Kelly Smith - PPF Research Officer
15 November 2023
SIMPLE STEPS TO REDUCE SINGLE-USE FOOD PACKAGING
Slashing costs and minimising single-use food packaging has never been more important.
FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE STEPS:
1. Thoughtful assessment
Begin by assessing your current single-use food packaging. Record the types and quantities of items used along with associated expenses.
2. Menu optimisation
Examine items for opportunities to reduce packaging. Question if some items are overly packaged; for instance, could thick sauces be directly poured into takeaway containers to eliminate the need for additional sauce cups?
3. Guide sustainable choices: Latte Levy
Implement a 'latte levy' or surcharge on single-use items. This gentle encouragement directs customers toward reusable alternatives while positively impacting your costs. Consider starting with a surcharge for single-use cups for in-house consumption.
4. Elevate the dine-in experience
Enhance the dine-in experience by offering washable cups and reusable cutlery, introducing loyalty programs or specials for dine-in customers, and offering table water as a sustainable alternative to single-use bottles.
5. Rethink default practices
Challenge traditional norms by reevaluating the automatic provision of cutlery, straws and lids. Ask customers if they need these items before handing them out, leveraging the influence of your staff.
6. Staff empowerment
Educate and involve your staff. We find many baristas care about the environment - their support in advocating for reusable alternatives and reduced packaging will resonate positively with your customers. For example, your staff can ask the customer "did you bring your reusable cup today?"
7. Manage visibility
Limit the visibility of single-use items like straws and cutlery to discourage unnecessary use. A simple 'out of sight, out of mind' approach can help curb their usage.
8. Embrace reusables
Explore durable, branded reusable cups and containers to offer as premium choices. Encourage customers to take the initial step of buying a reusable cup from you by offering a free coffee with the purchase. Put these cups near the POS front and centre!
9. Bring your community along
Your community looks to you as a guiding influence. Showcase your commitment to sustainability on your menu, promote reusables - including when you put images on your socials, praise your customers when they bring a reusable cup or container!
By following these steps, you'll significantly reduce your reliance on single-use food packaging, resulting in cost savings and environmental responsibility. Take these steps gradually, experiment, and expand your efforts! We're cheering you on.
WANT TO DIVE DEEPER?
If you're one of our members, reach out to us for support and further guidance.
We'd love to help you!