How Restaurants Can Add Sustainability

Identified by the National Restaurant Association as a top issue, consumers expect the most from restaurants, and sustainability continues to rank high on their list. From food waste to reducing energy use, many restaurants are looking for innovative strategies to build their sustainability story.


In 2015, we attended the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (@ZeroWasteBiz) meeting in Los Angeles, CA where we met Jeff Clark, Conserve Program Director with the National Restaurant Association (@NRAShow). Since that time, we’ve kept in touch and in the fall of 2016, the opportunity arose for us to finally partner on a project.

Sustainability Executive Study Group

On October 18-19, 2016, the National Restaurant Association held their first sustainability summit exclusively for restaurant professionals featuring sustainability and sourcing experts from the leading restaurant brands to share best practices, creative solutions, and emerging opportunities.

Attendees had the opportunity to be part of the Sustainability Executive Study Group which featured some of the biggest names in the foodservice industry who spoke about what they were doing to increase sustainability in their own operations. Wanting to create gifts they could give to their conference attendees, Jeff approached Relan to create upcycled bags because they perfectly aligned with the organization’s sustainability mission.

Sustainability Executive Study Group

We thought it would be a great, environmentally conscious gift for our conference attendees. When materials are reused directly, it is a wonderfully efficient way to keep usable resources out of the landfill and (hopefully) support entrepreneurship.

    - Jeff Clark

How Relan Helped

The NRA didn’t have material to contribute, so Relan used vinyl banner materials that they had on hand from previous projects which saved it from going to the landfill.

Relan Resaurant Association Relan restauranthe association tote bag

The conference went well and the bags were a huge hit. Participants told us that the bags are very sturdy and are the perfect size to transport items to and from work.

To spread their message of sustainability going forward, The National Restaurant Association is focusing on outreach and developing best practice toolkits. They will again hold environmentally-focused talks in May at the 2017 NRA Show in Chicago, Illinois and are also busy planning their second Sustainability Executive Study Group which will be held in September 2017.

What if hundreds of customers used a bag daily with your brand and logo on them? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to build positive brand awareness. Transform your old materials into something new, or let us create items for you, and provide your employees and stakeholders with sustainable, upcycled products. Contact us to start the conversation!

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