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National Restaurant Association - New toolkit tackles littering at restaurants

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New toolkit tackles littering at restaurants

The National Restaurant Association, Foodservice Packaging Institute, and Keep America Beautiful have created a toolkit to help stop litter and littering behavior in and around restaurants.

The 10-page “Being a Good Neighbor: A Guide to Reducing and Managing Litter,” includes an audit form that measures litter around restaurants and other foodservice operations. It also identifies potential litter locations inside and outside those establishments.

The guide offers practical tips to reduce and, ultimately, eliminate litter in and near restaurants. It also gives recommendations for recycling and trash receptacle placements that allow for convenient, accessible and proper disposal of packaging. Well-known restaurateurs provide tips on how to engage employees, customers and the greater community.

“Besides having a harmful impact on the environment, littering imposes real costs on business operations,” said Laura Abshire, the NRA’s director of sustainability. This guide offers practical information that can help restaurateurs reduce litter, benefit their communities and bottom lines.”

Jennifer M. Jehn, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful, said litter around restaurants could pose a significant challenge and business cost to restaurateurs. It also can diminish the customer experience.

“Keep America Beautiful is pleased to bring our knowledge and experience about littering behavior, litter prevention and recycling and work with the Foodservice Packaging Institute and National Restaurant Association to produce this important and relevant guide,” she noted.

In its landmark 2009 “Litter in America” study, Keep America Beautiful reported that fast food packaging – the largest component of all foodservice packaging – represented about 5 percent of all litter in the United States. Though that’s a small portion of the total litter stream, it’s a visible one.

Foodservice packaging, defined as single-use, disposable cups, containers, wraps, boxes, bags, lids, cutlery, straws, and stirrers, is made from materials including paper, plastic and aluminum. But when the packaging isn’t disposed of properly, the ensuing litter can have harmful effects on roads and waterways, with consequences for the economy and public health.

“We recognize that sometimes foodservice packaging is littered, but we also know the packaging itself is not the problem,” FPI President Lynn Dyer said. “Collaborating with Keep America Beautiful and the National Restaurant Association has helped us identify real solutions to mitigate litter and share them with our partners in the supply chain.”

To download the guide, go to http://conserve.restaurant.org/solutions.

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