Hel’s Sustainable Initiative

Hel’s Kitchen Catering recognizes its responsibility to the community it serves to engage in sustainable behaviors that will conserve vital natural resources and reduce waste.

Toward that end – we mean to adopt the following as overarching principles of sustainable behavior – and will, to the best of our ability, utilize these principles and objectives to inform all of our business decisions – from where we procure our raw materials to the types of disposable products we offer, and everything in between.

The four basic objectives for Hel’s Kitchen are drawn from 4 system conditions for sustainability.

To Reduce Hel’s Contribution to Ongoing Build-Up of Substances Taken From the Earth:

  • Systematically reducing our dependence on fossil fuels
  • Using materials that are abundant enough to replenish themselves
  • Take less from the earth (utilize and reuse what has already been extracted)

To Reduce Hel’s Contribution to Ongoing Build-Up of Waste Produced by Society:

  • Systematically substituting unnatural compounds with ones that break down and  are more easily absorbed back into the earth
  • Use and reuse substances more efficiently (Use less – recycle more)

To Reduce Hel’s Contribution to Ongoing Degradation of Natural Systems:

  • We draw our resources from well-managed ecosystems
  • We reduce our activities that systematically destroy life-sustaining ecosystems
  • Significant reduction/elimination of persistent pollutants that degrade the environment

Helping People Meet Their Needs Fairly:

  • Paying a sustainable living wage
  • Using resources fairly and promoting solutions to meeting basic human needs (subsistence, leisure, identity, creation, participation, understanding)
  • Procuring material resources from supply chains that meet human needs fairly

In simple terms, we are establishing within our management team a focus on sustainability in all aspects of running our business.

The following are a few recent examples of how this thinking has manifested itself into real sustainable changes in our day to day business conduct.

Hel’s Kitchen has taken/is taking the following sustainable initiatives:

Menu & Food Preparation

  • Working with local/family & fair trade business purveyors to:
    • Use Marine Stewardship Council or other sustainable fishery products whenever possible
    • Use locally grown produce whenever possible
    • Use cage free eggs and free range chicken
    • Serve coffee and decaf directly purchased from farmer’s cooperatives at above market prices
  • Actively pursuing commercial compost pickup service (not currently available) in our suburban location. In anticipation of this, we are separating all kitchen food waste for commercial composting. When such facilities become widespread and accessible to all – we will see the conversion of over 50% of our current standard waste stream transformed into fertile compost ready to grow new food sources in 60-180 days
  • Discontinued wood based excelsior for “stuffing” in food display baskets and replaced with shredded recycled cardboard
  • Membership in the Chicago Shedd Aquarium’s “Rite Bite” program

Warehouse & Packaging

  • Converted all packaging for fragile party equipment from plastic bubble wrap to recycled corrugated cardboard
  • Discontinued using wood-based excelsior for “stuffing” in food display baskets and replaced it with shredded recycled cardboard

Administration & Sales Office

  • Converted all local printers and all faxes to utilize previously printed upon paper. Once printed on both sides, this paper is culled from the standard waste stream and recycled
  • Refilling or purchasing remanufactured ink cartridges for our inkjet and laser printers
  • Significantly reducing our outbound paper flow by changing to email for all proposals, invoices and statements
  • Converting to 100% post-consumer recycled or green seal certified stationery printed with soy-based or all vegetable-based inks

Reuse, Recycle & Renew

  • Recycling all cardboard, bottles, plastic and aluminum
  • Converting from plastic to eco friendly compostable bagasse (sugar cane based), PLA (corn based), and potato starch based disposable plates, cups and flatware

Energy Conservation

  • Converted all incandescent bulbs to CFLs (carbon flouride lamps). Converted incandescent fixtures in all coolers (where CFL’s do not operate efficiently) to full size fluorescent fixtures
  • Working toward GS-46, Green Seal Certification
  • Installed timer control switches on lights and refrigeration curtain strips in coolers

At The Event Sites

  • Begun separating waste in the field (at parties) for recycling back at Hel’s Kitchen
  • Now takes five-gallon coolers filled with tap water for use in the field to eliminate refuse and atmospheric toxins

As we continue along this path toward greater and greater sustainability, we would appreciate hearing from our clientele, our competitors, our vendors, and our neighbors about strategies, opportunities, and specific ideas that they have seen that we might employ. We will do our best, in the context of operating an efficient and profitable business, to embrace these suggestions.

We hope to be able to use our experiences with and discoveries of new products and systems to inform our vendors, our customers, and our competitors of ways they can begin and continue to make sustainable decisions a part of their daily personal and business lives.

Looking forward to hearing from you, and sharing with you.

All of us at Hel’s Kitchen Catering

We are pleased to share the following resources which have enabled Hel’s Kitchen Catering to partner in the mission to protect our planet Earth and we encourage you to visit these sites for more information on what you can do to join us in this mission:

Green Planet Bottling
Nicaragua Solidarity Committee
Cartridge World
The Green Office
Green Chicago Restaurant Co-Op

Shedd Aquarium’s award-winning Right Bite program works closely with Chicago’s culinary community and the seafood industry to raise awareness of, and demand for sustainable seafood in our marketplace. Hel’s Kitchen is proud to partner with Shedd in building support for fisheries that are abundant, well-managed, and harvested in ocean-friendly ways.

Visit Shedd Aquarium – Rite Bite