5 iPhone Apps for Greener Living

There’s a million (approximately!) apps out there to help you live greener, ranging from providing general sustainability information to shopping guides and carbon footprint trackers. Here’s 5 we like. Coming soon: green android apps!

1. Commute Greener

Powered by Volvo, Commute Greener! helps you measure and reduce your carbon footprint. Featuring lots of tweaking options, it tracks your greenhouse emissions based on journeys you take throughout the week – be it by car, foot, bicycle or public transport – and encourages you to set reduction goals. The social networking aspect – you can compare your performance with other users – adds to the appeal.
Cost: Free
http://www.commutegreener.com/#Login-3654

2. Listia

Based on a similar concept to Freecycle, Listia allows you to give away stuff you don’t want and also connects you with free stuff you do want. It’s beautifully simple – it shows you things that are available in your local area and, best of all, it’s free. A great way to create less waste.
Cost: Free
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/listia-get-free-stuff-sell/id429870253?mt=8

3. Green Genie

Offering a slew of ideas for a greener lifestyle, Green Genie has the added bonus of being interactive on a social networking level. Each recommended project – from buying recycled copy paper to buying energy efficient office equipment, to ways to drive more efficiently – displays an icon to let you know how much money you’d save.
Cost: $0.99
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/green-genie/id332055754?mt=8

4. Shop Ethical

Making informed decisions at the supermarket is made easy with Shop Ethical, which uses the latest data from the Ethical Consumer Guide web site. Providing instant access to information on over 3,800 products, Shop Ethical can tell you the environmental and social record of the company behind a product, allowing you to shop with a clear conscience.
Cost: $4.49
http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/shop-ethical!-2012/id502190240?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

5. Green Gas Saver

Utilising your GPS and the motion sensitivity of the iPhone to track the way you are driving, Green Gas Saver helps you to drive in a more efficient manner. In fact, the feedback you receive may help to make you a better driver! Providing alarms when you accelerate too quickly or take a corner too fast, it will let you know how ‘green’ any given trip was.
Cost: Free
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/green-gas-saver/id305557300?mt=8


Alsco Complete Manage Floor Mats

Alsco, delivers’ complete floor-care solution with mats for all situations and applications. Our revolutionary Evolution Mats are made from recycled eco-friendly materials. Talk to an Expert! Our representatives are waiting for your call.

Image courtsey: AFS-USA Intercultural Programs

How A Family-Owned Luxury Accommodation Warmly Greets Each Guest

Lanzerac Country Estate

Each month, we feature new or exciting Australian businesses who are Alsco customers or are Greenroom subscribers have a chance to be featured in our Business Spotlight.

Today the spotlight is on Lanzerac Country Estate.

They have been using Alsco’s King/Queen bed sheets in their suites and napkins for their dining room for 2 years now.

Find out what makes them tick and what wows their guests aside from their comfy bedding and awesome venue.

Here is their lovely story.

Lanzerac Country Estate

We own and run a five suite luxury hosted bed and breakfast which also includes a function/conference area that doubles as our communal area and breakfast servery. There’s also our 100-year-old Shiraz, Grenache and Pedro Ximenez wines and with some further development currently underway we will also look to host weddings for up to 80. We live on-site and really try and offer our guests a snapshot of Barossa lifestyle…relaxed, friendly, from the heart and always showcasing quality food and wine.

1. How did Lanzerac Country Estate come to life?

My wife Casey and I booked Lanzerac in 2006 as a ‘home base’ for our bridal party as we got married at my Aunty and Uncles winery (Whistler Wines). We loved the place back then and always kept an eye on it and when it came onto the market in 2013 we decided to sell up and move to the Barossa.

2. What’s a crazy/awesome day like in Lanzerac Country Estate?

Up early to prep for brekky, serve and clean up…then on to the rooms for servicing. From lunchtime onwards it’s all the other daily chores (gardens, maintenance, paperwork) as guests check-in throughout the afternoon. Then it’s usually some pre-dinner drinks with the guests before they head off for dinner at one of the many amazing restaurants located close by.

3. Who is the best customer you ever had?

We have spent many a late night by the fireplace in Winter or under our “Sipping Tree” in Summer with many guests and have shared great stories and jokes. Some guests bring treats for our dog Wesley whilst others are happy to share a bottle of something they’ve discovered whilst tasting earlier that day…so to pick a favourite would be impossible.

4. Do you have one funny yet effective way that you do to get people notice you or Lanzerac?

We pride ourselves on welcoming people as they approach us, not behind a reception desk. We also offer to drop our guests off and pick them up from their dinner so they can both enjoy what the Valley offers without worrying about having that extra glass or two.

5. Is there something unusual you want people to know about Lanzerac Country Estate?

Lanzerac is 100% family owned and run. There’s myself (Justin), my wife (Casey), our two daughters (Georgia and Abbey) as well as support from both sets of parents…so there’s always someone around happy to help or chat to. I think people genuinely appreciate that our family is very close and we all work hard together.

6. What’s that one thing in your business venture that you’re really happy about?

Our growth has exceeded our expectations by a long way…which has allowed us to reinvest more into the property to make things even better in the future. The property has elements of a ‘work in progress’ but our guests understand our vision and want to come back to see what else we have done since they last visited.

7. What green, sustainable practices do you do in Lanzerac? And how do you think these can help the environment?

Other than our grapes…we grow about 20 different types of fruits, vegetables and herbs to enhance our food offering. From home-made jams made from Quinces and Plums to our own almonds on the welcome cheese platters all the way down to keeping food scraps for friends chook-sheds, we know little things like this are noticed and appreciated by our guests.

8. Do you think that the Alsco Delivery Drivers are better looking than regular couriers?

As a 39-year-old father of two I don’t think I’m the best to answer that question?

9. What’s one thing that Alsco does for you that no one else can?

Offer a full service in a professional manner.

10. If Alsco is to offer your business a 1-year full service of one of our products, what would it be? And why do you like it best?

With plans on upgrading our function room bathrooms, I’m guessing your washroom services could be of benefit.

