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From food and plastic, to glass and cardboard, pubs create plenty of waste on a daily basis. Fortunately, there’s many actions you can take as a pub landlord to improve the sustainability of your business. By adopting an eco approach, companies can make a positive impact on the environment, rather than contribute to climate change.

Firms that act with a responsibility towards society, ecology and the economy adhere to what John Elkington named ‘the triple bottom line: profits, people, and places’. Here at Bywaters, we have the capability and equipment to efficiently sort and manage all your recyclable materials. To boost the sustainability of your pub, we’ve compiled a list of Earth-friendly solutions that can help you convert your business into an eco-boozer.

Reduce plastic usage

It’s no surprise this tops our list as plastic dominates everyday life, playing a huge role in the consumption of fossil fuels, contaminating food with microplastics, and polluting ecosystems such as the ocean. While small changes are being made by those in the hospitality industry, including banning single-use plastic straws, there’s plenty more to be achieved.

Pubs use a fair deal of single-use plastic. Proprietors often rely on plastic cups during busy, late hours to avoid customers smashing their glasses. Another example is the use of kitchen containers used for prepping food. Even though they cost more, metal alternatives are the preferred option to help reduce plastic waste. Synthetic packaging is commonly used for soft drinks cartons, as well as drinking straws — until the recent prohibition. 

In 2018, it was estimated that up to 8.3 billion plastic straws are washing up on the world’s coastlines. As such, switching to bamboo or paper products is essential, as well as giving customers the option not to use a straw. The government is currently toying with extending the ban on single-use items like these to outlaw cups and cutlery too.

At Bywaters we have the right equipment and specialist knowledge to effectively manage your pub’s dry mixed recycling (including plastic). We help businesses within the hospitality sector to cut down on plastic waste by providing suitable containers and arranging convenient collection. Our main aim is to send zero waste to landfill to fight against major pollution sources and create a greener society for everyone.

Install energy-efficient appliances

Evaluating your pub’s energy usage is a good starting point as it will enable you to pinpoint problems and make changes where necessary. It’s not uncommon for staff members to leave lights on at the end of a shift, for example, and it’s your responsibility as the pub owner to implement sustainable practices and remind employees of best practices.

In September 2021, the Department for Energy banned the use of incandescent or halogen light bulbs. The reasoning was that, by swapping incandescent lights for LED (light-emitting diode) and CFL (compact fluorescent lamp), lighting all over the country would become more energy-efficient. Halogen bulbs use 80% more energy than LEDs yet produce the same amount of light. They also have a short lifespan, so replacing these with long-lasting LED or CFL bulbs will reduce your energy consumption overall, and prevent waste as you won’t need to frequently change the bulb.

To avoid your warm, toasty pub from feeling the cold that escapes from the beer cellar, consider installing mineral fibre insulation beneath the floorboards. This not only provides extra insulation but reduces your reliance on central heating — which typically needs around 10kW of energy to heat every ten square metres of area.

On the other hand, it’s a given that your refrigerators use electricity, but there are a few great ways to eliminate this reliance to reduce energy consumption. A chilled water loop, for instance, is a system that uses your building’s pipes to move chilled water throughout it. This circulation absorbs heat from the surrounding environment, dispersing it outside, so you can make use of the natural coldness to cool your beer barrels. However, make sure there is a control to cap the amount of cooling, as overdoing it is equally a waste of energy.

Shop Local

The beauty of shopping locally is that it is a win-win for pub owners like yourself. When food is harvested in season, it is more nutrient-rich and flavoursome. Many farmers avoid using pesticides and artificial growth chemicals too, resulting in a better quality crop, so your support for local farms helps the environment and prevents them being undercut by commercial supermarkets.

Around  45% of British food is imported. This involves long journeys between producer and consumer, increasing carbon emissions as well as potentially causing damage to produce and leading to unnecessary food waste. Unfortunately, plastic is a great packaging solution, helping to protect food. However, this doesn’t benefit the planet. None of this is sustainable, so aiming to buy as much local produce as possible is a surefire way to decrease wastage.

Pubs often require ingredients that are not available all-year round, but seasonally. By keeping on top of speciality items that are in season, you will be supporting your local economy while reducing total emissions caused by food transportation and deliveries. As mentioned before, local produce will be fresher and will taste better as a result, compared to that which has been shipped from overseas.

Go Paperless

Paper receipts and dockets are items that staff and customers have grown reliant on over the years. However, this causes excessive paper waste. Many pubs have started offering customers email receipts to solve the problem. While paper dockets have been swapped for a kitchen display screen that allows everyone on the team to view orders and keep track.

A number of businesses have utilised QR code systems as a way to cut down on paper waste and reduce the need for a physical menu. Although a beautifully designed menu can be a real treat, customers appreciate the ease in which they can sit down and order what they want without having to go to the bar. Not only is this convenient for the staff and visitors, the environment benefits too.


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