When David Attenborough’s highly anticipated series Blue Planet returned to screens last year the nation was overwhelmed by the images of plastic killing marine life. Now, we’re seeing chains like Pizza Express, Wetherspoons and Costa Coffee taking steps to remove plastic straws from their businesses. Beacon explore how the hospitality sector can help towards winning the war on plastic.
It’s no easy feat to convince several business giants to take the same course of action – which, it should be remembered was initiated before the Prime Minister’s announcement of a potential plastic straw ban. This means that these businesses aren’t just following legislation, but grappling with the negative impact it has on their businesses and the positive change they have the potential to effect.
For example, Beacon supplier Direct Seafoods
highlights that pollution doesn’t just hurt marine species: when animals eat these plastic pieces, the toxins are absorbed into their bodies and passed up the food chain and into humans. Direct Seafoods
has been a leading organisation in sustainable and traceable sourcing. But why take action?
Firstly, to build trust with consumers. But also to avoid the potential for plastic shaming and to strengthen brand reputation. Secondly, operators are able to reap the positive benefits of sustainable investments. Currently, there are some high short term costs. However, as business strategies adapt to the idea of a ban on single-use plastic, we predict that supply will catch up with demand, leading to more cost-effective solutions. The size of the hospitality industry means that it can have a hugely negative impact on our environment if the wrong decisions are made. Likewise, making the right decisions can have a hugely positive effect. At Beacon, in partnership with our suppliers, we’ve been thinking about what expertise and solutions we can offer...
Alliance National - Eco-friendly straws and Vegware
Alliance National added a further 30 eco-friendly straw lines which include paper and compostable options. It is also sourcing further materials, such as bamboo, metal, wheat and edible alternatives.
It supplies Vegware’s compostable foodservice packaging which includes sustainable cups, soup containers and napkins. These products are made from plants, not plastic, and can be recycled with food waste. The organisation also liaises with numerous waste collectors to take used Vegware and food waste to industrial composting. This allows clients to divert their compostable foodservice packaging from landfill. The result: beginning to achieve zero waste regions around the UK. Bunzl Catering Supplies Recyclable and compostable straws
Bunzl has recently increased its range of paper straws to over 15 different options, which last up to two hours when wet. Other options include offering customers thick, clear straws made from PP (polypropylene), this will maximise the chance of the straws being recycled if they are disposed of in a mixed recyclables bin.
Another alternative is to offer compostable straws made from PLA (poly lactic
acid) which can be disposed with food waste and sent to licensed industrial composting facilities. Bunzl also recommends introducing controlled-use straw dispensers to reduce the frequency and quantity of straws being used, allowing customers to retrieve a straw, but only if they really want one.
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