Friday, October 8, 2010

Worms in restaurants?

Ever thought about what goes on behind the scenes in a restaurant? Ever wonder if the establishment that cooks up your spicy chicken wings has installed energy efficient light-bulbs? Probably not, however, students enrolled in the Hospitality Management course at SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) in Calgary did have to think about these things and recently presented ways to green up the ol' restaurant business.

Canada business greening help

Some students came up with great ideas such as heat exchanging, solar technology, water conservation etc. These would be fantastic to implement and with the growing awareness about food sourcing and the associated implications, some customers might also like to know their favourite restaurant has also put some thought into sustainability beyond the plate.  However these ideas often require some dough and advanced know-how to start up.  This is where Gary, a buddy of Doom's, impressed by our own at-home technology, presented the very simple solution to the incredible and quite frankly outrageous waste any food business produces : Composting Worm Bins.

Restaurant scraps don't have to go to waste in New Hampshire
They compost at Community Natural Foods here in Calgary
Search for Compost bins
Search for Green restaurant guides

From my own personal experience from waiting tables in restaurants and running a coffeehouse for a number of years, it's astounding how much waste there is after one day. Even with  the usual recycling of glass and plastic. It galled me to no end to scrape plates with perfectly good and untouched food straight into the garbage. Some people just have eyes bigger than their bellies. Then there's the whole slew of spoilage and unsellable items that reach their best-before dates which are thrown away without so much of a bat of an eyelid. Composting vegetable scraps, paper, non-greasy paper napkins, etc. makes simple and perfect sense in a restaurant. Yes, it would take some minimal work but I'd rather do that then spend an hour polishing silverware at the end of my shift.

So here's an excerpt from Gary's and fellow student's presentation on the subject. From my own experience with composting worms, I don't necessarily agree with all the points but nonetheless, I think it's the way to go. 


  1. I love this assignment for the students and I think worms in restaurants is a great idea. I can only imagine the amount of waste that restaurants produce.

  2. When people take ownership of an issue, innovative solutions spring up from 'the ground up'. Sustainability is such an important topic- love your examples of the students at SAIT and Doom's friend, everyday people, coming up with the solutions.