5 Tips for Reducing Restaurant and Commercial Kitchen Waste

Restaurants – especially larger ones – and commercial kitchens generate major amounts of waste. Commercial waste disposal can assist with proper sorting and discarding of this and all other types of commercial waste. However, not every business is set up to succeed in reducing waste and maximizing recycling efforts.

A large amount of commercial waste disposal is related to food waste. It is the result of what is left over after food preparation as well as what is left on customers’ plates after they have dined. Literally TONS of food waste is produced by the restaurant industry each year.

Awareness is the First Step

While many restaurants are getting better at reducing the amount of food waste that is discarded, a lot more can be done to reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in the garbage. Lakeshore Recycling Systems can assist with making your restaurant or commercial kitchen much more efficient and eco-friendly when it comes to food waste and commercial waste disposal.

The following are five steps you can take to optimize commercial waste disposal at your commercial kitchen or restaurant:

1. Create a Strategy

Start with a commitment to reducing your facility’s food waste. Hold a meeting with key management to brainstorm what you and your staff can do to in the short and long term to meet this goal. Contact Lakeshore Recycling Systems for advice and get an expert assessment of what you can do to reduce and address your waste output. Reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible.

2. Monitor Produce Use Levels

The mismanagement of produce purchasing and inventory can lead to excess food waste as well as wasted revenues. If it wilts or spoils, it cannot be used and must be discarded. Make a concerted effort to monitor your produce levels and usage. Place orders accordingly so that you don’t order too much.

3. Manage Food Storage Temperatures

Another factor in excess food waste is when the food is not stored at the optimal temperature. Check the storage temperatures of your refrigerators and freezers to ensure that all food will retain its freshness for as long as possible.

4. Create a Recycling Program

In addition to minimizing food waste, be more mindful about recycling in all other aspects of your business. Bulk produce and other supplies often come in large cardboard boxes and containers. Are these being recycled properly? Cans and bottles should also be rinsed and recycled in the appropriate manner. Recycling instead of discarding as much as possible helps to reduce waste and improves your establishment’s carbon footprint.

5. Educate Your Employees

Once you have developed a plan for optimizing commercial waste disposal, set up a meeting to inform all of your employees about your recycling strategy. Once every member of your team is on board and aware of your plans, your strategies will be far easier to implement.

Food waste and other types of waste are a reality of doing business, but optimizing commercial waste disposal can make your establishment far more eco-friendly. Implement these five tips, and contact Lakeshore Recycling Systems for professional recycling and commercial waste disposal services.

The Impact of Plastic Waste on Our Environment (and What You Can Do About It)

A recent article on the PBS website included some startling statistics about just how much plastic we are putting into our environment instead of taking it to the recycling center. There is currently close to 5 billion metric tons of plastic now in the ecosystem – around 60 percent of what is produced.

Plastics in the Environment Could Reach 10 Billion Metric Tons By 2050

It is estimated that the amount of plastic usage could double very soon, according to a Science Advances report. This could bring the amount of plastics in the environment close to 10 billion metric tons by the year 2050. That means all those water bottles, shampoo and conditioner containers, lotion bottles, food containers and plastic bags will be littering landfills and the landscape.

A recent estimate put the total amount of plastic that has been made since 1950 at around 8.3 billion metric tons. Most of the plastics that end up in the environment are both bought and discarded within the same year. This is due to the disposable nature of most plastic items as it is used in the food services industry.

However, plastics are also used in making appliances, electronic devices, machine components and construction materials. While these items have a longer lifespan, many of them end up in the well.

What happens to plastic? It comes down to these three options:

  • They end up decomposing for hundreds of years in a landfill
  • Plastics are burned during thermal destruction
  • They are taken to a recycling center to be repurposed

At this time, less than 10 percent of all plastic waste in the U.S. is recycled. A small percentage of plastic waste is addressed with thermal destruction (burning it), most of the plastics discarded end up in landfills or elsewhere in the environment.

The burning of plastic also isn’t much better for the environment than throwing it out. Thermal destruction releases toxic fumes and chemicals into the environment, reducing air quality and creating a public health risk.

