The single-use plastic ban is dated for 2021 and while waiting for the European legislation on single-use plastic, Greenpeace has examined the habits of Italian bars and restaurants. Out of 162 establishments in 10 cities, 95% do not already use disposable plates in plastic or other materials and 13% prefer washable and reusable metal straws. Virtuous examples, to be taken as an example when one thinks of the bar of the future (not too distant).
We have already talked about how many viable alternatives to plastic are on the market . This article goes beyond the elimination of disposables, giving you three more ideas to improve the ecological footprint of your bar, because for a manager of a place, the plastic-free philosophy is good practice for business , not just for the planet.
1. Reduce plastic, not just disposables
It may be trivial, but plastic is really present at any moment of everyday life. If we had to focus on a restaurant context, it will be enough to think of how much waste is produced from the storage area to the bathroom of the room, passing through the kitchen and dining room . And the biggest cause lies precisely in the kitchen, where food packaging is constantly discarded. To solve the problem, opt for the purchase of some foods in bulk , especially for cheeses, cured meats and eggs. We know well how safety protocols require strong protection on food preservation, so you can try using vacuum packing, reusing the special bags.
The true awareness for a plastic-free place is born from the choice of foods. In addition to bulk foods, start paying attention to what you serve on the table, fish in primis. In fact, the fishing industry produces a lot of micro and macro-plastic waste, starting from abandoned nets . So look for a supplier who is sensitive to the subject, there are many realities that certify the virtuous attitude of a fish company , without also discussing the best quality of the product.
And to really go beyond the single-use plastic ban, choose not only bulk and certified foods, but also technologies capable of reducing consumption . The Combi line , for example, offers three sophisticated countertop systems with two ecological advantages. The first is linked to the disposal of used frying oil: with Techfood's combined solutions you can offer crunchy fried foods prepared without immersion in oil. Furthermore, you save on energy consumption: with a single machine you can cover all moments of the day, without having an oven, fryer, pasta cooker, grills and other different equipment.
2. Reinvent plastic
What if plastic isn't really plastic? It's not metaphysics, but bioplastic and it's the new way of thinking about disposables. Thanks to the material with which it is made, it can be collected in organic matter where it decomposes within 90 days, releasing CO2, water, sugars and salt. At the moment bioplastic is cheaper than polluting plastic, but Italy is the largest producer of compostable plastic and with the single-use plastic ban, demand will increase and hypothetically prices could go down.
Furthermore, customers see the ecological choice as a virtuous behavior of the restaurant and from a survey by Coldiretti , it seems that 68% of Italians are willing to pay a premium for these products.
Alternatively, you can focus on a now widespread trend: the reusable plastic cup . This solves both the problem of disposable glass and that of city ordinances that prohibit glass on the street. All you need to do is put a deposit on the glass (from 0.50 to 2 euros) to make sure it comes back and you can also personalize them with the name of your establishment.
3. Trust with plastic free
Speaking of branding your glasses, consider taking a more forward-thinking step towards customer loyalty with the zero plastic philosophy . If your clientele is particularly sensitive to the topic, create thermal bottles with the bar's logo, name and social references. Make the most of this object to make yourself known online, asking customers to post photos with their recyclable bottle by tagging the profile of the restaurant.
Reward those who use recyclable containers , including reusable water bottles and take away cups. As? With a small discount, a dedicated offer or a special collection of points for the most eco-friendly public.
The data in Italy speak for themselves: there is more green awareness for both customers and managers, who are willing to ride the green wave and propose an offer that is attentive to current issues. And if the costs of change scare you, try reviewing your business plan and saving on other things, such as food costs and utilities .