Food-Related Cleaning

Best Management Practices For:

Bakeries, Food Producers & Distributors, Grocery Stores, and Restaurants

The byproducts of food-related cleaning can harm the environment 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 cleaning oily vents and operating and maintaining delivery trucks are sources of pollution unless proper precautions are taken. When it rains, oil and grease not properly disposed of may be washed into the storm drain system. Oil and grease that makes its way into the environment can block oxygen from entering the water. And, toxins found in oven and floor cleaners can, in high concentrations, harm aquatic life.

Conduct Employee & Client Education

Employees can help prevent pollution when you include water quality training in employee orientation 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 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 protect the environment is good public relations.

Explain BMPs to other food businesses through your merchant associations or chambers of commerce. Raise employee and customer awareness by stenciling storm drains near the work place using the "Plaque Attack" Campaign.

Cleaning Restaurant Floor Mats, Exhaust Filters, Etc.

Do not wash restaurant or food industry-related equipment outdoors where wastewater can enter a storm drain. Clean floor mats, filters, etc. inside building with discharge to a sanitary sewer (sink or floor drain). Cover, repair or replace leaky dumpsters and compactors, and/or drain the pavement beneath them to the sewer. Rain can wash oil, grease and substances into storm drains.

Alternative: Wash greasy equipment such as vents and vehicles in designated wash areas with an appropriate oil/water separator before storing outside. Ensure that designated wash areas are properly connected to the sanitary sewer system.

Kitchen Grease - Kitchen Recyclable Oil, Grease and Meat Fat

Save oil, grease and meat fat for recycling in tallow bin or other sealed containers. Never pour into sink, floor drain or storm drain. Do not contaminate recyclable fats with waste grease from an oil/water interceptor or grease trap.

Contact recycling / hauling company to dispose of grease and/or tallow bins.

Kitchen Waste Disposal

Purchase recycled products. By doing so, you help ensure a use for recyclable materials. Recycle the following materials:

  • Food waste (non-greasy, non-animal food waste can be composted)
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Glass, aluminum and tin containers
  • Pallets and drums
  • Oil and grease
  • Separate wastes. Keep your recyclable wastes in separate containers according to the type of material. They are easier to recycle if separated.

Use non-disposable products. Serve food on ceramic dish ware 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 "nontoxic," "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 and use "recycled" and "recyclable" containers.

Toxic Waste Disposal

Toxic waste includes used cleaners, rags (soaked with solvents, floor cleaners and detergents) and automotive products (such as anti freeze, brake fluid, radiator flush and used batteries). For information about proper disposal of toxic waste, call the Nevada Small Business Development Center, Business Environmental Program at 1-800-882-3233 for free consultation.

Washing Grocery Carts - With Soap

Wastewater must be captured, filtered for particulates and pumped or drained to the sanitary sewer.

Washing Grocery Carts - Without Soap

Wastewater must be captured, filtered for particulates and pumped or drained to the sanitary sewer. If hot water is used, hot/warm water discharge to a storm drain or channel is prohibited.

Wastewater may be discharged to the storm drain through a filter barrier (e.g., booms) to filter out debris.

Washdown of Lunch Wagons/Food Carts

Wastewater must be discharged at a commissary equipped to accept and discharge wastewater to the sanitary sewer system. Never discharge any wastewater (except melted ice) to gutters or storm drains. Trucks and carts and any equipment should be cleaned on a properly equipped wash pad at the commissary. For a list of licensed commissaries, contact the Southern Nevada Health District.

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