‘Single-use’ is undoubtedly one of 2019’s top buzzwords, a key focus for anybody and any business looking to reduce their plastic consumption and impact on the planet.

More and more predictions paint a bleak picture of our plastic consumption and future natural world, such as the amount of plastic waste in the world’s oceans could double by 20301, and by 2050, the plastic in our oceans will weigh more than all fish.2

Despite their negative outlook, these shocking revelations are spreading the single-use plastic conversation even further. This message has come to dominate the media agenda and its headlines, with a lasting impact on our attitudes to waste.

Consumers are changing

Just consider recent images from Blue Planet or National Geographic. The iconic seahorse wrapping its tail around a cotton bud, or the albatross parents unknowingly feeding their chicks plastic. These shocking, highly emotive and widely publicised images have served their purpose, with 88% of people changing how they use plastics after viewing the final episode of Blue Planet II.3

In the past month, there has been a 66% increase in Twitter conversations about single-use plastics4, proving a growing public discussion and search for sustainable alternatives.

Operators take note – these more discerning customers are basing buying decisions around a brand’s social responsibility credentials. In fact, two-thirds of UK consumers say they would boycott brands that lacked ethical conscience5, demonstrating a direct link between sustainable practice and business success.

Joining the fight against single-use plastic

This growing consumer mindset gives food, drink and hospitality businesses yet another reason to care about their impact on the planet. 70% of businesses are already looking to cut down on single-use plastics6, but they need to prove this to customers through real actions. Waitrose is currently trialling a ‘no bag’ approach, asking consumers to bring their own packaging for fruit and vegetables to cut down on single-use plastic bags and containers, and Sky and BBC are aiming to abolish single-use plastics by 2020.7 The UK government’s ban of plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton buds by 20208 will also encourage hospitality businesses to make their own pledges to the planet, and shout about these initiatives to customers.

At Zummo, we’re excited to have joined the Sustainable Restaurant Association, a not-for-profit organisation connecting foodservice businesses to the sustainable food movement. We’re passionate about sustainable practice – with a Zummo machine, there’s no plastic bottles in sight. Just freshly squeezed fruit juice – pure and delicious straight from the source – with minimal waste.

Businesses such as restaurants, bars, cafes and quick service restaurants should not only consider their own initiatives to reduce single-use plastic, but the suppliers and services they’re using. Why not find suppliers that can also contribute to your sustainable goals? Your food, drink, containers and cutlery say a lot about you and your commitment to reducing waste.

1https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-05/plastic-waste-in-the-world-s-oceans-could-double-by-2030

2 Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017

3 Waitrose Food and Drink Report, 2018-19

4 Delve Insights, 2019

5 WRAP, 2018

6 Explori in collaboration with BRITA Professional, 2018

7 https://skyoceanrescue.com/media/1303/sky-business-transformation-guide_1st-edition.pdf

8 https://www.ft.com/content/f00869c2-7bdd-11e9-81d2-f785092ab560