Single-use plastics are in the news a lot, and for good reason. The damage they do to the environment is extraordinary and it is in everyone’s interests for us to drastically cut the amount that we use. However, the reason they have become such a problem is because they are so convenient and relatively cheap. For many years, companies would constantly churn out new products to supply food industry businesses and consumers would throw them away, destined for landfill once they had done. But this throwaway culture cannot continue. We now know how damaging single-use plastics are for the environment and we have developed a range of alternatives that can help us enjoy our favourite takeaway food and drinks without the damage that comes with disposable plastic. Keep reading to find out how your food business can reduce its use of single-use plastic and embrace a sustainable future.

What’s the Problem With Single-Use Plastic?

Single-use plastics can be found all over the food industry, from takeaway coffee cups to bottles to trays to straws to bags, and all manner of other items. Firstly, they will take thousands of years for any of them to biodegrade, which is bad news in general. Then, their light weight means that they don’t always stay where they are dumped. They can travel great distances on the wind.


The process of making single-use plastics is particularly fossil fuel-heavy and, because they are used only once and thrown away, it is a process that is ongoing all over the world.


You will also have seen the shocking images of plastic collecting in the ocean, in giant rubbish islands, hundreds of miles wide. Marine life can become trapped in this plastic or swallow it and infect their bodies with toxins that can then make it into the human food chain.


How to Reduce Single-Use Plastics

  • Refill water bottles

The UK gets through 7.7 billion single-use plastic bottles per year, which is completely unsustainable in terms of looking after the planet. Thankfully, there has been a surge in recent years of people carrying reusable bottles for their water needs. One way to help encourage this trend is to provide customers with free water refills when they are in your establishment. It may even bring people in who otherwise might not have used your business. Everyone wins!


  • Use sustainable food packaging

Rather than using non-recyclable plastic goods, make sure you serve your food and drinks in sustainable packaging. This could be packaging created from sustainable sources, or materials that are compostable, recyclable or biodegradable. All of these options reduce the reliance on wasteful plastic that sticks around where it isn’t wanted for many centuries.


At Greenpak, we have all of these environmentally friendly options available for food industry businesses. You can serve your customers with great quality products that help to nurture the earth and avoid harmful chemicals harming animals and entering the food chain.


  • Use refillable containers

Through convenience, we have a situation where many of the accompaniments to meals in the food industry come in tiny, separate single-serving plastic pots and sachets. Things like ketchup, salt, sugar and other sauces, for example, create so much waste every single day.


You can fight back by offering these items in separate, refillable pots that customers can serve themselves with. It is a simple change, but one that can make a real difference when you consider how many people use these wasteful items. The alternative is much more environmentally sound.


  • Think about your cutlery

If you offer an option to eat in, it can be tempting to rely on plastic cutlery because you don’t need to worry about gathering all of the used items, and you don’t have to wash them either. But all that plastic waste is troubling. The problem is that the obvious alternative is costly in terms of replacing lost metal cutlery and also when it comes to paying someone to wash it, polish it and set it out.


There is another way, though. We provide recyclable and biodegradable wooden cutlery for businesses in the food industry. You have the peace of mind that they will not pollute the area, but you do not need to worry about them being taken or misplaced, and you save on washing up too!


If you want help ridding your food industry business of single-use plastics, talk to us today.