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Lanzerac Country Estate is located in Tanunda (Barossa Valley).  Their hosts, Casey and Justin Carter started their luxury accommodation last 2013. Check out their lovely suites and function rooms at www.lanzerac.com.au

Do you have your own venue which needs economical linen rental? Partner with Alsco for a cost effective and hassle-free services. Call 1300 659 892 now.

Image Courtesy: Lanzerac.com.au

US armed forces trial new gel

Scientist looking at new US Army research gel for first aid

The US armed forces are trialling a new gel that can stop bleeding and seal serious wounds in just 15 seconds.

The product will, if accepted by the military, allow a wounded soldier to self-medicate if waiting for paramedics isn’t an option.

The inventor hopes the gel might even be used by vets to save animal lives.

‘Vetigel’ acts like superglue on a wound – forcing the blood to clot almost instantly.

Image Courtesy: US Army Africa

Going Green: Incorporating Indoor Plants In The Workplace

Why Go Green?

Workplaces across the world are embracing green design as part of an initiative to improve their bottom line.

Sustainability has long been seen as a ‘nice to have’ for many companies, but in recent times, it has become high on the agenda of many companies who are recognising a return on the investment of including living elements into their workplaces.

Companies like Alsco provide green solutions like the environmentally friendly, cotton continuous towel. These reusable towels which come in their own cabinet system, use less energy, produce less greenhouse gasses and less waste. Go Green with Alsco Continuous Towel

Companies like PodPlants provide living vertical gardens and biophilic design consulting to predominantly corporate, retail and hospitality clients. They work with designers and architects to create spaces which develop an environment where people can do their best work.

So What Are The Driving Mechanisms That Are Creating This Demand?

Globally, we are seeing a mass urbanisation with the best talent being attracted to leading employers who typically occupy premium and A grade real estate. Cities are becoming increasingly dense with taller buildings and new land being opened up to higher density development and more people working in less square meters.

For example, in Sydney, Australia the new Barangarro development is seeing tenants like Westpac, HSBC and PwC taking prime position and using ‘open plan’ and ‘activity based working’ designs. The upshot is that now only 10 square meters of floor space per person is required where previously 15 square meters was the norm.

Additionally, buildings are taller and therefore have more floors and thus more floor space, and the ground the buildings stand on is new corporate real estate adding to the city’s size. So when we think about a development like Barangaroo which are common in many capital cities, they actually represent a huge increase in the number of people who can work in the city.

The result in the short term will be mass vacancy in old premises and the requirement of refurbishment or rebuilding to attract new tenants. Leading property groups know that innovative companies – synonymous with Silicon Valley – grow fast, have young CEO’s and like innovation and health.

Pitching commercial space to this new generation of corporate leaders must reflect what they want in a space – perfect painted plasterboard no longer cuts it. These new tenants demand natural light, living plants, innovative design and integrated technology.

Simple.

Biophilic Design

The new thinking around green ‘biophilic‘ design stems from a mixture of logic, evolutionary biology, and academic research. We have seen more and more people self educating themselves on the importance of avoiding airborne pollutants and living healthier lives.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) which are slowly released from paints and plastics can be carcinogenic and once you know they’re there smell bad. People are understanding human evolution better and embracing paleo and whole food diets because they simply know that whatever people have been doing since 100,000’s of years must be roughly what our bodies are adapted to need.

Natural sunlight, fresh air, a holiday to a beach or a bush walk all make us feel good and are probably the best things for us.

The Positive Effect of Plants In The Workplace

And academics across the world are studying how people perform in memory function and cognitive performance tests when plants are present or not present in rooms, offices and even classrooms! Yes… Children’s grades at school do go up when they have some plants in the room.

Why?

Well, it is our belief that people have a subconscious emotional response to their environment which motivates them. If the plants are dead, or worse non existent, this could be a pretty good reason to be stressed if your survival relies on the plants for food and shelter. If plants are healthy and abundant, then the odds are your survival is not under much threat.

The result is stress to motivate us to find greener pastures and calm to allow us to stay and enjoy the abundance of our environment.

As an employee in the modern world, being calm and happy at work might simply be the emotional cue that one needs to decide to stay with an employer and engage more deeply in their work, and stress could be the reason one quits their job and searchers for somewhere they can enjoy their work more.

There are many reasons far beyond the scope of this article as to why green is becoming good economic sense. But if it is no more than reduced absenteeism and even reduced ‘presenteeism’ (to be physically present but mentally absent) then this alone is enough for management to recognise that spending money on a nice interior fit out and some living plants are a very wise investment.

 

Podplants Logo

Alsco would like to thank Chris Wilkins for this article. Chris Wilkins is the CEO of PodPlants which develops horticultural technology for sustainable infrastructure. Chris is an Executive Board Member of The Interior Plantscape Association and a guest lecturer and tutor at The University of Sydney. Visit www.podplants.com to learn more about indoor plants and vertical gardens that you can incorporate in your  workplace.

Want more tips and ideas on how to create a healthier, greener and safer workplace? Subscribe to Alsco’s Greenroom.

Image Courtesy: PodPlants.com

Do You Smell the Sweet Smell of Success?

Oxy-Gen Air Freshener

The Japanese Have Made a Science Out of It…

Fragrances can play an important role in enhancing the productivity levels at your workplace. No one recognises this better than the Japanese.

They have been at the forefront of using aromatherapy at work to energise their employees and increase efficiency of the workers. From the uplifting scents of lemon wafting through the air-conditioning ducts to the refreshing minty scent perking up employees after lunch at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Japanese have made a science out of it.

Do you want to make it work too at your workplace too? The Oxy-Gen Air Freshener from Alsco is what you need. Call your friendly Alsco representative to know about the cost effective, fully managed rental solutions that we have to offer and get your own free quote too.

About Good and Bad Smelling Air

Olfactory sensitivity is important to the enjoyment of food, evaluations of whether the surroundings are clean and well maintained. While foul-smelling air is not necessarily unhealthy, the sheer unpleasantness of an odour can initiate symptoms such as nausea, headache, and loss of appetite. The stronger the odour, the more intense the symptoms. Even a mild but recognizable odour may arouse uneasiness among a room’s occupants.

