Kansas City, Missouri: Area restaurants have finally become much greener not only to promote sustainability, but also to save money. With Kansas City area restaurants tossing over 171,000 tons of food in landfills every single year, there is a lot of opportunity to reduce waste. The green approach to the restaurant business has really snowballed from humble beginnings.

Johnson County Community College has been the source of the widespread sustainability in the Kansas City area. It is believed, that they are the first culinary program in the United States that provides interns to restaurants to help them become much greener. Since their start in 2012, the program has had a great deal of success and attention.

Just a year ago, the college’s sustainability internship program received a $50,000 grant for green jobs. After the necessary improvements, the JCCC put the money towards the Kansas City restaurants involved in their internship program. Even though the grant money is now used up, improvements are still being made.

One of the major changes that the interns implemented was addressing the high utility costs of running a restaurants. Many restaurants in the area are not in buildings that were originally intended on being restaurants and just by making some simple weather proofing, a lot of money is saved. Also many Kansas City restaurants have failed to do any type of recycling prior to the interns arriving.

Restaurants are in a constant battle to remain sustainable. Over 25% of the energy bills are directly related to food preparation and 15% is from refrigeration. The deep fryer alone consumes more electricity that the average household in a year.

Food waste is obviously the biggest opposition facing sustainability. Only about half of all left over food from restaurants is taken home. However, one Kansas City cafeteria is proving that does not have to be the case. Rockhurst High School teamed up with JCCC to create a dining experience that is completely trash-free.

The cafeteria does not even have trash cans. From their Atomic Clocks that control the temperature more efficiently to the biodegradable napkins, they have covered all the bases. These major sustainability steps have allowed them to become certified from the Green Restaurant Association, which is the ultimate goal of any restaurant.

Primarily most Green Certified eateries are found in major metropolitan areas but Kansas City is really making sustainability waves with many restaurants. It is now much easier for Kansas City restaurants to go green. Companies such as Missouri Organic will pick up food waste free of charge from restaurants and properly dispose it rather than using a landfill. Last year, this company diverted over 16,000 tons of food waste.

This green initiative in Kansas City is working on many levels. Not only is it helping aging businesses become more sustainable but also instilling these essential practices in the next generation of chefs. It is just a matter of time before the Environmental Protection Agency steps in to regulate the waste of restaurants. Budget Dumpster is very proud of our other green businesses in the greater Kansas City area.