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Efforts to improve environmental sustainability have increased exponentially in the last couple of years, with the foodservice industry at the forefront. Restaurant chains, local restaurants and the hospitality industry have been some of the most vocal and active, reducing waste starting with the little things and switching to greener alternatives where possible. Amongst the most popular items affected are straws and take-out containers but there are many more items to choose from to make a difference.


The switch towards sustainable straw alternatives has been the most covered in recent news. Foodservice giants from major chains to bars and hotels have released entire marketing campaigns to showcase the progress they’re made towards more eco-friendly products. Paper straws are the most common alternative, but other non-plastic options include reusable metal or glass, compostable, wheat, and even avocado seed straws.

Cocktail & Sandwich Picks

Switching to sustainable cocktail and sandwich picks is relatively easy, since is an abundant selection of wood and bamboo products to choose from. Wood and bamboo are considered better for the environment since they are made from renewable sources instead of petroleum. They are also compostable, so they won’t spend 100’s of years in a landfill. Besides being much better for then environment, these picks have a more modern design and give dishes an all-natural look. Bamboo steak markers are also available.

Drink Stirrers

Wood and bamboo stirrers are available for use in hot or cold drinks. They’re perfect for replacing plastic stirrers and reduce the need for disposable spoons for drinks. Like their cocktail and sandwich pick counterparts, these stirrers feature a very modern and stylish look. Plus, they are compostable, which is perfect for an item that is used for only a couple of seconds and then tossed away.

Take-Out Containers

Take-out is a major source of waste and many companies are still trying to come up with alternatives that not only offer non-plastic materials but also perform well. Some options are paper, bamboo and even compostable containers. Along with the containers themselves are the plastic bags that the food is carried in. One easy and effective change to make is to switch from plastic take-out bags to paper ones.

Compostable Gloves

One new but effective option to meet sustainability or zero waste goals comes in the form of foodservice gloves. Gloves that require constant changes pile up to a huge amount of waste throughout the year. To improve this, compostable gloves have begun to increase in availability. Currently available as alternatives to loose poly gloves, compostable gloves can go on to become compost after use.

Content courtesy of Handgards, Inc.

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