Discomfort in occupied areas may result from the intake of outdoor air containing automobile exhaust, furnace effluents, industrial effluents, or smog. Industrial spaces may have odours from chemical products, such as printing ink, dyes, and synthetics, as well as from manufactured products. Offices, assembly rooms, and other enclosed, densely occupied spaces can contain objectionable body odours and tobacco smoke.

What Can you Do About It?

Odour may be removed from the air by physical or chemical means. One of the most popular physical methods is ventilation, which except for work spaces in mild to moderate climatic zones, add substantially to the heating or cooling needs. Hence, under many situations, it may be better to minimise ventilation.

Chemical means on the other hand are generally unsafe. Aerosol sprays often contain harmful chemicals which are the cause of headaches, skin reactions and allergies. A study by researchers in Australia found that Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) cause headaches, depressions and may even cause asthma amongst babies.

Go Clean While You Go Green!

What if there was a way where cleaner air also meant healthier, safer and greener air? Sounds too good to be true? Well, it is. Alsco has just the perfect solution for you – the Oxy-Gen Air Freshener

The revolutionary Oxy-Gen Air Freshener is the world’s first oxygen based dispenser. This means that your Oxy-Gen does not use harmful and toxic propellants, solvents and VOCs. The refill contains only pure, concentrated fragrance oil, around six times more than most aerosol refills. It can reduce the amount of VOCs emitted by aerosol cans by up to 90%. No other air freshener uses oxygen based delivery for its pure natural oil based aromas.

To put it in simple words, it is safer, healthier and environment friendly. Not only will your workers benefit with the uplifting aromas, their health will not be affected. This means fewer sick days and less absenteeism and other health claims. Further, this technology can help offices reduce their carbon footprint and is ideal for LEED building certification.

It uses the patented oxygen-based fuel cell technology, which is commonly used for precision drug delivery to deliver reliable, consistent and measured doses of fragrance. This medical grade innovation ensures that there is a continuous level of pure, natural scent in the air at all times.

The Oxy-Gen Air Freshener does not just mask malodours, it actually eliminates them. When released, the fragrance molecules diffuse into the air in the room and push out the competing malodour molecules completely. It eliminates all kinds of malodours such as sweat, kitchen odours, tobacco, mildew and body odours.

That is not all. There is more to this little pocket dynamite!

  • Modern, compact, sleek contemporary design is soothing to the eye and ensures maximum air circulation. The design ensures maximum performance with minimum effort.
  • Servicing is a breeze. Alsco service people will change the batteries on every service in a matter of minutes without disturbing your colleagues.
  • The refills last 60 days when used at regular intensity. These are replaced for you at no extra cost.
  • Choose from a variety of vibrant, invigorating and uplifting fragrances.

What Are you Waiting For?

We are confident that the Oxy-Gen Air Freshener is the one-stop answer to all your air-quality related questions and worries and are pretty sure that you feel the same too. Combine this with Alsco’s unmatched service and cost-efficiency and you would be smelling the sweet smell of success at your workplace.

To get your hands on this exciting new product from Alsco for your workplace, get in touch with us at 1300 659 892.

 

Fair Dinkum Dinki Di: The All New Green and Gold Food Labelling

They say ‘you are what you eat‘. Now Australians have the opportunity to work out exactly how ‘Fair Dinkum Dinki Di‘ they are when it comes to their food purchases.

New GREEN-AND-GOLD kangaroo labels will show consumers as well as those in the food service sector how much of their food contains local ingredients and whether it was made in Australia.

Alsco, the premier rental company, too has lots to offer companies in the food service sector, making lives, simpler, easier, hassle-free for business owners, allowing them to focus on doing what they do best, running their businesses! From crisp white (or coloured!) serviettes, freshly laundered table linen, to clean soft wipes for the kitchen, Alsco has been proudly servicing thousands of businesses in the food service sector with their incredible linens.

Come partner along with Alsco. Let us help you create that perfect food and dining ambience!

The Initiative

The new labelling system will cost a whopping $37 MILLION dollars to introduce. This cost will be borne by the manufacturers and the Australian food buying public (which is all of us).

This new initiative has arisen from an incident earlier in the year where 28 people were infected with Hepatitis A after eating imported Chinese frozen berries. This resulted in the infected products being recalled by the manufacturer.

The outbreak was believed to have been caused by unhygienic conditions (potentially contaminated water supplies and poor hygiene amongst the Chinese workers) in the production of the berries.

A four-month senate inquiry into the country of origin food labelling laws was called and the new system is the result.

The Green-And-Gold Kangaroo Label

The green-and-gold triangle design was the “overwhelming preference of more than 17,800 respondents to the Government’s food labelling community survey,” according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office.**

The new labels are interesting in that they contain a gold bar that shows what portion of the ingredients were grown in Australia.

Although there has been criticism from some quarters as the new labels do not require the origin of non-local ingredients to be stated. It has also been noted in some quarters that the new labels do not cover fresh food.

Still a lot of time, money and thought has gone into the system as it has been discussed at various levels of government for many years and replaces the old ‘Made in Australia’ Green and Gold Kangaroo label.

This older labelling system attracted criticism as a product could be imported from overseas and simply canned or packaged in Australia and this was then deemed to be ‘Made in Australia.’

How The New Food Labelling System Works

The new system will distinguish between products using overseas ingredients and packed in Australia.

For example, ‘Made in Australia from 100 percent Australian ingredients’, ‘Packed in Australia, Made in Spain’ and ‘Made in Australia from Australian carrots and Dutch peas.’

