Restaurants all around the world are taking measures to become more eco-friendly. Everyone is encouraging one another to recycle, reduce, and reuse. Nonetheless, in our busy lives of balancing the family and the business, it’s hard to manage a 180 degree spin into an eco-friendly life. However, there is a simple change that takeout restaurants can do that is greener and cheaper.
The entire world is telling you not to use disposables. “It’s not sustainable”. “It’s hurting the environment”. “The plastic, paper and Styrofoam sits in the landfill for decades”. They’re right. But your restaurant runs on takeout and delivery. How is it even possible to not use these disposables? Customers call in for delivery or takeout because of the convenience. They need something that they can eat and toss out without the messiness of washing dishes. It’s nearly impossible to not use disposables. However, there is a better alternative to these standard plastic containers and utensils.
Cornstarch Based Disposables. These plates, containers and utensils are made up of corn starch. Today, most plastics are based off of oil, which uses 10% of our oil supply, and can take a thousand years to decompose (Discovery). However, cornstarch based plastic on the other hand is made up of corn, which is compostable. These products can decompose in a little over a month’s time.
I’d pick a month over a thousand years any day. According to [Discovery], cornstarch based plastics are created by first taking the corn kernel apart, then pulling the corn oil away from the starch. Next, they add some citric acid to the remaining starch to create a long strand of a chain polymer which are made into pellets. These pellets are then melted and formed into a variety of corn based products. This polymer feels and looks just like your average plastic.
This cornstarch based material is just starting up in the restaurant industry. Restaurant owners are replacing their traditional disposable utensils, cups, and takeout containers with these eco-friendly products. They are compostable, carbon neutral, microwave and freezer safe, and are often much sturdier than the standard plastic, paper or Styrofoam. What’s not to love?
The only problem that some face is that they find plastic, paper or Styrofoam to be cheaper than the corn-based products, but having shopped around, I’ve found that some of these compostable products are actually cheaper! If you’re saving money while helping the environment, why wouldn’t you switch from standard plastic to corn-based disposables?
This is just the first step in transforming your restaurant. Be cautious of the products you purchase and choose the sustainable alternative. Be the start of an eco-friendly neighborhood.
Wesan is passionate about green living and looks for ways to find cheaper, eco-friendly alternatives. She is currently at SCM, LLC which provides environmentally friendly amenities for hotels and restaurants at competitive prices. Follow @SCMLLC or Like us on Facebook/SCMLLC!