Benefits of Plastic Must Be Balanced with Responsible Disposal

Once plastic is in the environment, it does not decay like natural materials eventually do. Most plastics are not biodegradable, and even biodegradable plastics degrade into microscopic bits called “microplastics,” which may or may not be harmful to the environment.

Plastics have brought benefits to modern society, including safe, convenient ways to store and transport food and other items. It is lightweight and ideal for the bodies of appliances, machinery, household and construction items. In many cases, they provide a more appealing alternative to metal and other potentially toxic substances.

However, the numbers indicate that it’s more important than ever to make use of the recycling center when deciding what to do with your used plastics.

Lakeshore Recycling Systems is your source for experienced, high quality recycling services in the Chicagoland area. With five recycling center locations, we’re your premier source for the eco-minded recycling of all your plastic items. We can also assist with recycling your paper, cardboard, aluminum and steel cans, glass bottles and more. Contact us to learn more about our recycling services.

Top Reasons to Use Dumpster Rental Instead of a Junk Removal Service

Both commercial construction projects and home remodeling projects can produce a substantial amount of waste. However, waste removal is also a primary concern and important consideration during home reorganizing projects, spring cleaning and garage or attic renovations.
In recent years, a number of junk removal services have come onto the scene. They pitch themselves as an alternative to dumpster rental for waste removal. Both dumpster rental and junk removal services have pros and cons. The following is a look at the benefits and possible downsides of each type of waste removal service:

Junk Removal

Hauling Services. The top benefit of junk removal services is their willingness to do all the heavy lifting. They will even remove items to be junked from basements and other hard to access spaces. This makes junk removal ideal for residential or smaller commercial jobs where you won’t have proper assistance in lifting bulky items into a dumpster.

Can Be Less Convenient and Flexible. If you find additional items later that you wanted picked up by a junk removal service, you’ll have to schedule another pickup. This will invariably incur additional costs.

Ideal for Smaller Jobs. If you are in the process of moving or doing spring cleanup, junk removal can be ideal for this type of job. You may still pay more than dumpster rentals, but in some cases, the convenience and time-saving factor can outweigh the extra cost.

Add-On Costs. Junk removal services tend to be less cost effective overall than dumpster rental services for waste removal. There are often added costs for picking up bulky items such as appliances, and each trip will incur additional costs.

Dumpster Rental

Flexibility. With LRS, we have the capabilities to tackle almost any project. We offer a number of flexible size, shape and pickup options so no matter your job, our dumpster rental services will work for you.

A Safer Job Site. Waste on your job site does not have to sit out in exposed piles before pickup as they would with a junk removal service. This makes for fewer tripping hazards and accidents related to piles of debris lying around on your job site.

More Affordable. Junk removal services often cost considerably more than dumpster rentals, especially for larger jobs. This makes dumpster rentals the ideal choice for larger jobs, commercial jobs and construction sites.

Professional and Reliable. With dumpster rentals, you’ll still receive the benefits of professional waste removal once you have filled the dumpsters with everything you wish to discard.

There are some cases where a junk removal service can offer convenience and assistance. Smaller jobs where you are pressed for time and require help with heavy lifting might call for this type of service.

However, in the vast majority of cases, dumpster rental is the solid choice for waste removal. With a range of size options, flexible pickup terms and cost-effective rates, dumpster rental is a reliable, professional waste removal option.

5 Key Features to Look for In Construction Project On Site Storage Containers

On site storage containers can be crucial to the success of a construction, remodeling or demolition project. Whether you’re adding on, renovating or building from the ground up, optimal storage for tools, materials and key equipment is an essential consideration for construction companies.

However, there are some important elements you should insist upon. No matter what the size or scope of your project, look for these five important features in on site storage containers:

1. Durability in Design, Materials and Construction

The best on site storage containers for construction sites will be strong enough to both house your supplies and withstand a range of conditions. From weather changes to workplace hazards, on site storage containers should be able to handle it. The best on site storage containers are made of thick steel and embody resilient construction and design.

2. High Visibility and Safety Features

Construction sites can be dangerous enough, and your on site storage containers shouldn’t add to these hazards. Look for on site storage containers that don’t have sharp edges or other elements that could pose a risk to persons on the job site. The color of on site storage containers can add to their safety and visibility as well; favor bright colors like orange or bright white. The safety of gray on site storage containers or other colors can be enhanced with reflective safety tape to assist with visibility.