Here are some examples of how the new food labelling system will work:

Country of Origin Food Labels *

Mandatory Labels

‘Made in’ country of origin claims

  • Made in Australia from 0% Australian ingredients
  • Made in Australia from less than 25% Australian ingredients
  • Made in Australia from more than 25% Australian ingredients

‘Grown in’ country of origin claims

  • Grown in Australia
  • Made in Australia from more than 50% Australian ingredients
  • Made in Australia from more than 75% Australian ingredients
  • Made in Australia from 100% Australian ingredients

‘Packed in’ statements

  • Packed in Australia Made in Canada
  • Packed in Australia Grown in France
  • Made in Australia from Australian milk
  • Made in Australia from Canadian pork

‘Packed in’ statements must also include a country of origin (made in or grown in) claim

Providing Additional Information

Companies will be encouraged to provide information on the origin of significant ingredients where possible

  • Made in Australia from Australian carrots and French peas

Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce said companies will be encouraged to provide additional information on their labels such as naming the origin of a number of key ingredients.

These reforms will also clarify the definition of ‘made in’ Australia. Importing ingredients and simply slicing them will no longer qualify for a ‘made in’ claim. Under the new scheme, if product is imported into Australia and then re-packed, the label will identify where the item came from. **

Effect on The Market

The initial rollout of the scheme will be voluntary, so there could be changes on supermarket shelves later this year. The new country of origin labels will be mandatory from next year after the states and territories reach agreement on them.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott stated on Tuesday at the unveiling of the new labels that ‘Government opinion polling found more than 80 per cent of consumers were willing to pay 1¢ extra on a $5 food item to ensure accurate labelling. Of those, more than 50 per cent were willing to pay an increase of 5 per cent in food costs to ensure better labelling.’ ***

The cost of the new system will be met by consumers who, the government estimates, will see a 1¢ increase on a $5 food item, or 0.5¢ increase on a $2.50 food item.

However, the Commonwealth will need the agreement of the states and territories to go ahead with the mandatory new rules in 2016. It will be interesting to see if the new labelling system gets the green light from the various state premiers as in the past getting every state in Australia to agree on policy has not always been easy.

So for a cool $37 million dollars the Australian consumers now have a food labelling system that tells us where the food we are buying comes from and how much of the ingredients are ‘Made In Australia.’

Is this money well spent? Does it go far enough? Or is it another example of government waste from a government who have prided themselves on doing the opposite?

I would love to hear your opinion on this because as Australian taxpayers we are all paying for it.  For more information about the new food labelling system please visit: industry.gov.au/cool

Train-to-Gain

 

Alsco would like to thank Brendan Bolton of Train To Gain for this article. Train to Gain is a Nationally Accredited Registered Training Organisation. For enquiries, visit www.foodsafetyeducation.com.au.

Do you need linens for your restaurant and bars? Why buy when you can rent? Fully-managed food and beverage linen rental services from Alsco help you maintain a clean and hygienic workplace. Contact Alsco now for a FREE QUOTE, call 1300 659 892.

References
* ‘Government announces new labelling system for Australian food’. www.abc.net.au 23/7/15
** ‘New country of origin food labelling rules to benefit consumers’. The Australian 20 Jul 2015
*** ‘Country of origin food labelling to cost $37’ The Australian Financial Review– 20 Jul 2015

Photo Courtesy: Rick

Top 5 Design Trends in Australian Restaurants

A restaurant’s design is a part of the dining experience. In the past, most restaurants favoured the European setting styles that were very elaborate. Those settings called for a confusing array of cutlery, glassware and crockery.

Amidst all brilliance and work to be done, it helps to have a company like Alsco to manage some your jobs through their professional, cost-effective, rental solutions at your food establishment. From cutting-edge chef’s wear to a mind-boggling array of linen, find out more about the services and benefits Alsco can bring to your business.

These days, Australian restaurants are going for simpler designs and relaxed settings.  The trend now is to focus on the food presentation. The best example of that would be the table settings. In the past, table settings in restaurants were quite elaborate, which in a way took attention away from the food. These days, tabletops tend to be minimalist and bare.

Here are the top five design trends in Australian restaurants today:

1.       Playing with the Seating Height

Pope Joan
Image Courtesy: Figureground

 

Establishments are now playing around with seating height. It is not uncommon now to see people eating at a bar or even an open kitchen. In some places, even the height of the bar has been raised.

This is still in keeping with the trend of having things simple. The emphasis in places like that is always on the food. The decorations and the surroundings are just secondary.

One company that has been experimenting with seating height is Figureground Architecture. You can visit their site here:   http://www.figureground.com.au/.

At the Prahran Hotel in Melbourne, Techné Architects have made seating a theatrical experience with their clever use of multi-level booths and open seating. Get more inspiration from their website here:  http://www.techne.com.au/

Image Courtesy:  Pinterest
Image Courtesy: Pinterest

 

2.   Organic

Splinter Society
Image Courtesy: Restaurant and Bar Design Awards/Splinter Society

Simplicity is the running theme with all of the design trends in restaurants today. There are fewer restaurants now going for the highly decorated interior. Many establishments offer clean and organic settings where the food can be the centrepiece.

Because of the emphasis on simplicity, organic decorations are now very trendy.  Organic design elements are usually made from ceramics, stoneware and wood. These organic elements add to the relaxing atmosphere of a place. The matching linens and crockery are a thing of the past now. The organic approach gives a more relaxed ambiance.

Some restaurants start with picking a theme for their tabletops. The theme can be a colour or a texture and then they build from there.

One design company that is making headway with organic designs is Splinter Society Architecture. You can check out their website here: http://www.splintersociety.com/

The Woods restaurant at the Sydney Four Seasons Hotel is a great example of how different natural elements like timber, brass and granite can enhance each others beauty in one beautiful warm space. The restaurant has been designed by Micheal McCann of Dreamtime Design Australia.

The Woods.
Image Courtesy: Dreamtime Design Australia / The Woods

3.   More Bespoke Styling

Image Courtesy : https://www.facebook.com/alpharestaurantsydney/photos_stream
Image Courtesy : https://www.facebook.com/alpharestaurantsydney/photos_stream

Though the things that are simpler are what’s trending right now, that does not mean that there is a lack of style. In fact, restaurants are still seeking ways that they can still be stylish. One of the means that they using to become stylish is to use bespoke ceramics.

Bespoke means something that is made to order and bespoke ceramics has several advantages over the traditional ones that restaurants are taking advantage of. Local artisans are increasingly being tapped by restaurants to craft ceramics that are specifically made for them.

