Tips for Restaurants

Switch to Biodegradable Cups

EPS Foam from cups and to go containers is one of the biggest sources of litter pollution in our streams and rivers, switching to biodegradable products


More than 50,000 Foam Cups and Plates Recovered in 2015

In 2015 as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers recovered over 57,193 plastic cups and plates the majority of which were made from EPS foam (Ocean Conservancy, 2016).

Plastic Foam Does Not Biodegrade

When pieces of plastic foam (such as polystyrene) enter our waterways, wind and waves break them into smaller and smaller pieces until they are almost invisible to the naked eye. These microplastics (any plastic piece less than 5mm in size) can be ingested by a variety of marine life including invertebrates (e.g., oysters, mussels) and fish that feed on plankton and other microparticulates. The plastic can cause direct and indirect damage to these organisms leading to losses in important species in the ecosystem. Also the chemicals from which the plastics are derived can have negative impacts on marine organisms, causing toxicity and disruption to reproduction, which has significant implications for the entire food web (Algalita, 2015).

Photo by Phyrexian - CC BY-SA 3.0

Polystyrene Found in Marine Animal Intestines

Polystyrene foam is often found lodged in the intestines of marine animals causing blockages from eating the wrong thing. This often leads to death. (BBC, 2015)

EPS foam fragments recovered from Dauphin Island. Picture by Caitlin Wessel

Things You Can Do

Switch to Biodegradable Cups

Compostable and biodegradable cups for hot and cold drinks are very durable and donít pose the risk of polluting our waters for centuries to come like foam or plastic comes.

Compostable Cup 16 oz. from Green Paper Products

Use Biodegradable Clamshell Containers

Biodegradable clamshell containers made from natural plant fiber are 100% compostable and are very durable. They donít cause the long term harm to our waters like plastic and foam containers.

8in Biodegradable Clamshell from Green Paper Products

Use Biodegradable Straws

Plastic Straws are the 5th most common item to be picked up in litter cleanups throughout the country. Using biodegradable straws ensures the straws from your restaurant arenít long term pollutants to our waters.

7.75" Clear Unwrapped Compostable Straw from ECO Products

Switch to Reusable Dishware

Using reusable dishware saves businesses money overtime, they use far less energy, and the chances of them polluting our waters is much lower than disposable counterparts.

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It can be good business to go green and there are models and good ideas already in place

Green Paper Products

Green†Paper Products
Sells 100% Biodegradable & Compostable

ECO Products

ECO Products
Cups, Containers, Straws, Utensils

Food Waste Alliance

Disposable Cups, Cutlery and Dishware from Sustainability at Work section of City of Portland, Oregon website has a great guide for restaurants thinking about making the switch

Other Options