Establishing a Canteen, Part 5: Waste Disposal in Large Companies
Although Germany is one of the most advanced economies in the world, we still face some challenges. These include, for example, our mobile network, our major construction projects such as the capital city airport and the Elbphilharmonie - or our waste disposal.
In fact, Germany comes in second in the competition for European garbage champion. Only Denmark produces more waste than we do (777 kilograms per inhabitant per year, compared to 626 kilograms in Germany). Hence we have a garbage problem. The federal government is now reacting and even considering promoting more diligent recycling with stricter waste laws.
Good resolutions do not (yet) lead to a solution
One approach that could make the subject less complex is the intent to simply produce less waste. Unfortunately, it’s not often successful and remains a resolution. And so two out of three Germans consider climate change to be a "very serious" problem, but on the other hand they cannot imagine a paperless office.
In the end, all that remains is to make disposal itself as efficient and cost-effective as possible. However, this is easier said than done, especially in large companies such as canteens. Of course, there is always the possibility to outsource the entire problem with all its facets to an external service provider, but this is usually associated with high costs. Anyone who wants to save this money has a lot of things to consider.
Which are the most common types of waste in a canteen?
Garbage can be divided into many categories and should be disposed of separately. The following categories are particularly important in large kitchens and catering establishments. Depending on the situation, additional types of waste may exist.
- Food waste / biowaste
Leftovers are very common in canteens and must be disposed of separately, as they provide an ideal breeding ground for bacteria and can thus promote the onset of disease. In some places, the bio-waste bin is sufficient for this, but in some municipalities food waste and kitchen waste from catering establishments can not simply be disposed of in the bio waste bin, because they are subject to the Animal by-products disposal law (TierNebG). They belong instead in a separate food waste container. Food waste adds up quickly - on average, every guest produces 0.3 l wet waste and 0.5 l dry waste.
(Packaging, foils, etc.)
Plastic packaging with the green dot can be collected in the yellow bag / bin. It will be collected and recycled accordingly.
- Waste oil
(Frying oil, etc.)
Cooking fat must be delivered to a recycling center in a well-sealed and unbreakable container (therefore no glass or similar) as "waste for recycling".
- Paper / cardboard
Clean paper and unpolluted cardboard can be disposed of in the paper bin. Contaminated cardboard and paper items such as napkins or handkerchiefs belong in the residual waste. A cardboard press can help save space.
- Bulky waste
(Old pallets, sorted out furniture, etc.)
Bulky waste is any waste that does not fit into a garbage can, even when shredded. Only wood and metal are excluded. Bulky waste will only be picked up by prior arrangement with the local garbage disposal. Accordingly, it is important to make an appointment in good time before the garbage piles up too high. Alternatively, you can also take it to the recycling center yourself.
(Empty bottles, broken goods, etc.)
Hollow glass, such as bottles, can be disposed of in the glass bin. Excluded is refractory glass, which is to be delivered separately as mineral demolition material at the recycling yard. Flat glass (e.g. window panes) may not be placed in the bin either, but shall delivered to the recycling center as "waste for recycling".
- Old wood
(Fruit crates, wine crates, etc.)
Wood can be handed in at the recycling yard or registered at the waste wood removal.
Basically, it can be said that each company should have at least six different bins: leftovers, biowaste, paper / cardboard, plastic, glass and residual waste. Apart from that there are at least three types of waste to be collected for drop-off at the recycling center. Accordingly, a lot of space should be reserved on the premises.
How much waste should you expect?
When thinking about how many bins you might need, you should not underestimate the waste quantities of a catering business. For example, the Berliner Stadtreinigung (waste management of Berlin) states that a restaurant with 100 seats should expect a weekly waste volume of about 1400 liters.
Cheating is not a solution
Anyone who wants to save costs, space and effort and would rather stuff everything into one bin will have little success: there are fines for improper waste disposal. These differ in each state (check the corresponding fine catalog). So better to do the right thing now than to pay later.
... and how do I dispose of a Smunch Box?
Those who can’t be bothered with all those regulations will find that there is an easy solution: the online canteen. It offers the same benefits, yet saves you loads of hassle. With Smunch, even the waste disposal is easy: the box, leftovers, disposable cutlery and dressing tubs can simply be put the bio waste bin, because all these components are biodegradable. Only the lid belongs in the yellow bin.
No matter if you install your own canteen, use an online canteen or bring a homemade sandwich: We definitely wish you a great lunch break!
The Smunch Team