of many people's minds, but investing in sustainability can pay off for the planet and your pocket – reducing waste can really save you money.
Over the years, we’ve been proud to work with many of the UK’s top chefs and restaurants. We were really inspired when we worked on a project for SILO - the UK's first zero waste restaurant who don't even have a bin! Everything they use is reused or composted. Chef Douglas McMaster looked to us for hard-wearing aprons that didn't need machine washing (to save water and power) and we got a glimpse behind the scenes of this ambitious and innovative venture.
It got us thinking about sustainability at every link of the chain, and how we play a part in that. As our leathers are fully traceable and sourced from the food industry, it gives us genuine pleasure to create products for the food industry! Our Billy Tannery's restaurant products, such as menu covers, leather chef’s aprons, bill presenters and coasters, can be found in restaurants who share our passion for quality, sustainable goods.
How can restaurants be more sustainable?
1. Have a seasonal menu
A seasonal menu allows you to focus on the ingredients that are most available at any given time of year, helping to support local producers. Rotating your menu through the seasons is perhaps one of the most obvious options to improve sustainability, and one of the most delicious. Look at your menu and see where you can use local seasonal produce that is not only better for the planet but is perfectly ripe, fresher and rich in nutrition.
2. Limit food waste
Reducing food waste is a huge part of every restaurant or food industry establishment. Composting not only reduces food waste, but when used correctly and safely, can even improve soil quality.
It’s surprising how much of an ingredient you can actually use - particularly that of vegetables and fruits. From peel, to stalks, to seeds, there are plenty of ways to get creative and reduce waste.
3. Recycle or reuse
Some packaging is hard to avoid, so look for suppliers that use compostable, biodegradable or recyclable packaging.
For the things you can't reuse or recycle, consider donations. If there is quality food or other unused product going to waste, perhaps investigate if there’s a foodbank charity or shelter nearby that you can connect with.
4. Grow your own
If you have a bit of space out back, or spare windowsill, it’s worth investigating if there's scope for you to grow some fresh ingredients on or nearby the restaurant. This might be anything from a small herb garden to a full patch of vegetables and fruits.
A major advantage here is cost, but you can also control the amount of chemicals and pesticides involved in the production of your ingredients. You can even use your own compost created from your kitchen’s food waste; a full circle solution to improving sustainability.
5. Support independent businesses and local producers
Working with local farmers means fresher produce (as it gets to you quicker) and less travel which reduces the pollution on the roads and in the skies.
It also enables you to form strong links with the local community. By shopping locally and supporting independent businesses, you’re hopefully finding people who are as passionate about what they do as you are.
Great quality ingredients will always shine. We believe in that, from the food we eat to the products we make. More consumers are making conscious decisions about what they buy, and knowing more about where their products come from. So it’ll impress your customers too.
6. Consider every element
Water, waste, electricity, takeaway packaging – all these things contribute to making a restaurant more sustainable. Even your decor; your table, seating and carefully-sourced soft furnishings can all reflect the ethos of the restaurant.
So don’t forget the little touches. High quality and hard-wearing extras, such as our aprons, menu covers and bill presenters will work as hard as you do, and are sure to be appreciated by staff and customers alike.
Small changes add up. Sustainability isn't always easy but don't be put off. Small steps can take you on a path you can be really proud to walk.
And we’re here to help! Billy Tannery offers bespoke services for corporate and private customers. From custom leather aprons to branded tortilla warmers, menu covers and more... Contact us to see how we can customise our existing range of leather goods or create an entirely bespoke product just for you.