Approaching the start of the second half of my Institutional Foodservice Production and Management rotation, I’m starting to realize how everything I’ve learned so far is coming full circle. Yesterday I was educated, in more detail, about the benefits and logistics of a FOG BMP program in restaurant foodservice managements related to sustainability. The Chief Operating Officer from FOG BMP Rite-Way Compliance Group, LLC was our guest speaker yesterday and educated us on the importance of this program, how it works, how it affects our restaurant businesses, and community as a whole.
FOGis an acronym that stands for Fats, Oils, and Grease which is commonly found in Food Service Establishments (FSE’s).
BMPstands for Best Management Plan. This program is recommended by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and mandated by various cities across the country. It entails a written plan of daily practices for food service employees to follow to solve the problems of fats, oils, and grease that enters the public sanitary sewers.
There are 2 types of grease: yellow grease/rendered grease and brown grease/trap grease.
– “Fryer” grease
– Highly Profitable
– High yield profitability from rendering companies
– Grease from food preparation
– Requires service from “pumping” companies
– Lower yield profitability from rendering companies
So, how does FOG negatively impact your FSE?
– Severe fire risk that can cause loss of property and lives
– FOG entering the drains in your facility causes blockages in the plumbing
– Unnecessary drain cleaning costs
– Increased maintenance cleaning costs of grease interceptors
– Odor issues that drive customers away
– Negative public image
– Brand damage
How does FOG negatively impact the public sewer system?
– FOG is the #1 reason for sewer system overflows
– FOG that is allowed to exit the grease interceptor of your FSE (from poor maintenance procedures/neglect) enters directly into the public sewer system
– $29 billion a year is spent on cleaning up the public sewer systems in the U.S.
Fats, oils, and grease usually enter a food service establishment plumbing system through:
– Pre-rinse sink
– Washing wares in the 3-compartment sink
– Floor cleaning
– Equipment sanitation
There are currently 2 different types of devices that all restaurants have that is designed to separate the fats, oils, grease and solids from wastewater. A grease trap is usually located in smaller food service establishments and positioned inside the kitchen near the 3-compartment sink. A grease interceptor is located in much larger food service operations and is an exterior in-ground tank.
One concept that really caught my attention of the presentation was composting. Our guest speaker mentioned that other restaurant corporations are utilizing this form of sustainability as well. The restaurants use their food waste, which is food materials that are discarded or unable to use, and saved to put in a food compost container. Then, these composts are donated to local farmers to use for fertilizers on their produce. Then, once the produce is grown, the restaurant buys those products from the local farmers. It really promotes local food economy, utilizing local farmers, and minimizing food miles traveled. I think this is a great and innovative model that every restaurant should adopt!