Restaurants are the type of business that generates a lot of waste. When Covid-19 was ravaging the world, it got even worse, with more people taking takeout in disposable containers that fill up landfills. Packaging and containers make up almost 25% of all of our landfills, which is a massive amount. Anything to cut down on that number should be a goal for any restaurant that offers takeout or even for their dine-in service.
Going greener doesn’t just benefit the world at large, it can also benefit you. Customers are more conscious than ever about their shopping and dining choices. As a result, many will gravitate to establishments that are doing their part to cut down on waste and environmentally harmful practices. Food trucks are one example of more eco-friendlier food venues.
By going green, you can bring in these customers that you may not have had access to before. Here are some eco-friendly alternatives to plastic restaurant food ware and packaging that will get your restaurant on a greener path.
Cups With Plant-Based Materials
If you are using disposable drinking cups in your restaurant, then they are probably filling up your trash cans and filling up landfills. However, you can go with alternatives that will work just as well and will not be harmful to our environment.
Unlike plastic and other materials used in cups, products made from plant-based materials can be thrown out without fear. For example, PLA plastic is made from cornstarch and tapioca roots. It can be composted and put back into the soil to help grow other plants. If you’re worried about durability, you don’t have to be.
Eco-friendly cups are just as strong and liquid resistant as plastic. They can also be clear if you want to show off a fun and fruity drink that you are offering.
Disposable plates in a restaurant contain styrofoam and plastic, two materials that do not break down easily. Not only that, but they are often flimsy and annoying to manage. However, you can choose an alternative that is more durable and easily disposable without causing harm to the environment.
Plates made from bamboo can even be reused if they are not used with liquid-based foods. They are sturdy, strong, and appropriate with takeout containers to provide your customers with something solid to use on the go.
Plastic bags are terrible for the environment. They don’t decompose and use a lot of plastic to manufacture them. Not only that, but they often end up as litter. Many restaurants use plastic bags for takeout because they are easy for customers to manage and are strong.
There are, however, bags made of recycled materials that you can use instead. They are just as strong, and they are easily recycled and disposed of. For extra strength, you can place cardboard in the base.
This will also help keep the containers inside straight to avoid spillage. Kraft paper bags are very common for this use, but there are also PET or PLA plastic products as well. These are all biodegradable and will not take up space in the landfill.
Straws are a staple of any takeout or dine-in experience. They are often individually wrapped for protection. Plastic straws are technically recyclable in many jurisdictions.
However, due to their size, they don’t often get sorted and are thrown out with the rest of the trash. This means they end up in landfills. However, you can eliminate this problem by replacing plastic straws with aircarbon straws.
These are sturge and reliable; they don’t get soggy and are biodegradable. So whether they get sorted into the trash or not, they will compost into the soil. If you are able to sort them when customers leave the restaurant, then they can be placed in any home compost bin.
Kraft containers are a wonderful alternative to plastic. They are better for the environment but also look stylish and attractive. They can give your takeout service a classier and more natural vibe than cold and sterile plastic.
They are manufactured using recycled wood pulp, which means they are diverted from landfills even as they are being made. They can be recycled and are available in various shapes, sizes, styles, and types.
You can get them printed with your logo or other information; they are lightweight and easy to handle. They can do anything that plastic and styrofoam containers can do, only they are gentler on our planet.
Plastic utensils are a staple of any takeout order. Unfortunately, they are made from hard plastic and often don’t even get used by those who take their meals home. In fact, if your establishment provides pre-wrapped utensils and napkin packages, there’s a good chance they end up in the garbage unused.
You can replace your plastic utensils with any number of biodegradable materials. They include bamboo, cornstarch, and sugarcane, for example. You can even get edible utensils so that nothing even needs to make its way to a receptacle.
Never forget that you are in business to bring in revenue. To do that, you must make decisions that impress potential customers and fit with your bottom line. Going green can do that. Customers will respond to your choices to make your restaurant eco-friendly.
Many of them refuse to shop or dine with any establishment that still uses outdated and environmentally damaging practices. By making these changes, you will be doing your part as a global citizen and bringing in more customers simultaneously.
Want to read more? Here are a few other tips on how to live a little more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Emma Wrayne Rudy is a food connoisseur ready to indulge in every chance she gets to explore the beauty of New York City’s endless food scene. Emma’s writing style focuses on local hidden gems, food carts, food trucks, ma and pa joints, and eats that are affordable for everyone to try. With the diverse culture New York offers, she wants to emphasize on the foods that are less talked about and create a story behind each one. Growing up in Los Angeles at the age of seventeen Emma’s curiosity for food started as she went to every restaurant she could and wrote reviews on her experience, the ambiance, and her meals. Moving to New York a year ago she is ready to take on the immense food culture New York City has to offer, and continues to dedicate her days to writing as much as she can to pursue her dream as a food writer and storyteller.