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Restaurants Lead Charge Against Plastic In Food Packaging

To save the Earth, every country and industry is playing its part as it has become an integral aspect of survival. Multiple campaigns are running under companies and as individual entities. The “Say No To Plastic” campaign seems to have achieved success in many ways. Let’s take the example of the food and restaurant business. Restaurants globally are actively participating in Earth Day by addressing the environmental impact of disposable ketchup pouches in delivery and takeout services. The delivery containers have now been replaced by paper boxes or biodegradable products.

“A shift towards sustainable alternatives, such as biodegradable or reusable containers for condiments, is being observed in many establishments. Some dining venues are choosing to utilize bulk dispensers or portion-controlled bottles to minimize the generation of waste,” said Debaditya Chaudhury, Managing Director of Chowman, Oudh 1590 & Chapter 2.

Packaged food brands are the biggest contributors to generating plastic waste. Unfortunately, they won’t find a better option when the goal is to deliver products that are safe, healthy, and fresh. However, that does not mean there are no steps they can take to help offset our plastic footprint.

“We have partnered with ReCircle and joined their Plastic Neutral Programme. Through this program, we have invested in the removal and processing of an equivalent amount of plastic waste from the environment. We also plan to further this initiative with collection drives, as well as campaigns aimed at raising awareness. There is always more work to be done, but we are happy to be taking these important steps towards a greener tomorrow,” said Founders Matthew Taff and Meher Vakil, Natch.

It is a challenge to deliver liquids in paper boxes. To solve this problem, brands are looking for certified recyclable plastic containers from certified vendors. “We, as a part of our packaging process, have resorted to paper packaging for all our dry items and carry bags. To pack liquids, we use certified recyclable plastic containers from certified vendors respectively. We need to realize that ‘Sustainability is not a choice but a necessity for survival,'” added Amul Kapoor, Founder at Nao, Next Asian Outing. “Bagasse packaging is another great alternative to balance the impact as it’s biodegradable within 90 days of making and has grease and water-resistant properties along with being highly insulating and microwave-safe.”

While multiple outlets have already shifted towards biodegradable disposables, some QSR chains need to work on condiments. For example, ketchup pouches are still provided by McDonald’s, KFC, and other QSR chains with food, be it dine-in or takeaways. Similar is the case with milk as well. It creates thousands and thousands of small pieces that are cut away to pour the products.

“To address the issue of single-use ketchup pouches in our delivery and takeout services, we have switched to biodegradable or compostable alternatives. Additionally, we encourage customers to opt-out of ketchup packets unless specifically requested, reducing unnecessary waste. We believe every small step counts in preserving our planet for future generations,” said Himanshu Rana, Co-founder, RIZQ.

To avoid plastic use in any ways, most of the QSR chains have started investing in sustainable packaging materials including biodegradable substances or recyclable containers. Such choices lessen the environmental impact while still giving customers the ease they expect.

“Eating establishments can find a balance between providing comfort and being environmentally responsible when it comes to condiment packaging by putting several plans into action,” added Chaudhary.

“Offering condiments in large dispensers or refillable holders allows for portion control without making too much waste from single-use packets. Further, teaching customers about the value of sustainable practices and giving options to opt-out of condiment packets completely can promote thoughtful use. Taking advantage of technology for online ordering platforms that let customers customize condiment amounts additionally reduces unnecessary packaging. Finally, partnering with suppliers dedicated to eco-friendly solutions ensures a steady effort towards environmental responsibility. By carrying out these methods not just during World Earth Day events but as standard practices, restaurants can show their commitment to both convenience and sustainability,” said Chaudhary.

New restaurant startups have advantage of to start fresh with zero plastic use in any forms. “As of now we are not into delivery segment, but we will soon start delivery as well and for the same we are in process of finalising the best biodegradable packaging to deliver our food,” said Ashish Saggu and Himanshu Bhatia, Co-founders, Osteria Noida.

Apart from focusing on packaging, restaurants are engaging in consumer education regarding the significance of reducing the usage of single-use plastics, thereby promoting a culture of environmental awareness. Through these various initiatives, restaurants are not only decreasing their carbon footprint but also encouraging individuals to adopt more environmentally friendly practices, thereby fostering a sustainable future for our planet.

“Our focus on biodegradable and reusable materials highlights our dedication to preserving the environment for future generations while also answering the evolving needs of consumers and industry demands. By embracing the circular economy model, we ensure efficient use of resources, encourage reuse, recycle more waste and minimize waste generation.”

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