Countries across the world have already implemented a plastic bag levy, in which consumers must pay a minimum cost each time they buy another plastic bag. This idea was conceptualised and first put into practice in the UK, where the money paid to shops and retailers typically goes towards offsetting campaigns. Of course, the idea was to incentivise consumers to reuse their plastic bags, rather than simply throwing them away.
Based on this model, takeaway packaging, to-go cups, plastic bottles and lids could have a major impact on the environment and how consumers shop and spend their money. Businesses are starting to wake up to the consumer power of providing eco-friendly packaging, for example, McDonalds have committed to ensuring that all their food boxes, takeaway bags and other to-go items are going to come from sustainable sources by 2025. Yet, for many businesses that don’t have the same budget as McDonald’s, where do you start with making sustainable choices when it comes to your packaging?
Look Out For Bagasse Materials
Bagasse is a fibrous material that is now a popular option for eco friendly plates, bowls and clam shells. This means that any takeaway business, whatever food they serve, can find a way to introduce this conscious material. Bagasse is a by-product after sugarcane has been harvested. It is stored under specific conditions to ensure no remaining sugar fibres are present, it can then be moulded. As it comes from an all-natural source, bagasse products will be completely biodegradable.
Bagasse packaging materials are extremely durable and are still suitable for foods with some moisture, juices or dressings. Bagasse is so strong; it can often be found as a substitute to plywood. Coatings and coverings can also be applied, and the material does give off an environmentally-kind aesthetic, whilst still being suitable to customisation.
Hold Back Cutlery & Straws
Plastic cutlery and straws have been subject to a lot of criticism and literature recently, and rightly so. However, it is a challenge for small businesses who are looking for a way to meet their customers’ expectations, without incurring too much of a cost. Unfortunately, it is often the case that wooden cutlery that are sturdy enough to satisfy and meet customers needs are much more expensive than plastic alternatives.
Simply refrain from handing out this kind of cutlery as standard, but rather wait until a customer confirms they require one before giving it away for free. This means you will not fly through your stock, which means that the energy required to make each item is not wasted, but also that you can minimise your variable outgoings whilst providing an eco friendly alternative to plastic cutlery.
Inform Your Customers About Recycling
You might have noticed, but many recycling, offsetting and environmentally kind missions are focused on education and informing their audience. Businesses can do the same thing, promoting a positive image for themselves but also spreading the word about recycling and the importance of how takeaway packaging can change the world.
This does not have to be at any real expense to the business, simply change up the design of takeaway bags or napkins. You can inform your customers about how to appropriately dispose of each item. This is such a small change to your marketing model and can only have a positive impact on your brand image.