Tablescape with maroon and green colors set up by LUX Catering & Events.
LUX Catering & Events is a Salt Lake City-based catering company that strives to reduce food waste and operate more sustainably. — LUX Catering & Events

Five years ago, the team at LUX Catering & Events, an award-winning Utah catering and event company, began noticing the large amount of waste catering events generated and decided to make a change. Since then, the team has worked hard to develop a long-term sustainable business model. The company has created a recycling program that successfully diverts nearly 90% of its waste from the landfill. LUX was even named the 2022 Green/Sustainable Business Winner at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Dream Big Awards.

Making sustainability accessible in the catering industry

LUX’s sustainable efforts keep food scraps and leftovers from events out of landfills by recycling them into fertilizers for city parks and local farms.

“LUX is not only committed to our clients, but our environment,” said Sarah McClure, the company’s Director of Marketing.

Diverting waste from landfills was only the beginning for LUX. While it wasn’t an easy transition, the company was able to find ways to create sustainable methods that it has been able to employ and maintain over time.

“There are so many simple ways to produce a green event, such as sustainable rentals and linen options, coordination of mass transit, offering guests public transportation, menus featuring local ingredients — which helps to boost community revenue and reduce our carbon footprint — paperless proposals and invitations, eco-friendly centerpiece options, and so much more,” McClure told CO—.

[Read more: Green Marketing: 6 Ways to Market Your Sustainable Business]

Sarah McClure, Director of Marketing for LUX Catering & Events, shares how the Utah-based company values and practices sustainability. — U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Running a sustainable business

While LUX’s success has proved that sustainability in the catering industry is possible, it didn’t come without some challenges. From taking extra steps to ensure the right recycling elements — including recycling bins for kitchen gloves — are brought to events, to coming up with and refining processes to stay on track, LUX’s sustainability efforts have required a lot of research and training to maintain.

“Being a green business is not something that comes easy,” McClure said. “It requires time and effort, and sometimes the eco-friendly option is not the cost-effective one — but looking out for our planet and community is worth it in the end.”

Despite these challenges, McClure has big plans for LUX’s sustainability in the future.

“Our ultimate goal is to design and build our own facility for our production,” she said. “Through building that, we would ensure that it is state of the art and LEED-certified.”

[Read more: Five Small Business Owners On Practicing Sustainability]

Being a green business is not something that comes easy. It requires time and effort, and sometimes the eco-friendly option is not the cost-effective one — but looking out for our planet and community is worth it in the end.

Sarah McClure, Director of Marketing, LUX Catering & Events

Making a positive impact on the local community

Part of LUX’s sustainability efforts includes teaching other local businesses how they can incorporate more sustainable efforts into their own business models.

“To encourage other businesses and individuals to adopt a comprehensive recycling program or sustainable business program, we regularly join panels and workshops and speak at local universities and conferences,” McClure said. “We share how we implemented our eco-focused business model, as well as give tips and information for other businesses to follow suit. We are working toward a cleaner and healthier world for future generations.”

McClure encourages businesses to do their part by identifying their current carbon footprint and pinpointing areas where they can improve and make changes.

“Talk with your employees, ask them what they see and if they have ideas on how to adjust your waste,” McClure said. “Your employees are the ones most heavily involved in your company and might see things you're unaware of. Working together to fix those bugs has been the most powerful method for our teams.”

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