Updated: Oct 8, 2020
Eight million tons of plastic waste enters the ocean each year, and takeout orders are the prime source of an estimated 269,000 tons of plastic pollution entering bays and estuaries, which eventually makes it way into the ocean. Did you know it takes plastic 100-400 years to degrade? That's more than enough time for micro plastics to harm millions of marine life and eventually make its way into our food chain. Less than 14% of plastic packaging in the USA is recycled, so here are some eco-friendly alternatives for the following plastics used at our local businesses:
X Plastic Straws X
These neatly crafted straws are a great alternative to plastic straws. They come from 100% natural organic bamboo with no added chemicals. Once they are no longer acceptable quality use, you can throw them in your back yard, and by 4-6 months they will decompose, giving back to the earth.
Metal Steel Straws
Unlike single use plastic straws, Metal straws are highly durable and are reusable.
This alternative may resemble plastic straws physically; however, they derive from a plant, the agave plant’s stem to be exact! These cool straws are highly eco-friendly and take 1-4 years to biodegrade.
X Plastic Utensils X
This revolutionary way of cutlery is both sustainable and even more durable than plastic or wooden carved utensils. Bamboo utensils are easy to clean and water-resistant, making them a great choice to take out and deliver orders at restaurants.
X Plastic bags X
An outstanding sustainable way to avoid more plastic bags entering our oceans and destroying marine life is using paper bags instead. They come in various sizes, making it a perfect match for restaurants, supermarkets, and retail stores!
X Plastic To Go Boxes X
Plant based containers
Plant-based containers are an excellent alternative for packaging your food to go! These containers are biodegradable, meaning they will decompose into the earth, releasing nutrients that boost plant growth! Make sure to purchase ones not coated in PLA (polylactic acid), making it just as harmful to the environment as plastic.
Kraft take out food containers
This wax coated eco-friendly container is made from 100% cardboard paper, and excellent for carrying both hot and cold food.
Plant based bowls, plates, and cups
Plant-based bowls, plates, and cups are an innovative, high quality, and sustainable way to serve customers their food! Plant-based plates and bowls are highly eco-friendly and biodegrade into the earth's soil in less than 180 days.
X Plastic Bottles & Cups X
Glass water bottles
Restaurants can consider using refillable glass water bottles/pitchers to serve at each table rather than offer plastic water bottles that will most likely make its way into oceanic environments.
Instead of restaurants serving their guest beverages in plastic cups, glassware would be an ideal alternative. If you find yourself at a restaurant where they only offer plastic cups, make sure to ask your server to reuse your cup for any other beverages you may order. If you are a server, I recommend refilling your customers with the same plastic cup before turning to a new one.
And remember, although recycling waste is an excellent alternative to landfilling them, the key here is to avoid generating more waste at all!