Understanding the Zero Waste Movement

The average American accumulates 4.5 pounds of trash per day (as of an EPA study in 2017). That’s over 250 tons of garbage nationally year over year.

So, if that’s the norm – can you imagine reducing your individual trash output to just an 8-ounce mason jar… for the entire year?

It’s the goal behind many followers of the Zero Waste Movement – a modern, minimalist lifestyle that was born amidst a global waste crisis that is polluting our oceans with land-based trash and now offers up a variety of solutions to combat trash output.

Plenty of zero-wasters, made up of mostly millennials, have joined this grassroots community and have committed to limiting their trash output and finding alternatives to every day behaviors that are cheaper in the end and produce no waste.

And, with their mission of creating as little garbage as possible, the Zero Waste Movement is targeting a variety of industries that exhibit wasteful behavior. They’ve set their sights on businesses like Amazon who create more box and packaging waste with every delivery as well as entire industries like the restaurant industry who create their own mess of wasteful practices.

And the restaurant industry has taken notice.

More and more chefs are operating in a zero-waste capacity so that every part of the dish is used in an environmentally friendly way and it produces no trash. This is done by sourcing ingredients locally and often directly from farmers to avoid extra packaging and then using whatever is left on the cutting room floor or the patron’s plate to compost. It’s just one way an industry that was once considered unsustainable, is doing their part to be very sustainable by instituting waste management practices.

Consider this note on the website of a Helsinki restaurant, Nolla, who’ve embraced the movement:

“We strongly believe that the contemporary waste management practices of the industry are outdated, and we want to do something about it. At Nolla there is no waste bin in the kitchen nor can you find any single-use plastic in the restaurant either. No produce wrapped in plastic, no cling film, no vacuum bags. Every detail from staff clothing and napkins to tableware has been thought of. Even the gift cards are made of compostable paper that has poppy seeds in them.”

Maximizing resources while minimizing waste is clearly the name of the game as we pointed out by mentioning the zero-waste movement as a Top 20 Food Trend of 2020 earlier this year and even called out the decline of single use plastic and the rise of a self-serve movement in our Top 5 Restaurant Trends of 2020 article.

The result for restaurants is more creative plating options and bigger cost savings for everyone. It’s spreading into the retail and hospitality industries as well as everyone looks to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle whatever they can to make a difference.

Nikken Foods is committed to an environmentally friendly sustainability process.

This is seen across two critical areas of our business – our social responsibility and our environmental friendliness. And our care for the environment extends to our care of our people, our community involvement, our continuity and our sustainability.

In the same ways that the restaurant industry has embraced the zero-waste movement to do more with less, Nikken Foods respects what it takes to share in the joys of good taste and good health. By respecting the environment, we preserve those values for our customers today and for those many years to come.

To learn more about Nikken Foods products and their sustainability, please contact our team of food specialists today.