It’s a sight for sore eyes when you see food packaging litter lining the streets, parks and beaches. If the waste packaging is branded (and of course it is) – it can have negative repercussions pertaining to the company whose litter is lining the streets but more importantly – this rubbish sneaks into our waterways and worse still, majority of this packaging is not compostable.
It seems silly and somewhat obvious that, as human beings, we all should have thought about the negative consequences of our actions prior to now. On a positive note however, at least we are all thinking more sustainably with our hospitality supplies and taking action to better serve the environment, not just our restaurant customers.
Efforts to put eco-friendly, sustainable practices in place for disposable dining are becoming popular. Here’s a few ideas which may help you go green.
Suck it up sans straws
Are you one of the thousands of restaurants going strawless? If not – you should be! The decision to go strawless is part of a welcome trend in our industry, inspired largely by the #StopSucking campaign, which aims to eliminate all plastic, single-use straws, reducing tonnes of waste which ends up in our oceans. Customers may initially be confused as to why they won’t automatically receive a straw but should be pleasantly surprised when they hear your green rationale behind the hold-back.
By 2050, environmentalists predict at the rate we’ve been sucking on straws, that there will be more plastic in the ocean than sealife! Plastic straws are one of many single-use plastics which end up in the ocean, polluting the water and harming sea life.
Now depending on your menu items and restaurant offering, if you really need straws to help your patrons enjoy their take away beverages, provide guests instead with 100 percent renewable, compostable straws. Luckily for you, there is an expansive array of sustainable, biodegradable straw options on the market. Not only will making this switch lower your overall environmental impact, it’s also a classier addition to your takeaway aesthetic. Customers appreciate companies that put in a little eco-effort.
Have you noticed the rise in the number of cafes who encourage customers to bring in their own mugs or take away beverage containers? What a wonderful initiative! This not only reduces waste and the time spent washing up, but makes the customer feel as though their order is completely personalised, totally revitalising the take away experience. Winning! Is this something you can implement? You could also consider providing those who bring in their own mug a discount as a small incentive.
Another option for those that still want to offer the full takeaway experience is eco-friendly disposable takeaway supplies. From coffee cups to take-out boxes, there have been massive strides in the fight to keep takeaway dining a sustainable endeavour. When purchasing your hospitality supplies, just remember to check how they’re being sourced and what materials they’re made out of.
Some more recycling ideas
Another way to reduce one’s overall carbon footprint is to repurpose wine and liquor bottles! Bottles are often quite beautiful and many brands ensure their packaging is unique and aesthetic spending thousands of dollars on their bottle design. One way to reuse these masterpieces is to turn them into decorative candles or light fittings! You could even ask customers to bring in stylish bottles versus throwing them out, so that you can turn them into decor. What a way to make your customer feel part of the furniture! Also, make sure to compost food and paper waste, use eco-friendly to-go containers and donate leftover food to soup kitchens.
You will be surprised at the number of guests who acknowledge and appreciate your sustainable actions and you may even provide influence and inspiration for your local community to elevate their support of sustainable, ‘green’ initiatives.
FUN FACT: Recyclable coffee cups and coffee grinds make a fabulous soil conditioner that you can use directly on plants.
Sustainability in the restaurant and hospitality industry isn’t just about locally sourced products and positive feedback from patrons. Building a strong business that can withstand economic uncertainties is a great way to give back to the community you operate in, for the long haul. Plus, you’d be surprised at how cost-effective sustainable practices can be.
Why not consider how you can revitalise your take-away, disposable offering that’s cost effective and sustainable!