Bespoke styling can give more character to a place. It can complement the style and the direction of a restaurant in general. But it is not just ceramics that are being customised these days. More and more restaurants are also using timber serving boards that are personalised.

One company that’s pushing bespoke styling is DS17 based in Sydney. You can visit their site here: http://www.ds17.com.au/home.html

Hecker Guthrie used handmade ceramics to complement the natural finishes and tones of the Ruyi Dumpling Wine and Bar in Melbourne. These pair well with the Edizioni Zeus Side Tables that casually spring up at you around the dining area.

Ruyi Melbourne
Image Courtesy: Hecker Guthrie / Ruyi Melbourne

4.   Daring and Bold

Pascale
Image Courtesy : Restaurant and Bar Design Awards / Penfold’s Magill Estate Restaurant

Restaurants are now leaving behind the traditional formats and standards. They are starting to use more bold graphics and logos. Restaurants are adopting these new design concepts with their menu, dishes and in the decor. The use of the logo and daring design concepts can create an overall brand experience, something that customers would identify with a restaurant.

A company that is making headway with bold designs is Pascale Gomes-Mcnabb Design. You can check out their website: http://pascalegomesmcnabb.com.au/

The bold use of colour on the walls and in accents at Adriano Zumbo’s new salon Fancy Nance make the place playful , fun and reflective of Zumbo’s food aesthetic. Designed by Studio Tate, you can see more of their work here: http://www.studiotate.com.au/projects/

Image Courtesy : Studio Tate / Fancy Nance
Image Courtesy : Studio Tate / Fancy Nance

5.   Naked and Exposed

Image Courtesy : Nicky Adams
Image Courtesy : Nicky Adams

It has been mentioned that more and more restaurants are using communal tables. They are also doing away with the use of tablecloth and are now using bare table tops with exposed timber.  Some restaurants are taking things to the next step by customising the tables even more.

Nick Adams is a designer who has utilised bare tabletops. You can check out his website at http://www.nickyadams.com.au/.

Designers Xtra Shiny created a lovely space in Adelaide called the Clever Little Tailor, where not only the timber, but even the walls are naked showcasing the lovely brickwork and stones used to build the place. For more of work of Xtra Shiny visit their website here: http://www.xtrashiny.com.au/

Image Courtesy: Xtra Shiny / Clever Little Tailor
Image Courtesy: Xtra Shiny / Clever Little Tailor

Alsco Can Add to That Dining Experience

Though the trend are for restaurants to go for relaxed settings, that does not mean being careless. It still means planning and making sure that customers get the best dining experience. Knowing about these trends can help you in coming up with your own concept that you can use.

Don’t be left behind by the competition.  Get the right design for your restaurant. Match these with the perfect menu and for a healthier, safer, greener restaurant leave the rest to the managed rental services from Alsco. Our linen, uniform, washroom hygiene services are sure to enhance the dining experience of your restaurant. Try us out today.

 

Featured Image Courtesy : Facebook / Alpharestaurantsydney

 

The Ultimate Deep Frying Technique to Make Your Fried Food Healthier

Alsco Healthier fried foods

Deep frying food is a widely used a medium of cooking. Either at home or at professional kitchens worldwide.

However, health professionals and environmentalists, who are concerned with obesity, cancers and the environment, scrutinise deep frying because of the use of particular pieces of “un-green” kitchen equipment and excessive use of fat. But did you know that, with the help of recent technology in kitchen equipment, we can now make fried foods healthier that ever?

How To Make Deep Fried Foods Healthier

There are a number of basic operational procedures that will help to make fried food healthier and increase the life of cooking oil.

Using Oil Care Management System

A rigid oil care management system should be in place which involves at the very least regular filtering of the deep fryer to remove food debris and carcinogenic properties from the oil. Though regular filtering of the oil will not reduce the amount of oil that is absorbed by fried food and filter papers are an additional ongoing consumable cost, it lengthens the life of cooking oil and it will also reduce the unwanted particles that stick to the fried food during the cooking process, by virtue of these particles being of a lower volume in the oil.

How About Frying Powders?

Adding frying powders to cooking oil during the filtering process is known to have benefits in reducing the excess food debris from the oil, however, this becomes a weekly ongoing consumable cost and although these chemical fry powders are deemed to be safe for human consumption, little is really known about the long term effects on human health.

Should We Use Optimum Cooking Temperatures?

Making sure that cooking temperatures are at their optimum will create a better food product and it will also help keep the oil in a better condition. Most deep fryers in the market today will consume a lot of energy in heating and maintaining the heat in the oil in addition to having to use high temperatures for cooking thoroughly and creating a crispy food texture. The Green Guides for Restaurant and Hotel Kitchens will help you make green decisions in the kitchen.

Which Cooking Oil To Use?

Choice of cooking oils is a key factor as the higher the quality of your cooking oil, they normally will produce a higher quality and healthier food product although regardless of which type of oil is used, the industry standard frying operation will still allow unnecessary surplus oil to attach itself to your fried food. Check out this list of healthy cooking oils that you can use.

Frying Equipment

Frying equipment is essential, too many times we have seen around the world, professional kitchens using a deep fryer which is more than 7 years old. The deep fryer is a tool which should be replaced every 5 years or so, this way temperature calibration, energy consumption and cooking efficiency are at an optimum. If you need to replace your deep frying equipment, make sure you choose the best equipment for your restaurant.

Frying Oil Extender

EcoFriendly Chef Corp, a Canadian company is revolutionizing the deep frying industry with its frying oil extender called ‘OiLChef’. It is a proprietary technology that is encased in a perforated stainless steel case, which is placed in the cooking oil at the bottom of a deep fryer. This product transforms deep fryers into eco-friendly, high efficiency cooking machine!

Environmental Impact Of Using a Frying Oil Extender

The safe, usable life time of cooking oil depends on the food being cooked and the temperature used. There is a significant impact on the environment when we’re using a frying oil extender in deep frying. This can reduce the cooking temperature, reduce your carbon footprint and lengthen the life of your frying oil. Using less oil will:

  • Reduce reliance on plantation-grown palm trees.
  • Reduce carbon in the atmosphere.
  • Causes less damage to the environment because of disposal of old oil and oil wastes
  • Reduce energy consumption when maintaining heat
  • Make the cooking oil last longer and tastes better.

