Mülltrennung in der Gastronomie: Das sind die wichtigsten Vorschriften zur Abfallentsorgung in der Gastronomie

Waste separation in gastronomy: These are the most important regulations for waste disposal in gastronomy

As nice as the smile of a satisfied guest when serving coffee or pasta may be, at the end of the day the work that has to be done after the preparation is just as annoying - apart from washing up and cleaning. We are talking about the universally unpopular and never loved waste separation. What to do with oil residues, receipts and what exactly is allowed to go in the residual waste?

Spoiler: There are also clear laws for this in Germany, which you should follow, otherwise it can quickly become expensive. So that you not only save money in the future, but also protect the environment, in this article we explain everything you need to know about the correct disposal for your everyday catering needs. We also tell you how you can easily avoid unnecessary waste without stress. Let's talk dirty!

What types of waste are most common in gastronomy and how to properly separate them?

Even at first glance, it is noticeable that waste is produced in almost every room in gastronomy: in the office, in the bathroom, but also at the table and - the number one waste stronghold - in the kitchen. How to free the kitchen from plastic, you can read here.

A lot of rubbish accumulates, especially where people cook:

  • Organic waste, especially leftover fruit and vegetables
  • paper and cardboard boxes
  • plastic, foil, cans
  • glass container
  • edible fats and oils
  • other waste

Here it can make sense to first take stock of the situation in order to identify savings potential and use it later. It is best to do this check regularly so that you can always keep an eye on your waste. Depending on the company, it can also make sense to have a garbage officer who keeps an eye on everything and conducts regular checks. Just find out what works for you, here, too, trying is definitely about studying.

Admittedly, we too sometimes stand at a loss with our garbage in front of bins and containers and are not always sure what actually belongs where. If in doubt, it is certainly advisable to find out more on the Internet or at the appropriate collection points beforehand, because incorrect throws later cost a lot of time - and money. Because anyone who is checked and demonstrably often incorrectly separates can be prosecuted.

In general, our waste can be divided into five different categories, which all have their own containers:

  1. In the yellow bag or the yellow bin mainly includes lightweight packaging made of plastic and metal, i.e. juice and milk packaging as well as tins and composite materials. It is important that the packaging is "clean with a spoon", so empty out any leftovers beforehand.
  2. waste paper such as paper scraps, boxes and also packaging and brochures made of the two materials, you can easily dispose of them in the appropriate bin or, for larger quantities, directly in the appropriate container. By the way: Although receipts are made of paper, they are made of thermal paper and should therefore be in the residual waste be disposed of in order to prevent the detachment of harmful substances during recycling.
  3. Also heard Glass in containers, where the separation between the colors is essential for proper recycling. Ceramics, porcelain and the like are out of place here, as are window panes and drinking glasses. Incidentally, the following applies to all (spirit) glass products that cannot be identified by color or cannot be assigned to any of the containers: treat them like green! Because "wrong" glass in the green container can later be compensated for during recycling, while throwing in white or amber glass can already mean the loss of valuable glass in the processes for new packaging.
  4. In the organic waste are all substances that can be biodegraded, i.e. above all leftovers from fruit and vegetables, but also coffee filters and paper towels. This also has its own bin, into which you can empty the kitchen waste bin every day, ideally you even have a compost bin. As the name suggests, the residual waste is there for everything that doesn't belong somewhere else. This includes light bulbs, toiletries and cigarettes.
  5. But what now? Fats, oils and leftovers ? The former should be separated from the leftovers on the plates. Grease and oils should therefore preferably be disposed of in their own bin, which is then regularly emptied by the relevant company and, ideally, replaced with a clean container. The same applies to containers for leftovers. By the way, you should keep these at low temperatures with a confiscate cooler until you pick them up to avoid odors and vermin.

So that not too much leftover food ends up in the bin in the first place, alternatives can also be considered at this point. At buffets in hotels, for example, it is a good idea to provide open dishes for employees after mealtime or to find out about food sharing alternatives - this way you not only save space in your bin, but also do something good. Tips on how you can reduce waste in your hospitality industry and at the same time become more sustainable in other areas, such as water consumption, you can read here .

By the way: The collection of leftovers and oils is sometimes associated with costs, organic and residual waste also costs money. With liters of waste in large companies, the whole thing can be expensive. Finding out about inexpensive but certified companies is therefore worthwhile. The size of the bin can also bring real savings, because every liter costs more. Conclusion: The cheapest waste is that which you don't produce in the first place.