3. Security For Your Tools and Equipment

The security of the contents of on site storage containers is another component of their effectiveness. Tools, materials, equipment and other components are crucial to the success of your construction project. Favor on site storage containers that have double locking doors so that you can be assured maximum security of your items even when you are not on site.
4. Flexible and Versatile

On site storage containers should also be sizable and versatile enough to house a range of materials. Whether you need to store tools, equipment, materials, overstock or general items, the unit should be able to accommodate them. A range of size options is ideal so that you can select the perfect storage configuration for your needs. Large double doors allow for easy addition and removal of items from on site storage containers as needed. 

5. A Proven Provider

Lastly, on site storage containers should be obtained from a trusted, reputable source. Lakeshore Recycling Systems offers on site storage solutions for the construction industry to assist in the safe storage of tools, construction materials, equipment, overstock items and general storage. Our on site storage containers have all of the features discussed here – and more.

If you are planning a construction, renovation or demolition project, count on Lakeshore Recycling Systems for all your on site storage needs. Give us a call and we’ll assist you in connecting with the perfect size, volume and quantity of on site storage containers for your outdoor storage needs.

5 Key Things to Look For in a Mulch Service

Using mulch as part of your home, business or commercial landscaping can bring numerous benefits to your foliage and overall landscape design. Some of the main advantages and features of using mulch on your property include:

A Barrier Against Weeds. Mulch can help to slow or stop the growth of pesky weeds around your foliage.

Moisture Retention. Mulch closes in moisture to keep the rich, wet and nourishing for your plants.

Prevents Erosion. Since raindrops and wind damage won’t be able to directly affect the soil’s surface in mulched areas, your landscape won’t wear away as quickly.

Decorative Appeal. The artful placement of colored mulches can add to both plant quality and creating a refined look on the property.

Protective to Plant Roots. A mulch layer also protects plant roots from temperature extremes and the elements. The ground is less subject to freezing and thawing, which can be very damaging to plants. Roots remain healthy and can better resist rot and disease.

However, it’s important to mulch in an intelligent, informed manner. Using inferior mulch or placing it incorrectly can have a negative impact on both your plants and your property. Here are five key things to look for in a mulching service:

1. High-Quality, Reliable Mulch Free of Rot and Pests

It’s extremely important that the mulch you use is of the highest quality. It should be freshly made and free of any and all signs of rot or pest infestation. Be sure to verify mulch quality with the supplier and some of their customers if possible.

2. Options to Meet Your Needs

Check to see that the mulch service you select offers a variety of colors and options to meet your design, décor and soil protection needs. Lakeshore Recycling Systems offers high quality mulch in a range of colors, including Premium Brown, Premium Red, and Economy Brown and Double Ground Natural.

3. Eco-Friendly Business Practices

Whenever possible, favor mulch that’s made in a sustainable way from natural materials. Lakeshore Recycling Systems uses 100% recycled wood to make high-grade mulches that are friendly to the environment. Using them allows you to know you are maintaining  your landscape in an eco-friendly, “green” way.

4. Trustworthy, Knowledgeable Service

The mulch provider you select should also offer education and advice regarding the proper placement and use of mulch to optimize your experience. They should have a track record of friendly, attentive customer service and providing mulch in a timely, efficient manner.

5. A Proven Professional

Choose a mulch service with experience in providing services to both commercial and residential customers. Lakeshore Recycling Systems has been in business for almost 20 years. We can assist you with a range of key services, including all of your waste management, recycling and on site storage needs.

The proper use of mulch can significantly increase quality of life for the plants, trees and shrubs in your yard. It can also boost curb appeal by bringing a more refined look to your property. For the best experience and results with mulch services and more, count on Lakeshore Recycling Systems.

LRS Stands Down with NWRA for School Safety

Safety is in the heart of everything we do at Lakeshore Recycling Systems and we strive to extend our safety value not just to our employees, but to families, customers and the fellow community.