Effect On Food

A frying oil extender in your fryer will

  • Slow down oxidation in cooking, which keeps the oil healthy for a longer period of time.
  • Stop the thickening of cooking oil called Polymerization. This is responsible for giving off smoke and smells in your kitchen.
  • Reduce the amount of cooking oil or cooking fat that is absorbed by the food.
  • Make the food less prone to carcinogenic particles. The thicker the oil is, the more it attaches itself to the food being cooked thus it makes the food prone to carcinogenic particles floating in the oil. This is usually from the food debris of fried foods being cooked.

Consumers Can Rate Fried Foods

For a consumer, purchasing french fries, taco shells, battered fish, calamari, tempura, breaded and seasoned chicken, should steer away from restaurants, gastro pubs and food takeaways that regularly serve oily and dark coloured food. The tell tale signs of unhealthy and poor quality fried food are through, sight, taste and feel.

Sight: Fried food with or without batter should be light golden in colour – not brown or dark brown. The darker the food the unhealthier it is. The oil is clearly not in good condition and the food is being over cooked. Many reasons the food is over cooked is because most chefs/cooks have a habit of “sight cooking”.

This simply means determining the cook time by the colour of the food. This is done all over the world. The main reason Chefs/cooks deep or shallow fry food until it is brown or dark brown is because using traditional deep frying technology – i.e. a regular deep fryer with a high cooking temperature – this is what achieves a crispy texture to the food product. In fact, what is happening is that the food is being overcooked, the outside of the food is being slightly burnt and this allows more oil to absorb inside the food.

Taste: The food should taste crispy and taste of the food you are buying and not of the oil it is being cooked in.

Feel: Most deep fried foods can be eaten by hand and this is a fun part of eating from takeaways etc. Simply by gently squeezing the food item between your fingers will show you how oily the food product is…

Give your restaurant a competitive advantage by serving healthier fried foods through an OiLChef frying oil extender.  This makes a good solution to make your business more eco-friendly, healthier and sustainable.

Reducing carbon footprint and promoting sustainability is as important as putting your customers first. Reduce cost, increase profit and reduce oil waste by using OilChef. It’s a win-win for both your business, the environment and the customer.

Alsco provides sustainable solutions to keep your organisation healthier, cleaner and safer through a wide variety of cost and resource efficient rental services. Prevent moisture, dust and other particle matter from entering your workplace with Alsco’s dust control mats. With a rental lay-and-lift program, save on cleaning and replacement hassles. Contact our friendly Customer Service 1300 659 892 to know more about these hassle-free services.

EcoFriendlyChef

 

Alsco would like to thank EcoFriendly Chef Corp for this article. EcoFriendly Chef Corp is currently in negotiations to appoint an exclusive importer/distributor for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Until these negotiations have been concluded, readers may contact us direct by email to oilchef@oilchef.com and feel free to follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/oilchefdotcom

Safety at Work: Reducing Slips and Trips in the Workplace

Most of us tend to overlook slips and trips in the workplace as little more than moments of clumsiness. After all, everyone is victim to them from time to time, so what’s the big deal? Unfortunately, the result of these moments of clumsiness is often injury, from a painful sprained ankle to a fatal tumble down a stairwell.

The mines are particularly susceptible to trips, slips and falls. Miners tend to stand for long hours. Safety mats, Wet Area Mats, Anti-Fatigue Mats can be especially useful under these circumstances. Get your no-risk, 2-week free trial now.

Who’s at Risk, Male or Female?

A study of work-related injuries, published by Safe Work Australia in July 2012, revealed that some 11% of male workers in Australia, and 17% of female workers had fallen at the same level (including slips and trips) while at work in a 12-month period until June 2010.

And given that the total number of injuries in the workplace over that period was 638,000 (354,000 male; 284,000 female), that means some 39,000 men and 48,000 women suffered injuries after slipping or tripping at work.

There is a difference between slipping and tripping and a fall, principally because a fall need not have anything influence the incident.

  • Fall – A fall can occur simply due to a sudden loss of balance.
  • Slip – Generally involves a wet or frozen surface, or an unstable item like a tray, sheet of paper etc.
  • Trip -Meanwhile can happen when a person catches their foot in an object, like a cable or perhaps an uneven edge on the flooring, like a dog-eared mat corner or loose tile.

Admittedly, most of the injuries suffered from these kinds of incidents are minor, involving some bruising or some musculoskeletal injuries, like sprains and strains – easily treated with a well-stocked first aid kit. But maintaining safety levels in the workplace is centred on shoring up the threat of even minor accidents.

Reducing the risk of slips and trips is achievable by introducing a range of checks and measures for the workplace, though depending on the workplace, these can be extensive and very detailed. The role of the PCBU is, therefore, extremely important.

But what are the measures needed to effectively reduce slips and trips in the workplace?

The Slips And Trips Fact Sheet [1.3MB], published by Safe Work Australia, gives a very detailed guide to the steps to take.

Below, you can read an extract from that fact sheet, but for more details, read the entire version by clicking on the link above, or simply visit the Safe Work Australia website.

Some Fact Sheet Facts

The Role of PCBUs

PCBUs must manage the health and safety risks associated with slips and trips by eliminating the risk so far as is reasonably practicable, and if that is not reasonably practicable, minimising the risk so far as is reasonably practicable.

This involves a systematic approach to:

  • Identify hazards
  • If necessary, assess the risks associated with these hazards
  • Implement and maintain risk control measures
  • Review risk control measures

There are various ways to control the risk of slips and trips, listed below in order of their effectiveness (known as the hierarchy of controls):

Hierarchy of control Examples
Eliminate the hazard Remove slip and trip hazards at the design stage such as eliminating changesin floor levels and installing more power outlets to avoid trailing cords.
Substitution Replace flooring with a more slip-resistant surface.
Isolation Prevent access to high risk areas, for example cordon off wet floor areas whilecleaning is in progress.
Engineering controls (redesign) Apply floor treatments to increase slip resistanceImprove lightingStop leaks from equipment or pipesProvide adequate drainageClearly mark edges of steps and any changes in floor height.
Administrative controls Implement good housekeeping practices including keeping access waysclear and cleaning up spills immediatelyUse signage to warn of wet or slippery areasProvide training and supervision.
Personal protective equipment Wear slip-resistant footwear.

