Single-use plastics issue: feedback requested by Restaurants Canada

Canadian Pizza
May 04, 2018
By Canadian Pizza
Toronto – Restaurants Canada wants to hear from restaurant operators on whether or not they plan to phase out plastic straws or use biodegradable alternatives.

In a news release, the organization cited mounting pressure on restaurants from activists, governments and the public to eliminate the use of single-use plastics.

"Many segments of the foodservice industry today rely on these items as an economical solution for products such as cups, lids and straws," the organization said in the release. "However, with mounting environment pressure from activists, governments and the public, what can operators do?"

The association provided some statistics: Current estimates state that Canadians use approximately 57 million straws a day with less than 20 per cent recycled. A significant amount ends up in landfills, but a substantial amount also end up as litter. Straws are one of the top 10 items found in ocean and beach litter surveys. Straws can also have a dramatic negative impact on fish and wildlife.

Some chains have switched to biodegradable or paper straws and other individual restaurants, particularly bars, have eliminated straws altogether, Restaurants Canada said.

A number of North American municipalities including Seattle have introduced straw bans while many others including Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Halifax are studying the issue. In Vancouver, city staff have put forward a proposal requiring servers to ask customers whether they want a straw as a first step. Internationally, the movement continues to grow as the U.K. is set to ban all sales of single-use plastics, including plastic straws and Q-tips from the country as early as next year.

Restaurants Canada is developing a strategy to provide restaurant operators solutions and alternatives to help this growing concern. The organization would like feedback from operators. Comments may be left on the association's website.

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