4 Core Safety Values

We see safety as four core values: Value of Life, Value of Integrity, Value of Excellence and Value of the Greater Good. The Value of Life is about preservation and protection not just of our employees, but those impacted in the community. We educate employees that the safety tools learned on the job are essential in everyday life. Integrity represents the value of doing the right, honest thing in sometimes dangerous situations, and lastly, the Greater Good is the understanding that employee behavior and actions are not about the individual, but everyone affected. These transferable values showcase that safety is a team effort and a responsibility for each individual, knowing that just one person can affect many people.

Safety in Full Circle

Our safety values mean that we take opportunities to collaborate with other organizations to increase safety awareness. With back-to-school season coming up, significantly more vehicles will be on the roads. National Waste & Recycling Association (NWRA) took notice of the risks that could occur without proper school safety knowledge, and we could not be happier to have jumped on the bandwagon and helped promote this topic!

On Monday, July 31, NWRA held a 5-day event to promote safety on the roads during back-to-school season. According to NWRA, approximately 100 children in the United States are killed every year while walking to or from school and another 25,000 children sustain injuries as a result of school zone accidents. To spread school safety, NWRA offered several outlets to start a dialogue about the importance of this topic and what we can do to keep our communities safer.

To aid in NWRA’s efforts, we posted information each day during the week regarding school safety. See the wrap up of our safety information below!

A person, regardless of age, may not use a wireless telephone at any time while operating a motor vehicle on a roadway in a school speed zone.

Unintentional pedestrian injuries are the second leading cause of death in the United States for children ages 5 to 14. Students should always look both ways before crossing the street and cross at designated crosswalks. Never run into the street or cross between parked cars.

school-fact2Children spend a lot of time in the car when heading to school and for after school activities. Make sure children always wear their seat belt and put it on as soon as they get in the car. Children 12 years and younger should always ride in the back seat.

First time school bus riders may be nervous. Introduce yourself and your child to the bus driver on the first day of school to ensure your child gets on the right bus at the end of the day.


When you see a school bus prepare to stop, slow down immediately. Buses will signal to other drivers by flashing red lights and then putting up a stop sign. You are required by law to stop when this occurs. Be aware when children get off the bus because they may be crossing the street.


Safety campaigns such as this one truly make an impact on our surrounding communities. Spreading awareness on safety protocol is not just nice reminder, it’s a spark of motivation to keep the conversation going and continue to maintain safety standards in all aspects of life.

6 Key Tips When You Rent a Dumpster

Dumpster rental can help a range of projects and enterprises to unfold more smoothly and successfully. From the manufacturing industry to commercial demolitions, industrial plants and home remodeling projects, the convenience of an on site roll off or standard dumpster can be indispensable. However, when you rent a dumpster, there are some things you should be aware of in order to optimize the experience. Consider the following six tips when you rent a dumpster:

1. Select the Ideal Dumpster Size and Style

Before renting a dumpster, determine the ideal size and type for your project needs. Top loading dumpsters, rear loading containers, roll off dumpsters and compactors are some of your options. There are a range of dumpster sizes available for every size project. Assess the dimensions of each available dumpster and choose accordingly. At Lakeshore Recycling Systems, we offer open top loading dumpster models in 10, 15, 20 and 30 yard sizes. We also offer a 35 yard compactor option and a 100-yd tractor trailer for very large demolition projects.

2. Ideal Placement and Location

Decide ahead of time where the dumpster should be placed for maximum convenience and usage. The site should be level, free of debris and out of the way of primary traffic routes for vehicles, equipment and personnel. Take drainage around the site into consideration as well. Make sure that there aren’t any items overhanging the site such as tree branches and power lines.

3. Accessibility

While site placement in terms of terrain is important, accessibility is equally as important. Place the dumpster strategically to maximize productivity and use on the site. The site you select should also be accessible to the driver delivering it and eventually emptying and picking it up. The driver should be able to make a three-point turn at the dumpster placement site.

4. Consider a Waste Audit

If you are unsure about the ideal size, type or placement of a dumpster for your waste management needs, consider getting a waste audit. Standard open top dumpsters, rear loading, roll off dumpster service and compactors are all possible options. A professional assessment can help with determining the ideal waste management solution for your project. You can then co-create a customized solution with the ideal dumpster selection for your needs.

5. Watch Fill Levels

Take care not to overfill dumpsters or compactors. While they are designed to hold just about anything you can place inside, it is possible to overfill them. This applies especially to compactors, which may not be able to function optimally with too many bulky items placed inside. When in doubt, contact the rental company to help you optimize your experience.

