Whitestar, “A Green Caterer”. Here’s our story!

The catering and hospitality industry can be one of excess and waste.   At Whitestar we feel a great responsibility to impact change and do our part to forge a greener future. Since the environment directly impacts the quality of the ingredients we have available to us, it’s quite evident that the more we take care of the earth, the more it will take care of us.

WASTE MINIMIZATION, Recycling and Composting

We believe strongly in sustainable practices, both on and off premise. 

We offer our clients the choice of a wide selection of eco-friendly, biodegradable products including tree-free napkins, wooden stirrers, recyclable plastic or paper cups, compostable palm leaf or bamboo plates, and cutlery made of pre-consumer recycled materials. Recyclable products are collected, separated and returned to the recycle path in association with RI Resource and Recovery Corporation.  All organic waste is composted in association with RI based composting companies, which in return, return the compost to gardens and farms to improve the environment , removing tons of waste from landfills.

All of our used cooking grease is recycled into bio fuel by a local, Aquidneck Island company.  We only use eco-friendly cleaning supplies.

We are proud to be a Styrofoam free environment.  We will not recommend or use single-serve plastic containers.

We LOVE palm leaf and sugarcane bagasse products, they save energy and are easily compostable. What is Sugarcane Bagasse? Sugarcane Bagasse is fibrous matter that remains after juice extraction. Rather than throwing away or burning sugarcane stalks, the pulp is made into paper-like substance called Bagasse. Bagasse can be molded into different shapes and products that are perfect for food service packaging. We’re using a sugarcane bagasse tasting spoon at a upcoming fundraiser!

Sugarcane is a tree-free renewable resource. Bagasse waste used to be burned in the fields creating pollution when not reused. Thankfully, it’s becoming a popular alternative to styrofoam. Bagasse also requires less energy to manufacturer than plastics products, thereby making it more energy efficient to produce. By adopting bagasse products, we are pledging to help reduce pollution and energy consumption. Bagasse sugarcane plates, bowl, compartment trays and food containers are a safer and more environmentally responsible alternative for the food service industry. Bagasse Sugarcane products normally biodegrade within 90 days; plastics will take up to 400 years to degrade and styrofoam never degrades!

We’re often asked to use PLA type plastic.   Unfortunately, we don’t right now.  After considerable research and testing we’ve found PLA is more a problem than a solution.  The marketing writes itself. PLA is a natural, bio based alternative to petroleum laden ABS!  Sounds (and smells) like you could eat it! I’m a hands on guy so I tried a nib, tastes like plastic. The baked out, boiled down; unsweetened truth is that it is indeed, plastic. Marketers love to tout the biodegradability of the material, and it’s true, that at some point it will biodegrade. The reality however, is that this process will take several hundred years in a typical landfill. To biodegrade, PLA requires a laundry list of conditions to effectively break down. Specifically – oxygen, a temperature of 140+ degrees, and a 2/3 cocktail of organic substrate.  

 In discussion with both RI based composting facilities and the RIRRC, interesting, neither composting facility accepts PLA.   Even worse, if you put PLA plastic in the regular recycling stream, it contaminates that recycling and forces the entire load to be rejected to the landfill as regular waste.  This means that PLA plastic will sit in that landfill right alongside ABS and other plastics for a very long time.

If a local compost facility begins to accept and process PLA, we’ll happily begin to use it, we want to be part of the environmental solution, not part of the problem.

PURCHASING

The term “Farm to Table” is often misused. I love shopping at the local farmers market, and love local meats and produce.  I especially like sourcing from small farms and purveyors.  

My duck comes from Long Island, NY from 2 different farms.  I prefer “Certified” Black Angus beef for taste and quality.  Vegetable’s and fruit come from either a Johnston RI company that procures locally, or specialty product that comes from farms around the country, like the Chef’s Garden (see our blog post on our visit to the farm and the Culinary Vegetable Institute!).  I get my rice from a Veteran owned farm on the Mississippi delta.   Natural game and wild boar comes from purveyor in Texas that works with area ranchers and farms, sustainably. 

Chef’s working directly with farmers and ranchers who understand and care for our environment, a powerful combination!

WATER EFFICIENCY and USE

Whitestar uses water dispensers using reusable and refillable plastic water bottles and local spring water from Middletown Crystal Springs Water.

Ware washing is done using Energy Star™ appliances.  We also use low flow aerators on all faucets and spray valves, and have implemented low flow toilets.