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Top 5 tips for avoiding plastic
No 1. MILK
Plastic milk bottles – If buying in bulk you can switch to a milk pergola which dispenses cold milk or find out if there is a glass return bottle system locally. Try ditching mini plastic milk containers on room trays (they’re annoying to open and don’t taste of proper milk anyway) and let guests know they can request a little fresh milk jug instead.
Around 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year in the UK, and even disposable cups that look and feel like they’re made of paper can contain a plastic film liner and so cannot be recycled.
If you run a café or bar offering take out beverages, try using fewer disposable cups by offering a small discount for those who bring their own reusable heatproof versions; or for those sitting at tables, stick to china cups. If you need to use disposable cups, seek out those with no plastic and look out for edible cups currently in development – think ice cream cone and you get the idea!
No.3 TEA & COFFEE
Our Campaign for Real Tea and promotion of tea infusers highlighted the fact that many teabags still contain plastic. Loose tea is the way to go and plastic coffee sachets can easily be replaced with paper versions. Stick with paper sachets for sugar too, or good old fashioned sugar lumps in a bowl.
No.4 STRAWS, STIRRERS & CUTLERY
Plastic straws and stirrers make a significant contribution to waste in the UK – some put the number as high as 8 billion used a year. Wooden stirrers are better in every way, while plastic straws can be replaced with paper ones, and for personal use, reusable straws made from bamboo, glass, silicon and metal are a great option. Non-plastic cutlery materials include wood and compostable corn starch so please consider these if you run a café, street food operation or festival catering for example.
No.5 PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES
Again, a serious problem, so avoidance is a real must. Luckily this is perhaps one of the easiest habits to change, with more and more reusable ‘bottle for life’ options and funky flasks available. Offer to fill up visitors’ water bottles for free and put a covered jug or carafe of filtered water in rooms or at least leave complimentary glass mineral water bottles rather than plastic ones.
Make a pledge to changea business habit and reduce our plastic consumption. Don’t worry if you can’t do everything straight away but definitely commit to doing at least one thing. Get your staff on board and make it enjoyable. Plus you’ll boost your green credentials and may even move up a grading level.