6. Work with a Professional

When you rent a dumpster, partner with a company that’s known and respected in the industry for high quality products and service. Lakeshore Recycling Systems brings almost 20 years of experience in commercial waste and dumpster rental to the Chicagoland area.

When renting a dumpster, keep these six key items in mind to help optimize the experience. Whether you’re demolishing a building, constructing a high rise or doing a home remodeling project, Lakeshore Recycling Systems has the ideal dumpster rental solution for your needs. We can also assist with recycling and on site storage solutions for any project.

8 Dos and Don’ts When Using Mulch On Your Residential or Commercial Property

Mulch delivery to your business or personal property can enhance its look and improve the health of your bushes, trees and shrubs. Mulch can also assist in preserving moisture, decreasing water runoff, reducing erosion and suppressing weeds and pests. However, improper mulching can lead to major issues for your plants and landscape. Consider these eight dos and don’ts for making the most of mulch delivery to your yard or commercial property:

1. Do: Think in Terms of Your Whole Landscape

Instead of adding mulch piecemeal to just isolated areas of your property, think holistically about the entire landscape. Assessing the overall design and using comprehensive planning for mulch application can ensure ideal selection, placement, aesthetic design and results for your plants.

2. Don’t: Use Inferior Mulch

Don’t make the mistake of buying mulch from a source that’s not proven and reliable. Starting with the best quality mulch is crucial to your overall results. Lakeshore Recycling Systems uses only high-quality 100% recycled wood mulch in a range of colors and options.  

3. Do: Remove Old Mulch Before Adding More

If there is existing mulch around your plants, trees and shrubs, be sure to remove at least some of this old mulch before adding more. This can help to minimize rot and pests so that the new mulch can effectively freshen and enhance the environment.

4. Don’t: Use the Wrong Amount

Generally, a three inch depth of mulch is ideal for most regions of your yard. However, this can vary depending upon soil and foliage type as well as the specific conditions of your landscape. Getting mulch depth right is crucial to its effectiveness. When in doubt, count on an experienced professional for mulch delivery and application. 

5. Do: Use Mulch Artfully

Don’t neglect the aesthetic opportunities that mulch can afford. In addition to supporting the health of your plants and trees, choosing the ideal mulch color and texture can enhance the design and visual appeal of your property. Consider optimal contrast and/or creating a theme with mulch color and placement.

6. Don’t: Disregard Color Impact

While color should be used creatively and with an eye for design, this consideration also should be balanced out with awareness of the effectiveness of different mulch colors. For example, dark colored mulch may not be ideal in areas that receive a lot of sunlight, as it will absorb a lot of heat and may not bode well for the plants there. Balance out color selection with an awareness of how it may impact soil temperature, pests and moisture levels.

7. Do: Use Mulch to Help Prevent Erosion

In addition to placing mulch around plants, bushes and trees, it can also serve as protection against erosion. Be mindful of areas in your yard that could be prone to erosion and use mulch in these areas as well.

8. Don’t: Neglect Larger Trees and Shrubs  

Mulch isn’t just for smaller growth on your property. Larger bushes and trees are just as prone to pests, weeds and loss of moisture.

For proven, professional mulch delivery services and advice, count on Lakeshore Recycling Systems. We’ll help you to navigate all your mulch questions and concerns so that you can achieve the highest quality results possible.

5 Waste Management Trends for 2017 and Beyond

Waste management in Chicago and surrounding suburbs naturally reflects the trends emerging throughout the industry. Here are five of the top waste management trends that will be affecting and defining the industry for the rest of this year and beyond:

1. Advanced Technologies in Equipment and Containers

One of the most exciting trends in waste management is the development of new and innovative technologies in both waste management and recycling. These developments are affecting all aspects of the industry, from machinery to containers to waste management processes. The innovations are helping to make collection and processing more efficient, which supports positive results for both companies and their customers. 

2. Consolidation Within the Industry

An acceleration in mergers and acquisitions is another key trend in the waste management industry. In this way, smaller companies have the opportunity to make a larger impact within the industry. The challenge for companies nationwide including waste management in Chicago and surrounding suburbs is to make these changes in a way that does not disrupt business operations and customer service.

