This article, which was published on Local First’s Blog, highlights the efforts we have put into place to be better stewards of our most precious resource, Mother Earth. We certainly can’t claim perfection but we do care!
Catering to the Environment
Local First Arizona
Written by: Cassie Lubenow
Published April 4, 2016
Want to reduce waste at your catering events but don’t know how? Look to Phoenix’s Amici Catering to see how they are working to reduce their environmental impacts both in their office and with their clients. Here are eight meaningful actions that Amici has taken to improve their environmental footprint of their business and drive change in the industry:
- They have eliminated plastic bottle waste.
Amici staff used to go through many single-serving plastic water bottles as they made food for clients and ran their business. Plastic bottles are problematic because they require petroleum to be manufactured, virtually never degrade, and are a major source of pollution. When Amici staff realized how much plastic waste they were generating, they made the simple step of purchasing a refillable water container and dispenser at their office. Now employees can refill their re-useable cups throughout the day, creating no plastic bottle waste! Such a simple fix can have profound impacts.
In addition to eliminating plastic bottles at their workplace, they are helping clients cut back on plastic waste too. Amici offers water stations enhanced with fruit, herbs and flowers at events as an alternative to plastic water bottles. This option is priced so that it’s more affordable than the plastic bottles so there is extra incentive for customers to avoid bottles. Who can argue with cheaper and tastier water?
- They go the extra mile to recycle.
- Many business owners don’t have access to commercial recycling containers at their organization’s facility, making it tough to responsibly dispose of waste that can be recycled. Getting commercial recycling service at their facility is tough due to lack of control over the buildings waste services. Even though Amici Catering does not have a recycling bin on-site, it doesn’t stop them from keeping their plastics, glass, paper, and metals out of the trash. One of their particularly dedicated employees collects their recyclables in a separate bin at the office and brings them home to recycle at her house. They also collect their hazardous and electronic waste separately, and dispose of it correctly. We admire the devotion!
- They offer and encourage compostable service-ware with clients.
Amici proudly offers compostable plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery as a regular option for their clients. These compostable materials are made from bio-plastics, meaning they are made of plant material instead of oil and can be composted at commercial composting facilities. In this way, Amici is helping their clients go green too. If you are hosting an event with environmentally-conscious attendees or are inspired to reduce your own environmental impacts, Amici can help you meet your event needs.
- They compost their food waste. Catering requires a lot of food prep to deliver delicious creations to their clients. Unfortunately, food prep can sometimes lead to a lot of pre-consumer food waste. Amici recognized that food waste was one of their biggest environmental impacts so they recently hired Recycled City to provide a weekly composting service. With this new service, they are keeping 110 gallons of food waste out of the landfill each week! Food waste is one of the primary waste challenges facing the United States today, as organic waste creates a disproportionately high amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately 40% of food in the United States end up as waste, adding up to 33 million tons of food waste in the landfill annually nationwide. By keeping their waste out of the landfill, Amici is doing their part in solving the food waste problem. The impacts are even more important at a local level. By composting, Amici is contributing to the 40% waste diversion goal that the City of Phoenix set through the ReImagine Phoenix initiative.
- They donate their extra food.
- Sometimes there is leftover food from events, but that does not mean itneeds to end up in the landfill. When Amici has extra food, they donate what they can to local food banks and charities.According to the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy, feeding hungry people is the best way to prevent and divert food waste after source reduction. By donating extra food, Amici is giving their surplus to those in need.
7. They make clients look good by tracking their waste diversion.
Amici tracks and weighs the amount of food waste and compostable serviceware composted at corporate events instead of landfilled. The businesses they serve can now see and share the positive impact they are making with their employees and customers. They make it easy.
Amici brings trash ambassadors to large corporate events that are interested in diverting catering waste. The trash ambassadors are paid staff that help with sorting recyclables and compostables out of the trash and educate guests on how to divert waste. This makes the process extremely efficient and makes for a better event by incorporating learning activities.
- They champion industry-wide change.
Amici is dedicated to learning more about how to reduce their own environmental impacts and help other food businesses do the same. They are truly a pioneering company paving the way for a sustainable catering industry in Arizona. They are interested in sharing with, learning from, and collaborating with other companies so that they can make sustainability the norm for food industries.
Props to Amici Catering for taking action to reduce their environmental impacts and help out their community! Amici is an excellent model for all catering and other food service businesses who are looking for simple but meaningful ways to go green.