plants and produceRunning a catering business is the most lucrative way to hit pay dirt in the food service industry. Unfortunately, catering can be rough on the environment due to high energy usage and waste. Fortunately, it’s possible to cash in and help the environment simultaneously. Whether you’re focused on party catering, wedding catering or both, these tips courtesy of Noosh will come in handy.

Buy Biodegradable Disposables
No matter how hard you try, it’s inevitable that catering gigs will produce a fair amount of plastic garbage that will end up in a landfill. While you may not be able to avoid some waste, you can lessen its negative effects by purchasing containers and utensils made from biodegradable organic plastics that don’t contain petroleum.

Use Locally Sourced Meat & Produce
Modern agriculture and animal husbandry use tons of pesticides and produce an inferior product that’s often unhealthy. Furthermore, transporting foodstuffs thousands of miles from factory farms to consumers puts out tons of greenhouse gases. Instead of opting for a corporate vendor like Sysco, patronize local growers and ranchers that employ organic practices.

Invest in Energy-Efficient Equipment
It takes a lot of electricity to power hardware like chafing dishes and crock pots, especially when you’re in wedding catering. Buy energy-efficient gear that conforms to ENERGY STAR┬« standards to reduce your carbon footprint. As for your base of operations, use low-power CFL bulbs and rely on propane for grilling to reduce emissions.

Generate Your Own Electricity
Regardless of your local climate conditions and latitude, you can cut down on your utility bills with solar. The cost of purchasing solar hardware and installing it is dropping quickly thanks to improvements in manufacturing technology. Better yet, today’s solar panels are incredibly efficient and can pay for themselves in a matter of years.

Stock Up on Green Cleaning Supplies
Traditional cleaning products are often rather caustic and bad for the environment once they go down the drain. Fortunately, you can get the same results by switching to milder, greener cleaning solutions that are competitively priced. Try to buy environmentally friendly cleaning agents from companies such as Seventh Generation or Green Works.

Green Up the Fleet Vehicles
If you’re like most caterers, the delivery van that you use to transport your gear to the event site is a smoke-belching gas hog. Purchasing an all-electric delivery van is the best way to kibosh vehicle emissions. Alternatively, you could convert an existing van or truck so that it runs on renewable biodiesel.

Donate or Compost Excess Food
Pretty much every catering event inevitably results in a lot of unusable waste food that often ends up in the trash. Rather than ditch perfectly good food, donate the salvageable meat and produce to a food bank or shelter. Everything else can go straight to a compost heap where it will quickly produce rich soil.

Take It One Step at a Time
Whether you’re a party catering veteran or a newcomer, making your mobile food business truly green will cost more upfront. However, you’ll save money over time and ultimately come out ahead by focusing on environmentally friendly catering practices. What’s more, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you’re saving the planet.