Reducing Plastic Waste in Restaurants

Posted on: April 20, 2022 by RMS Hospitality

Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental emergencies currently plaguing our planet. There are many culprits that the problem can be attributed to, including individual negligence, lack of recycling, and wasteful packaging practices. All of these issues are prevalent in the restaurant industry, and the hospitality sector has the opportunity to be a leader in reducing plastic waste. In order to do this, though, there are several key changes that must be enacted. Improving operational practices is a great way to reduce waste and pollution, and it can also mitigate restaurant insurance claims stemming from inappropriate handling of waste.

Eliminate Single-Use Condiments

Most restaurants offer single-use condiment packets in to-go orders or even at the table. These packages are typically less than half an ounce, but they create a lot of waste for such a small amount of food. This is especially concerning given the fact that the Plastic Soup Foundation cites single-use plastic as the leading cause of plastic pollution throughout the world. Restaurants can make an effort to combat this problem by reducing their use of small condiment packets and instead encouraging guests to use larger, refillable bottles.

Minimize Use of Disposable Utensils

Another major source of waste in restaurants is the prevalence of disposable utensils. Like single-use condiments, disposable utensils are commonly offered in to-go orders, but sometimes they are made available at tables, too. This cutlery is most often made of plastic, and more often than not, it is thrown away rather than recycled. This makes it particularly susceptible to transfer into landfills or dumping in the ocean. Luckily, there have been a crop of innovative alternative to emerge in recent years, offering single-use cutlery that’s also biodegradable.

Use Ceramic Plates Instead of Plastic

Paper and plastic plates are unfortunately common in restaurants, and it can be difficult to eliminate them from circulation. Families who are dining with young children often prefer these materials because they are non-breakable, but of course, they are also difficult to recycle. For this reason, restaurants should always use ceramic plates as the default and reserve any other kind of plate for special requests only.

Encourage Customers to Reduce Waste

One of the most effective tools for reducing the restaurant industry’s waste is encouraging customers to be part of the solution. Many establishments have encouraged guests to help by providing receptacles for plastic recycling in a restaurant. This can raise guests’ awareness of the problem and also empower them to take action. It’s always a good idea to encourage guests to make eco-conscious choices. Remember that many customers may not be familiar with recycling or other environmental practices, so it’s always a good idea to be patient when broaching the topic. Handling waste conscientiously is key to preventing restaurant insurance problems.

About RMS Hospitality Group

At RMS Hospitality Group, our expertly crafted policies are written specifically for the hospitality industry. We offer custom tailored solutions to meet any venue’s specific needs. For more information, contact our knowledgeable experts today at (888) 359-8390.

Posted in: Restaurant Insurance

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