Plastic waste is a worldwide problem. There is currently an estimated 269,000 tons of plastic pollution filling up the world's oceans and waterways. One of the largest contributors of this wastage is the food and beverage (F&B) industry. Rather than waiting to see how bad plastic pollution can become, the F&B industry must explore how to reduce their contribution of plastic waste.
Reduce the Number of Plastic Products Used Daily
While it might not be possible for the F&B industry to completely eliminate plastic, steps can be taken to reduce the number of plastic products they use daily, particularly single use plastic.
Eliminate Plastic Straws
Plastic straws might seem small and insignificant, however in most restaurants, plastic straws are the most significant source of plastic waste. Looking at plastic waste across the world, we can see that Americans use approximately 5 million straws and Europe generates an additional 4.4 billion worth of straw waste each year. Something as simple as eliminating plastic straws will result in a severe decrease in plastic waste.
There are two ways that the F&B industry can eliminate plastic straws. The first is encouraging their customers to stop using straws completely. This solution may not work the best as some consumers will not be happy that they aren’t available. The second solution is stocking restaurants with paper, metal or bamboo straws. This trend has become increasingly prominent in the Australian bar and nightclub scene as more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious.
Invest in Reusable Metal, Glass and Ceramic Condiment Bottles
Instead of throwing away a plastic condiment bottles when they are empty, invest in reusable and refillable metal, glass, or ceramic options. Not only will these be more visually appealing, this reduces your yearly plastic waste and eliminates the number of cracked, broken, and leaking condiment bottles you must clean up after.
Decrease the Amount of Plastic Wrap You Use
Plastic wrap is handy when it comes to covering dishes and wrapping up meat, but like straws, plastic wrap gets used once and then it's thrown away. Some of the other options that are better than plastic wrap include; parchment paper and beeswax paper. Moreover, instead of continuing to cover containers in plastic wrap before putting them into storage, purchase reusable lids for your containers. Not only will you reduce your establishment's plastic waste, you will also enjoy the storage space saving in stacking items and the food will not be as squashed.
While each of these steps seems simple. You'll notice an immediate decrease in the amount of waste you deal with from one week to the next.
Work with Suppliers to Decrease Plastic Waste
One of the reasons the F&B industry generates so much plastic waste is because their suppliers package food and products with excessive amounts of plastic.
In order to reduce waste, restaurant owners and suppliers must discuss ways to decrease the amount of plastic in each shipment. Options include:
- Asking for food/supplies to be packaged in reusable containers that the restaurant can then return to the supplier
- Using less plastic in each package
- Decreasing the supply chain
- Using recycled plastic packaging
One of the best ways to significantly reduce weekly plastic waste is specifically asking for certain types of food to be delivered without any packaging at all.
Reap the Benefits of Eliminating Plastic Waste from Your F&B Business
When you decide to eliminate your plastic waste, you're not only doing something good for the environment, you've also taken an important step in attracting new customers. Many consumers have realised that we need to take better care of the planet and are making a serious effort to use businesses that are doing their part to decrease their negative environmental impact. Actively talking about your efforts to decrease your plastic waste draws these environmentally conscious consumers to your establishment.
TabSquare is ready to work with environmentally conscious restaurant owners. Contact us to discuss how we work together!