Food Service Industry

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 cleaning oily vents and operating and maintaining delivery trucks are sources of pollution, unless proper precautions are taken. When it rains, motor oil that has dripped onto parking lots from business and customer vehicles is washed into the ocean via the storm drain system.

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


Keep Work Sites Clean

  • Best Management Practices such as handling, sorting, and disposing of materials properly can prevent pollutants from entering the storm drain system.

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.

  • Bury 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, and/or drain the pavement beneath them to the sewer. Rain can wash oil, grease, and substances into the storm drain system.

  • Wash greasy equipment such as vents and vehicles before storing outside and only in designated wash areas properly connected to the sewer system with an appropriate oil/water separator.

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: food waste (non-greasy, non-animal food waste can be composted), paper and cardboard, container glass, aluminum, and tin, 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.

  • Recycle oil and grease wastes. Never dump them down storm drains or on the ground. Look in the yellow pages under "Reindeers" .

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).

Employee & Client Education

  • Employees can help prevent pollution when you include urban runoff training in employee orientations and reviews.

  • Storage containers should be regularly incepted 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 Bumps where employees and customers can see them. Showing customers you protect the ocean is good public relations.

  • Explain Bumps to other food businesses through your business associations or chambers of commerce.

  • Stencil catch basins near the workplace with Storm water Program stencils that say "No Dumping: This drains to ocean."