Identifying Slip and Trip Hazards

Common slip hazards include:

  • Spills of liquid or solid material
  • Wet cleaning methods
  • Wind-driven rain or snow through doorways
  • A sudden change in floor surface, for example joins
  • Between carpet and polished timber
  • Change from wet to dry surface
  • Dusty and sandy surfaces
  • The incline of a ramp
  • Loose or bumpy flooring
  • Low light levels
  • Use of unsuitable footwear

Common trip hazards include:

  • Ridges in floors or carpets
  • Worn floor coverings or broken tiles
  • Potholes and cracks in floors
  • Changes in floor level
  • Thresholds and doorstops
  • Floor sockets and phone jacks
  • Cables from power extension units
  • Loads that obstruct vision
  • Obstacles in traffic areas

Controlling the Risks of Slipping

Floor treatments that improve slip resistance are those which increase the surface roughness of the flooring. The main floor treatments are sand blasting or grinding, chemical etching, coating with resins, and using floor mats or adhesive anti-slip strips.

Examples of different floor types are:

FLOOR TYPE CHARACTERISTICS
Concrete Rounded aggregate can be slippery when concrete wears. Interior surface is often sealed to prevent dusting and absorption of liquids – this can increase slipperiness.
Terrazzo Gives good appearance and wears well but can be slippery when wet, when excess polish is used or when dusty.
Quarry tiles, ceramic tiles Low water absorption and good resistance to chemicals. Slippery in wet conditions if smooth, but can be moulded with aggregate or profiles to improve slip resistance – special cleaning equipment may then be required.
Glazed ceramic tiles Slippery when wet, particularly with soapy water. Some slip resistance treatments available, but preferable not to install these tiles on floors.
Vinyl tiles and sheet Easy to clean. Use sheet form where frequent washing is required to avoid water getting under tiles. Slippery when wet, particularly if polished, however slip resistant vinyls are available. These have aggregates moulded in. Thicker and softer vinyls are more slip resistant than hard ones.
Cork Must be sealed to prevent absorption of oil and water, but may then be slippery when wet.
Steel plate Tends to be slippery when wet or oily, particularly when worn.
Rubber Less effective in wet conditions. Must be fixed down well at the edges and joints or will cause a trip hazard.
Plastic matting Interlocking PVC extrusions give good drainage and slip resistance. Hose down or steam clean.
Carpet Carpet has a shorter life than hard floor surfaces, but it can be a cost-effective solution. Installations should be wall to wall, to avoid the hazard of a trip on edges. When used in small local areas, such as at entrances, it should be installed in a recess in the floor. Alternatively, it should be rubber-backed and with hardwearing tapered edges. Trolleys can be harder to push on carpet, but if larger wheels are fitted and the carpet does not have a deep pile, this is not a serious problem.
Fibreglass gratings This product can have grit particles moulded into upper surface to provide very good slip resistance. Fluids are quickly drained away.

 

Ways to eliminate or minimise slipping hazards due to liquid and waste from machinery include:

  • Modify the machinery to prevent leakage
  • Install exhaust systems to remove dusts or that would otherwise settle on floors
  • Use a tray to collect liquid and waste

Ways to eliminate or minimise slipping hazards due to accidental spills include:

  • Clean up water or oily spills immediately – use absorbent paper or powder for Cleaning up any oily residues
  • Thoroughly dry floors after cleaning
  • Erect warning signs at areas with a high risk of spills

Controlling the Risks of Tripping

Ways to eliminating tripping hazards include:

  • Provide storage areas separate to work areas
  • Provide sufficient storage systems to keep materials out of aisles
  • Provide sufficient power sockets and computer service jacks to minimise or remove the requirement for cords on the floor (where possible)
  • Remove or cover protruding sockets on the floor
  • Securely stack goods and avoiding single towering stacks
  • Hang power cords over work areas rather than on the floor
  • Clean up workplaces and remove rubbish or obstructions regularly
  • Display visual cues, such as warning strips and signs to alert pedestrians about changed or uneven surfaces

 

Safety is Important

We all want to keep the safety of our employees and customers, that’s why Alsco is here to offer you variety of solutions. Mines are no exception. The working conditions in mines add to the hazards, including of slips and trips.

Alsco’s range of commercial mats and industrial mats now includes the Evolution Mat. In addition to a great range of features including thicker pile and premium quality, these mats are made from recycled materials, eliminating the need for raw production materials.

Keep your office safe with Alsco. To know more about Alsco safety and evolution mats, visit the Alsco booth at the AIMEX at Sydney Showground. Call Alsco for more details. Grab yours now!

Image courtesy: randychiu

The Food Waste Problem and Tips to Reduce It

Australians are throwing away food at a phenomenal rate – around 315 kg/per person/per year. That’s almost 1kg per person every day!

These numbers are about the average households. Now imagine how much food waste happens in the restaurants!

Globally, about 1/3 of the food grown to be eaten is wasted every year. Food waste represents an environmental disaster due to the unnecessary resources used to grow, transport and manufacture food that is not eaten, and due to the greenhouse gas emissions produced when food waste goes to landfill.

On the other hand, there are many Australians that don’t have enough food. They are struggling on a daily basis to feed themselves, while the food is being thrown away. In other words, it is everybody’s responsibility to come up with the best possible solution to prevent the food waste.

Sustainability and environmentally friendly way of conducting business doesn’t stop with proper food management. To fully have the command of your carbon footprint, you need to make sure you understand your water usage, especially for washing, and even the chemicals you use to clean your washrooms.

