Did you know that 73% of millennial consumers are willing to spend more for products originating from “sustainable brands”?


That’s a pretty big piece of the global market, when you consider that the term “millennials” covers everyone born between 1977 and 1995. While it’s not feasible to transform your business into a 100% sustainable utopia overnight, there are many things you can do to decrease your footprint and increase the positive impact your business has on the world around it, while setting yourself apart when it comes selling your sustainability.


The fastest way to do this is by adding a recycling program. As simple and effective as a comprehensive recycling plan can increase your business’s positive impact on the environment and can also show potential customers that you’re here for more than just their money. As a “millennial” myself, I can say with certainty that I’d rather spend my hard-earned money where I know it can do some good. Some examples of recycling programs are:



Used Cooking Oil Recycling

Recycling your used cooking oil can net you a rebate in many cases, and will also keep your cooking oil from clogging up drain lines and filling up grease traps. Old cooking oil can be recycled into various items such as animal feed and bio-diesel fuel. SLM can set you up with a licensed cooking oil recycler who will remove the oil and send it on its way to become something else.


Single Stream and Commingle Recycling

Recycling your plastics, glass, paper, cardboard and metal will not only save you money on your trash bill every month by freeing up space in your dumpster, but it will keep all of that material from ending up in a landfill unnecessarily.



Composting is mandatory in many parts of the country, and is another great way to make an impact on the environment. Composted food waste is hauled away to become fertilizer, or in some instances, biogas. Biogas is methane released from rotting food that can be used to generate electricity.


Lightbulb Recycling

Did you know that florescent lightbulbs can’t be thrown out with the rest of your trash? That’s because florescent bulbs contain mercury which could leak out of the broken bulbs and contaminate the groundwater supply. To prevent this, SLM offers a lightbulb recycling program which not only makes it easy to get rid of your burned out florescent bulbs, but also ensures that you’re not inadvertently contributing to contamination.



Some other proven methods for improving your sustainability practices take a little more effort, but will make a great selling point with your environmentally conscious potential guests:


Eco-Friendly Takeout Containers

Utilizing post-consumer recycled content takeout containers, recyclable containers, or disposable containers made from corn-based plastics will go a long way in bolstering your business’s sustainability practices.


Use Energy Star-Compliant Appliances Whenever Possible

Next time you find yourself replacing an exhaust fan or commercial refrigerator, look for one that’s Energy Star Compliant.


Switch to Sustainable Indoor Décor

Using cloth table linens and aprons cuts down on waste. Using rapidly renewable wood products like bamboo for your booths, tables and chairs will let your customers know that you’re serious about sustainability and reduce your business’s impact on the environment.


Save Water However You Can

Install low-flow pre-rinse spray nozzles in your back of house sink and low-flow aerators in your hand sinks. Utilize low-flow toilets. Switch to an air-cooled ice machine. Not only will these steps conserve thousands of gallons of water per year, but they will also help decrease your business’s water bill.


Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance may not seem like an exercise in sustainability, but if your equipment and facilities are properly maintained, the risks of wasting water via leaks, contaminating the environment due to faulty exhaust equipment, and unnecessary energy usage from sub-par appliance performance are substantially reduced.


This list is not all-encompassing…there are hundreds of ways to introduce the practice of sustainability into the running of your business. For more details, contact SLM at 888.847.4449.



Article Written By Cassandra Caracci