Plastic isn’t so fantastic: how to use less as a catering business
Finding ways to ditch plastic wherever possible is a simple but effective way to cut down on landfill and help protect the planet. And, as sustainability awareness grows, it’s increasingly easy to source compostable or recyclable packaging and serving options — your customers will thank you for it too.
Keep it green
Body: Switching plastic cutlery and beverage stirrers for wooden alternatives is a quick win — as is swapping plastic bags, cups and straws for paper versions. In terms of food packaging, burgers can be wrapped in paper while chicken nuggets can be served in popcorn-style paper cartons.
Dishes like curry, stews and rice are best suited to trays or boxes with lidded hinges — there are plastic-free versions of these available made from cardboard or even recycled sugarcane. A bonus of this material is that it means food doesn’t ‘sweat’ like it would inside a polystyrene box — perfect for making sure chips stay hot but don’t go soggy.
Join the ranks of sustainability-minded stores that encourage their customers to bring their own cups in exchange for a discount. Pret a Manger, Starbucks, Costa, Greggs and Cafe Nero are all offering their own versions of this initiative, with many of them selling stylish reusable cups too. This is proving popular, and could be a great product to stock alongside your usual drinks offering — encouraging customers to return to you over the course of a festival weekend for discounted coffee, for example.
See the big picture
Body: Cutting down on plastic is a great move, but it’s even better when it’s part of a wider sustainability plan. For example, seeking out food waste collection services to help avoid sending scraps to landfill. Veolia is one of many commercial services that transform business’ organic waste into green energy using anaerobic digestion. Seeking out eco-friendly wholesale stockists could also be a great move too as well as using seasonal and local ingredients to reduce your business’ carbon footprint. There are plenty of ways to do your bit; reducing plastic is just the start.
Now’s the perfect time to start making changes where you can, as the government may eventually decide to start taxing single-use plastics in an effort to protect the environment. While it might cost a little more to buy compostable and recyclable packaging instead of plastic, consumers are drawn to sustainable options more than ever — so ignoring this important trend may cost your business more in the long run. When customers see that your business is eco-focussed, they’re increasingly likely to show their approval by voting with their wallet.