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Table Linen
The table linen includes tablecloths, but also napkins that add class and that feel of quality.
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Aprons
Durable and elegant aprons for every waist. Stylish and sturdy. Will survive any kitchen.
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Intensive Biological Treatment
Clean up your washrooms thoroughly. Green technology, no harmful chemicals used.
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Australian Food Waste

In Australia, the amount of greenhouse gases produced from household food waste going to landfill annually is 5.25 Mt CO2-e – equivalent to the emissions produced by the steel and iron manufacturing industries.

Australia is ranked 15th in the world for greenhouse gas emissions from food waste, yet is ranked 52nd in the world in population size (see figure 1).

As alluded to earlier, Australia’s per capita food waste is high. Figure 2 shows a regional comparison.

The Food Retail and Food Service Food Waste Problem

The Australian Commercial and Industrial (C&I) sector creates over 1.9 million tonnes of food waste every year, with two sub-sectors contributing two-thirds of that. These are the

  • food retail businesses. E.g. supermarkets, grocery stores, bakeries, delicatessens, butchers, etc.; and
  • food and beverage service businesses. E.g. cafes, restaurants, take-away outlets, caterers, accommodation, etc.

The food retail sub-sector creates between 178,000 and 427,200 tonnes of food waste per year, or 23% of the total amount of food waste created by the entire C&I sector. Only 5-9% of it is recovered or recycled.

The food and beverage services sub-sector creates around 858,305 tonnes of food waste every year, or 44% of the total amount created by the C&I sector. Only 8% of it is recycled or recovered.

I Don’t See Any Food Waste!

Less than 28% of food businesses have ever done a food waste audit or assessment. Food is a key resource used in the food service business, so this is surprising, especially knowing restaurants throw away 23% of the food purchased for stock in the UK.

Australian figures are unknown but are expected to be similar. There are a number of challenges to recognising and managing your food waste.

These include:

  • Food waste occurs incrementally and accumulates gradually. 5% of food waste occurs back of the house through spoilage (out of date or damaged food), 65% during food preparation (trimmings, burnt meals), and 30% occurs front of the house as customer plate waste or unsold prepared food.

  • Food service businesses have food waste prevention processes in place back of the house, but very few front of the house.
  • Most businesses don’t know how they are performing in food waste creation in comparison with their peers, and if they should do something about it.
  • Space is a premium in smaller businesses, and considerations on food waste management require greater attention and creative solutions.
  • Staff turnover is high, so training on food waste reduction and separation needs to be included in all staff training programs.
  • Menu planning, stock ordering and management, food preparation, and food service are roles often performed by different individuals in your business, creating a disconnect and lack of clarity in how food waste is being created.

Australian Hospitality Sector Food Waste Research

While there is limited data on Australian hospitality sector food waste, this is changing. RMIT University researchers are doing a nationwide hospitality sector food waste research project called Watch My Waste(www.watchmywaste.com.au), and are asking businesses across Australia to sign up today.

Participation in the research project is easy: you fill in a couple of surveys and do food waste audits. If you participate, you will learn how much food you throw away, and are likely to see your food waste decrease during the project.

At the end of the research, you receive a report on your food waste, what is contributing to its creation, and recommendations on how to further reduce it.

10 Tips To Reduce Food Waste

The greatest impact in reducing food waste occurs through decreasing how much food becomes surplus or waste (see figure 3). Here are 10 tips to help reduce your business’ food waste:

  • Plan menus and try them with customers to see if they are effective.

  • Check existing stock in storage and the fridge before ordering, and shop from detailed ordering lists, not memory. There are a number of good inventory management software systems around.

  • ‘First in, First out’ – Use older food first as the fresher food lasts longer.
  • Do not bulk buy food unless you will use all of it before it spoils.
  • Purchasing more pre-prepared food pushes some preparation food waste further up the food supply chain where it can be managed in greater volumes.
  • Store food correctly to optimise its lifespan. Not everything stores better in the fridge (e.g. Cucumber has a freezing point that is higher than the temperature of most refrigerators, so they spoil faster because they freeze).
  • Use By and Best By/Best Before dates is different. Use By dates are a mark of safety, and food should be consumed before the expiry date. Best By/Best Before dates are the producer’s mark of quality and are usually safe to eat after the expiry date. If in doubt, smell it!

  • 40% of the food thrown away is high carbohydrate foods such as potato, bread, pasta and rice. Cook and serve more suitable portions of these foods.
  • Offer doggie bags. They are NOT against the law in Australia, and using them will reduce the amount of food waste front of the house!
  • Around 1.9 million Australians go without food because they cannot afford it. Donate your still-consumable food to organisations such as FareShare, Foodbank, OzHarvest and SecondBite, who redistribute it to charities that feed hungry people. If you are in Melbourne you can sell excess still-consumable food at discounted prices on the YUME app.

Alsco would like to thank Watch My Waste for this article. Watch My Waste aims to quantify and reduce food waste in the food service sector through the world’s largest food waste research. You too can participate, visit watchmywaste.com.au for more details or register here.

Other Ways to Go Green and Save Money

However, let’s not forget that dealing with the food waste is not the only environmental issue that you can solve, by actually saving money. You can do the same when it comes to washing your staff uniforms and linen or managing your washrooms.

Alsco offers environmentally friendly managed services for food & beverage industry that have drastic positive effects on your business by reducing your carbon footprint while saving you money:

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Wait Staff Uniform
Regular washed, replaced and delivered uniforms. Comes in different styles, sizes and fits.
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Food & Glass Wipes
Necessary kitchen items. Highly-absorbent food & glass wipes. HACCP colour coded.
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Washroom Sanitizers
Prevent bacteria from spreading and causing bad washroom odour. Sanitise it.
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To fully enjoy these rental services, you just need to choose the uniforms or the linen from our range of products. There is a possibility of adding your brand logo to them, as well. After using them, your employees just need to throw them into a bin. We come, collect them, and leave you the same ones – industrially washed, ironed and ready to use.

Start saving your time, money, precious resources and your environment. Call the friendly Alsco representatives and get the best possible quote, tailored to your business.


Photo courtesy of Flicker Images by star5112