At Big Dipper Hospitality Group, we care about the environment and try our best to limit our businesses’ negative impacts on the world around us. We do this in a number of ways, and are always looking for more opportunities to reduce our footprint.
As a restaurant group, we have been composting not just straws since 2008, but all food waste. This is a big one, as limiting what we send to landfills has an immediate positive impact. Additionally, we work hard to use every bit of the food products that we bring into our restaurants – this might mean using the entire mushroom, including the stem, in our cooking; using scraps and trimmed bones in stocks; highlighting a lime in all its uses (juice, rind, zest); repurposing leftover bagels for chips, etc. Another way we limit waste is that we partner with Lifecycle Renewables, a cooking oil recycler to haul our used cooking oil.
Packaging and Supplies
We buy packaging and supplies that contain recyclable or certified compostable material. We always try first for paper products when possible. When paper isn’t an option, we look for compostable alternative materials. And if it’s necessary to use plastic, we make sure it is recyclable and/or made of post-consumer recycled content. We restrict the use of single use plastics within our operations to food handler’s gloves and plastic food wrap film. When it comes to the details, we take care here too. We use compostable straws, ask our guests to specifically request utensils (compostable!) and napkins to reduce unused materials. We reuse boxes and packing materials in our shipping department, and similarly cut down boxes that come in with deliveries and repurpose that cardboard for use in our takeout bags. We run a relatively paperless operation (besides menu and check printing and a few other necessities), employing technology that allows us to avoid printing.
Food and Beverage Sourcing and Menu Development
We choose our products carefully and also look at where they’re coming from. This means things like deciding to be beef-free at State Park, deciding to stop using refined white sugar, and working to incorporate alternative flours in our baking that have more nutritional benefit. We seek out small, independent, and local producers and partners to work with work with that follow ethical standards and sustainable practices. We prefer our food and beverage products to represent shared qualities we believe in, such as natural, organic, antibiotic and hormone free, biodynamic, independently owned, and local.
Energy and Water Saving Practices
We use energy-efficient lighting, programmable thermostats, Energy Star-rated refrigerators, freezers and icemakers, and employ start-up/shut-down schedules to reduce the energy drain of kitchen equipment. We use water flow control devices at our dishwashing stations.