3. Acceleration in 100% Waste Diversion Goals and Programs

A key trend in waste management in Chicago and surrounding suburbs as well as across the nation is a goal of generating zero waste. This refers to an objective of diverting any and all waste away from landfills and incinerators. Zero waste programs strive to implement innovative, comprehensive recycling programs, increase waste-to-energy efforts and not using products that cannot be easily repurposed. “The Four Rs Approach” refers to reducing, reusing, recovering or recycling waste. Achieving Zero Waste status is more possible than ever before, and these efforts will continue in 2017 and beyond.

4. Efforts to Cut Down or Eliminate Organic Waste

Millions of tons of waste from food and organic materials are generated in the U.S. each year. An increasing number of cities and municipalities are making efforts to offset this. Some areas are requiring larger enterprises like restaurants and hotels to recycle all of the food waste they generate. Households and smaller businesses that care about the environment can make this a practice for their enterprises as well. Recycling these materials instead of using waste management in Chicago and surrounding suburbs is a way that all Chicago area residents can contribute.

5. Optimizing Commercial Recycling and Waste Management

Businesses are more aware than ever before of the impact their practices have on the environment. In light of this, they are taking proactive steps to optimize their waste management and recycling practices. Partnering with a proven professional versed in the best practices for waste management in Chicago and surrounding suburbs can help Chicago businesses to accomplish this.

Lakeshore Recycling Systems has been serving the Chicagoland market for almost two decades. We strive to stay on the cutting edge of waste management and recycling technologies so that we can better serve our customers. If your enterprise requires assistance with comprehensive waste removal, roll-off dumpsters, recycling services or creating 100% waste diversion programs, give us a call.

Top 10 Items That Should Always Be Recycled

Top 10 Items That Should Always Be Recycled

In the U.S., at least 10 million tons of newspapers are put into the trash each year. Around 75,000 trees are required just to produce one edition of the Sunday New York Times.

Facts like these highlight the need for more people to make use of the recycling center instead of putting everything into the trash bin. If you’re concerned about your carbon footprint, take steps to ensure the following 10 items end up at the recycling center and not in the trash:

1. Newspapers

Newspapers are one of the easiest materials to recycle. Doing so can help to save up to 60 percent of the energy required to make brand new newsprint.

2. Mixed Paper

According to the EPA, paper comprises a third of all municipal waste in the U.S. It is also one of the easiest materials to recycle. From old documents to junk mail and everything in between, make sure your waste paper ends up at the recycle center.

3. Glossy Magazines and Ads

Magazines can also be recycled, even the full color highly glossy variety. This applies to mailed coupon flyers and advertisements as well.

4. Cardboard

Sending one ton of cardboard to the recycling center can save over 9 cubic yards of landfill space and 24 percent of the energy required to make new cardboard. Flatten cardboard well to conserve space.

5. Paperboard

The thin cardboard used for shoe boxes, product boxes and similar containers is also recyclable. Be sure to flatten this as well in order to save space in the recycling bin.

6. Plastic Drink Bottles

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic is used for water, soda and juice bottles. In the U.S., about 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour. Recycling them helps the environment tremendously.

7. Plastic Product Bottles

Thicker plastic bottles used for shampoo, detergent and similar items can also be recycled. These bottles should be rinsed clean and their plastic tops removed and discarded.

8. Aluminum Cans

Aluminum retains its properties indefinitely, so it is an excellent candidate for recycling. Doing so requires 95 percent less energy than making brand new cans. Recycling aluminum lowers the urgency for mining new aluminum, which in turn helps to preserve the environment.

9. Steel Cans

Steel (”tin”)cans are still used for many canned products including fruits, vegetables, soups and coffee. They can also be recycled. Be sure to rinse them out before recycling them.

10. Glass Containers

Glass containers used in food and beverage packaging are 100 percent recyclable. They can be substituted for up to 95 percent of raw materials when new glass products are being made, making glass recycling highly friendly to the environment.

The more materials that can be sent to the recycling center, the better off the environment can be. These 10 items should always be recycled from both your home and your business. When in doubt, check with your local municipality to verify how and where these items should be recycled.