Welcome to the first month of the OSOF Sustainability Challenge! This month’s challenge takes place in our restaurants and cafes.
In January, the heart of summer, we spend a lot of time outdoors, on the run, and having fun with friends and family. We also eat out a fair bit while we’re on holiday and taking time off from our own kitchens. And eating out, especially a night of quick and easy takeaway, typically means plastic or single-use waste: straws, cutlery, takeaway containers and coffee lids.
While the government has recently announced it will be phasing out some of these single-use plastics items and some eating establishments have alternatives, regardless of what they’re made of – single-use items still unnecessarily use resources and end up in landfill or on our beaches! Your challenge this month is simply to not use these items. Say no to that single-use straw, forget the disposable fork, and pass on takeaway containers.
The Ocean Conservancy collates a list of the 10 most common types of beach rubbish. Plastic straws, plastic or foam takeaway containers and plastic lids (including coffee lids) all make the list. All of these items are ubiquitous on beaches around the world and they’re also completely unnecessary. But the great thing is that with a little foresight and planning, this dilemma can also be easily solved. Reusable options for all these items exist, and are affordable enough to buy and leave in your car, desk drawer, purse and/or beach bag. See the resources section below for some ideas about where you can pick up some supplies.
So for the month of January, eliminate disposable takeaway items. Choose the level below that works for you, and don’t forget to upload a picture of yourself going single-use cutlery, straw, and container-free! Include the hashtag #OSOFSustainableMe and #OurSeasOurFuture, and we will feature you on our Instagram feed and Facebook Page/s.
Let’s get on with it! Here’s what to do:
Beginner: Stop using single-use straws and cutlery for one month. Don’t just omit eating out this month. Instead, seek out an alternative that works for you and practice it.
Intermediate: Same as beginner, but add in coffee cup lids and takeaway containers. Some takeaway restaurants will allow you to bring in a reusable container for your food, and be sure to bring along a box or container for leftovers when you go out to eat.
Advanced: Become an advocate for ditching plastic and talk to your favourite cafes and restaurants about plastic alternatives and offering BYO containers.
How does it help?
Plastic forks, coffee lids and straws are common beach garbage destroying our beautiful beaches. Ocean plastics are often mistaken for food and ingested by wildlife. Research has even found that the smell of plastics are of interest to marine life, compounding the problem even further. As plastics spend time in the ocean, they break down into microplastics – tiny pieces of plastic that pervade every body of water on the planet, and consumed by humans as well. Plastic also takes a ridiculously long time to break down and is difficult to recycle. The less plastic we use, the less plastic ends up in the ocean. Every little bit helps!