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      Department of Public Works Bureau of Sanitation
Bakeries, Food Producers & Distributors, Grocery Stores, and Restaurants
Restaurants and food establishments may not be aware of activities that could be negatively impacting our marine environment. The byproducts 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 that makes its way into the ocean can clog fish gills and block oxygen from entering the water. And, toxins found in oven and floor cleaners can, in high concentrations, harm aquatic life.

Here are a few simple practices you can follow to assure a healthy environment for both your restaurant and our local waterways:
Recycle grease and oil. Don’t pour it into sinks, floor drains, or onto a parking lot or street. Pouring grease and food scraps down the sink increases the likelihood of clogging plumbing pipes and backing up your sewer.
For information on installing a grease interceptor in your business,
Pour washwater into a janitorial or mop sink. Don’t pour it out onto a parking lot, alley, sidewalk or street.
Keep dumpster area clean and lid closed.
Don’t fill it with liquid waste or hose it out.
Use dry methods for spill cleanup (sweeping, cat litter, etc.) Don’t hose down spills.
Clean floormats, filters and garbage cans in a mop sink, floor drain or proper outside area. Don’t wash them in a parking lot, alley, sidewalk or street.

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.
  • 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.
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 ocean is good public relations.

Explain BMPs to other food businesses through your merchant associations or chambers of commerce.
Raise both employee and customer awareness by stenciling storm drains near the workplace.

You can also call the City of Los Angeles Stormwater Program to request the free poster,
For a Cleaner Ocean, Food and Restaurant BMPs
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