Food Service Industry

Safe Environment Practices and Procedures

  • Bakeries
  • Food Producers & Distributors
  • Grocery Stores
  • Restaurants

Food Service Problems

The by-products of food-related businesses can harm the ocean and sea life if they enter the storm drain system. Food businesses can cause harm by putting food waste in leaky dumpsters, not cleaning up outdoor food or chemical spills, or by washing outdoor spills into the storm drain system.

Other routine activities such as washing floor mats, operating and maintaining delivery trucks are also sources of pollution, unless proper precautions are taken.

When it rains, motor oil that has dripped onto parking lots from businesses and customer vehicles is often washed into the ocean via the storm drain system.

Oil and grease can clog fish gills and block oxygen from entering the water. Also, toxins found in oven and floor cleaners can, in high concentrations, harm aquatic life.

Keep work sites clean.

Minimize Wastes

Use non-disposable products. Serve food on ceramic dishware rather than paper, plastic or styrofoam and use cloth napkins rather than paper ones. If you must use disposable products, use paper instead of styrofoam.

Buy the Least Toxic Products Available

Look for "non-toxic," "non-petroleum based," "free of ammonia, phosphates, dye or perfume," or "readily biodegradable" on the label.

Avoid chlorinated compounds, petroleum distillates, phenols and formaldehyde. Use water-based products. Look for "recycled" and recyclable" containers.

Parking Lot Drainage

Cover, repair or replace leaky dumpsters and compactors. Rain can wash oil, grease and other substances from dumpsters into the storm drain system.

Wash greasy equipment, such as vents and vehicles, before storing outside. Wash only in designated wash areas that are properly connected to the sewer system equiped with an appropriate oil/water separator (Industrial Waster Permit required).

Recycle Wastes

Purchase recycled products. By doing so, you help ensure a use for the recyclable materials that people collect and recycle.

Recycle the following materials:

  • Container glass, aluminum and tin
  • Food waste (non-greasy, non-animal food waste can be composted)
  • Oil and grease
  • Pallets and drums
  • Paper and cardboard

Separate Wastes

Keep your recyclable wastes in separate containers according to the type of material. They are easier to recycle if separated.

Recycle Oil & Grease Wastes

Never dump them down storm drains or on the ground. Look in the yellow pages for "Renderers."

Toxic Disposal

Toxic waste includes: used cleaners, rags (soaked with solvents, floor cleaners, and detergents) and automotive products (such as antifreeze, brake fluid, radiator flush and used batteries). For disposal information call 1-888-Clean LA (888-253-2652).

Employee & Client Education

Employees can help prevent pollution when you include urban runoff training in employee orientations and reviews. Promote these Best Management Practices (BMPs):

  • Storage containers should be regularly inspected and kept in good condition.
  • Place materials inside rigid, durable, water-tight and rodent-proof containers with tight fitting covers.
  • Store materials inside a building or build a covered area that is paved and designed to prevent runoff from entering storm drains.
  • Place temporary plastic sheeting over materials or containers and secure the cover with ties and weighted objects (Not appropriate for storing liquids).
  • Post BMPs where employees and customers can see them. Showing customers you are working to protect the ocean is good public relations.
  • Explain BMPs to other food businesses through your business associations or chamber of commerce.
  • Stencil storm drain inlets near the workplace with stencils that say "No Dumping: This drains to the ocean."