18 Facts About the Restaurant Industry and the Environment You Should Know

From recycling programs, water conservation efforts, and digital logbooks, restaurants are going green in many kinds of ways. It's important stuff. Below you'll learn about the trends in environmentally-friendly restaurants and some of the issues we face as an industry.

1. Getting food from the farm to our fork eats up 10 percent of the total U.S. energy budget, uses 50 percent of U.S. land, and swallows 80 percent of all freshwater consumed in the United States. Source / Tweet this!

2. 40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten. Source / Tweet this!

3. Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year. Source / Tweet this!

4. Uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste where it accounts for a large portion of U.S. methane emissions. Source / Tweet this!

5. Reducing food losses by just 15 percent would be enough food to feed more than 25 million Americans every year. Source / Tweet this!

6. One in six Americans lack a secure supply of food to their tables. Source / Tweet this!

7. On average, diners leave 17 percent of meals uneaten. 59 and 55 percent of these potential 
leftovers are not taken home. Source / Tweet this!

8. QSR's consume 500 to 1,500 gallons of water a day. Full-service restaurants consume up to 5,000. Source / Tweet this!

9. Good news when it comes to water usage: The NRA found that between 29 percent and 50 percent of operators installed water-saving equipment or fixtures in 2012. Source / Tweet this!

9. It pays to be green. When Starbucks switched its stores to LED lighting, it reduced its energy use and bills by 7% at every store. Source / Tweet this!

10. Approximately 30 percent of waste in hotels can be diverted through reuse and recycling. Source / Tweet this!

11. On average, the food we eat in the United States travels 1,500 miles before it hits our tables. Restaurants can reduce their environmental impact and transportation costs by sourcing local ingredients. Source / Tweet this!

12. 62 percent of adults are likely to choose a restaurant based on how environmentally friendly it is. Source / Tweet this!

13. For every ton of paper that isn’t used, roughly 7,000 gallons of water and 12 trees can be saved. Source / Tweet this!

14. 72 percent of adults say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers locally produced food. Source / Tweet this!

15. The number of local ingredients used on restaurant menus has grown by 73% in the past five years. Source / Tweet this!

16. 2.5 percent of food waste is diverted to compost facilities. Source / Tweet this!

17. Food waste that goes into a landfill generates methane. Methane is 21 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Source / Tweet this!

18. Burgerville's employee-led composting and recycling program saved the company more than $129,000 each year on its packaging efforts. Source / Tweet this!