Put out the china, stop the plastic, activists advise restaurants

ALBANY – Get out the real cutlery and glasses and hold the plastic utensils.

That’s the subject of a new free guide an environmental group has released to advise restaurateurs on how to reduce their plastic use.

“Restaurants, in particular, have a huge role to play in addressing our plastic pollution crisis,” said Judith Enck, a former EPA regional administrator and founder and president of Beyond Plastics, which aims to reduce the amount of fossil fuels used. Plastic entering the waste stream.

“We want to help restaurant owners and managers take the first step to become part of the solution.”

The timing of the guide is random given how much takeout food many people have consumed over the past two years as the COVID-19 pandemic kept people at home.

This has led to mountains of plastic straws, single-use plastic cutlery and single-use plastic packets of ketchup, soy sauce and mustard in many home kitchens.

Titled Hold The Plastic, Please – A Restaurant’s Guide To Reducing Plastic, the free guide provides detailed, practical advice on reducing plastic use.

It is available online at https://www.beyondplastics.org/restaurant-guide.

Restaurant Guide to Reducing Plastics by rkarlin on Scribd

“Industry research has found that the use of plastic creates feelings of guilt, frustration and anger in consumers – exactly the opposite of what restaurant owners want their customers to feel. The majority of respondents also shared that they believe restaurants need to do more to address the plastic problem head-on,” added Megan Wolff, lead author of the guide and Beyond Plastics Policy Director.

The guide notes that restaurants can save money by using reusable tableware, and they can keep customers happy and build loyalty by explaining why they do so.

According to Beyond Plastics, the United States generates more plastic waste than any other nation.

A few years ago, Albany County passed a law requiring restaurants to provide plastic straws and cutlery only upon request. However, it’s unclear exactly how takeout restaurants have followed the law.

Globally, between 9 and 15 tons of plastic waste enter the planet’s oceans every year – the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck full of plastic every minute. Most comes from waste that is washed into streams and rivers and then flows into the sea.

Plastics remain in the environment where they kill wildlife and can eventually break down into tiny pieces called microplastics that contaminate the food chain.

In addition, chemical additives in plastics can get into food.

[email protected] 518 454 5758 @RickKarlinTU

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