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Kitchens and restaurants offer a number of greening opportunities, particularly in the areas of water and energy use and waste management. Opportunities for making smart purchasing choices that can reduce the amount of toxins both workers and patrons are exposed abound.

Choosing less hazardous cleaning products that have positive environmental attribute, and taking steps to reduce exposure can minimize harmful impacts to custodial workers and building occupants, improves indoor air quality, and reduces water and ambient air pollution while also ensuring the effectiveness of cleaning in removing biological and other contaminants from the building’s interior.

Tribal casinos are starting a number of exciting programs to recycle and compost waste materials. EPA’s WasteWise Program developed a resource page specifically for entertainment venues/facilities. Composting food scraps or donating leftover food can be a great way to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. Multiple case studies can be found on the casino composting page.

Fats, oils, and greases from restaurant activities can be composted or recycled into biodiesel. Biodiesel is an alternative fuel produced from domestic, renewable resources. It is safe to use in any diesel engine and is more sustainable and far less polluting than conventional petroleum diesel. Biodiesel significantly reduces asthma-causing soot, greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide in air emissions. Along with creating less pollution, biodiesel is simple to use, biodegradable, and non-toxic. Produced from renewable resources such as waste cooking oil or soybean oil, biodiesel reduces dependence on limited energy resources. The "fat to fuel" process recovers energy and recycles waste oils that are either dumped in landfills or flushed down drains, clogging pipes, and causing costly sewer spills. For more information, visit EPA’s biodiesel web page.

There are multiple opportunities for pollution prevention in the hospitality sector which can lower operating costs and reduce environmental impacts. EPA can help businesses find the solutions that work best for specific facilities. For more information, visit the EPA Hospitality website.

As with many other spaces, lighting retrofits and water efficient faucets, can save significant amounts of money and dramatically reduce water use in kitchens and restuarants. EPA’s Energy Star partnership programs offer a proven energy management strategy that helps in measuring current energy performance, setting goals, tracking savings, and rewarding improvements. For tools that will assist you in calculating your cost savings if you purchase or upgrade to Energy Star qualified commercial equipment and in calculating your return on investment (ROI), please visit the calculator tool.

Remember that most fluorescent lamps are considered Universal Waste under federal regulations and must be recycled or disposed of properly. Rules have been developed to streamline the environmental regulations for these wastes and reduce the regulatory burden for businesses that generate these wastes. For steps to managing your Universal Waste Lamps in an Environmentally-Safe Manner, please visit: EPA’s guide to establishing a recycling program for mercury-containing light bulbs.

The National Restaurant Association published an article entitled, "Greening of the Restaurant Industry". Exit EPA Disclaimer The article contains information on how the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut is reducing waste through composting.

In order to change your method of operation on a long-term basis to a more environmentally friendly one, you may want to create a plan that includes all aspects of greening your operations and which is easy to understand and implement. This can be done through the creation of an Environmental Management System . If you are building a new facility or remodeling an existing building, there are significant opportunities to construct in a manner that reduces the environmental impact of the building and can save money in the long run.

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