Properly separate signposts for waste

Overview of waste separation

For clarity, we show you the top waste in a table and where you dispose of it correctly:

Leftover fruit and vegetables, paper towels, kitchen towels and coffee filters:

organic waste

Milk and juice packaging, plastic bottles, cling film, tins, tubes, aluminum foil, composite materials (e.g. butter curlers):

Yellow sack/ yellow bin

Receipts, products made from biogenic waste such as our #IAMPLASTICFREE drinking straws and bags , hygiene items, cigarette butts, rubbish:

residual waste

Paper scraps from the office, boxes (crushed, in pieces), newspapers, brochures:

paper waste

Bottles and other container glass:

glass container

Edible oils and fats, frying fat:

Fats and oils (container)

Leftovers from plates, leftovers of meat and fish:

food waste (container)

5 tips with which you can easily avoid unnecessary waste

save garbage? We all want to, but we also know that sometimes it's not that easy in everyday life. If things get stressful again at work, resolutions are often thrown overboard and more ends up in the bin than one would like. There are a few corners where you can easily save waste. We have our best tips for making your gastronomy a little less plastic here already summarized. But you can also easily produce less waste in other places:

1. Storing ingredients correctly is half the battle

So that food does not go bad in the first place, avoiding waste starts with proper storage. And you can save a lot when it comes to groceries, because, like packaging, a lot of waste goes into the bin. In addition to the correct storage according to temperature and location, sorting by purchase and expiry date can already make a decisive contribution to waste avoidance. Systems with boxes are ideal here, where the fresh ingredients are stored, for example, in the lower compartments and those to be used are higher up. A system can also work wonders in the refrigerator. You can also buy products that you use a lot in larger packs instead of small packs and vice versa.

2. If you buy cheap, you have twice the garbage

Even small cattle make crap! Investing in suitable, high-quality knives is very worthwhile, because a lot of edible food is lost when food is being prepared. This saves you a lot of waste when cutting meat, but also when peeling fruit and vegetables, which can then end up on your guests’ plates instead of in the bin.

3. Know your customers

Even a look at the menu and the customers' plates can be worth real money. Which dishes are loved by your customers and which are real “card keepers”? Find out what your guests would like to eat and rely on seasonal menus with products from the region - customers appreciate high-quality products. Half of them want fries, the other half want lettuce with their burger? Try out the modular principle and let your guests choose their own side dish. Another problem that one is often confronted with: the customers like it, but there is still something left over. Feel free to encourage your customers to bring their own storage jars or rely on to-go packaging made of sustainable materials. Alternatively, you can also offer two different sizes of your dishes, so there is something for every appetite.

4. Make your leftovers the highlight of the day

If you have a certain amount of ingredients left that are about to perish, simply create a special of the day with them! On a chalkboard in front of the entrance, it will definitely become a customer magnet and your team can get really creative at the same time. If there isn't quite that much left, but you still don't want to withhold the leftovers from your guests, then simply offer your creations as a small amuse-bubble for an aperitif. Even if it doesn't meet your taste, your guests will surely be happy about it.

5. It's all about communication!

Do you want to produce less waste? Then share that with your guests. Attach small signs to the buffet, in the bathroom or at the table and show that you want to support sustainable gastronomy. So please ask her to think about whether it should be a large portion right away or rather a second helping later and whether you really need a new serviette for each course. You will see: the effort pays off and less and less food, paper towels and the like end up in your bin. And who knows whether your sustainability might not also be contagious for one or the other guest?

Avoid rubbish at the buffet

That is why waste separation is so important

The answer is as simple as it is important: recycling. Yellow bag packaging that can be recycled will only go to the appropriate location if it is actually there. In plain language: Separation is trumps! Recyclable packaging can be further processed in the next step. The situation is similar with glass and paper. Everything that goes into the residual waste is later incinerated and has no lasting use. In addition, some CO2 is released during combustion and released into the environment.

Our tip: If you wanted to try from the outset to create less or no packaging waste, we have here collected a few tips and incentives for you.

In order for the right materials to be recycled, the waste must be separated - everything else is just work and microplastics got into nature more easily. And not so little: Since there are still no suitable machines for finely separating waste, the sorting out of “wrong” waste is done by hand, which costs money and, given the quantity, above all resources. In particular, incorrectly sorted organic waste can pollute packaging so much that its recyclability is severely restricted, not exactly a nice idea, is it? So, recycling allows some of the resources that were previously taken from the environment to be preserved and reused, and it also has a positive effect on the climate – take that, greenhouse effect!

Save money with waste separation and do something good for the environment

There is no magic formula when it comes to waste either. Small café or starred restaurant, how, where and how much waste can be saved is ultimately a rather individual story. But even with (strategic) baby steps you can go a long way if they go in the right direction! Our tip: start with the separation and gradually declare war on the waste, after all, masters don't just fall out of the sky here either.

Garbage means money and wastes – incorrectly separated – valuable resources. The motivation invested here for informing, sorting and analyzing savings potential is therefore doubly worthwhile. In addition, less waste also means less wasted work and time - it's best to put both into tomorrow's day ticket today!

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