Day 265 – Over 40 billion pieces of single-use plastic utensils are thrown away every year. A major contributor to this waste stream is take-out and delivery orders. These plastic utensils end up in our orders even when they are not needed or wanted. A campaign, launched by nonprofit Habits of Waste is working to change that. The #CutOutCutlery campaign was launched to tackle this wasteful practice seen across restaurants worldwide. So far, #CutOutCutlery has convinced Uber Eats, Door Dash, Postmates, and Grubhub to change their default settings globally, making single-use plastic cutlery available by request only. This movement inspired new legislation in multiple major cities across the U.S., including Denver, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.
The campaign is now turning to university food services and major restaurant chains. The goal of #CutOutCutlery is for these businesses to provide individuals with an option to refuse single-use plastic cutlery and straws when they order food to go. You can help by sending a 1-click email to chains like Chipotle, McDonald’s, and Burger King asking them to join DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and Postmates and pledge to #CutOutCutlery. This means you won’t receive plastic cutlery unless you request it.
Chicago’s City Council just moved a little closer to cutting out plastic cutlery. There is no doubt, more could have been done to rid the city of this plastic pollutant, but as we all know all too well, there is opposition everywhere. Even when it comes to saving the planet.
Here’s what the proposed ordinance involves:
- Chicago restaurants would be prohibited from automatically distributing “single-use foodware,” but compliance would be voluntary, and drive-through restaurants and airport concessionaires would be exempt.
- Everything from plastic silverware, chopsticks, wipes and condiments to salt, pepper and napkins no longer would be automatically included in take-out meals and deliveries to customers who don’t really need them.
- Drive-through restaurants and airport concessions would be exempt from the ban on the grounds that their customers “expect to be given single-use foodware” and often need utensils to eat in the car, on the plane or at the gate.
- The proposed ban also does not cover plastic straws, beverage lids, sleeves for hot coffee and tea and “single-use foodware pre-packaged or attached to food or beverage products by the manufacturer.”
The struggles that restaurants have been undergoing as a result of the pandemic is the main excuse given by the politicians as to why the ordinance did not involve stricter limits on plastic pollution.
One can hope that once we emerge from the pandemic that more can be done to move Chicago away from a disposable city to one a reusable one.
Tomorrow, food donation.