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Best Practices

Best

Find a way to reduce a need for a product or reuse that product:

Opt-in (required): Include opt-in options for cutlery, napkins, condiments, etc. This means, your default option is not to include cutlery, napkins, and condiments, and customers should request that they want these items. Or encourage your customers to indicate their preference to receive utensils in an additional comment box or as part.

Durables: Create a bottle deposit program for your to-go mixed drinks or specialty sauces. Allow customers to bring in their own cups or growlers for beverage fills.

Food Safety: If you have concerns about food safety under section 03348, talk to your contact at the Health Department. They are strong partners of this program and are eager to help with waste reduction.

Good

When reusable options aren’t available or possible, opt for compostable

How to know: Look for the BPI symbol or ASTM D6400 or D6868 specification to ensure our composting facility will accept the product and it’s safe for consumer health.

           

Avoid

Any compostable product containing PFOA or PFAS

Contamination: Compost imposters. There is a lot of greenwashing out there. Make sure to find a product with the BPI logo on it.

Styrofoam: Styrofoam (expanded polystyrene) is not recyclable locally and will always go in the trash or contaminate the recycling stream. Always opt for something other than Styrofoam.

Plastics: Single-use plastics are not allowed as of July 31, 2022 per the City of Bellingham’s Ordinance 2021-05-023. Non single-use plastics must be cleaned and free of grease and food in order to be recycled.

Best Practices by Product Type

Cutlery

Best
Make your default opt-in. Make opt-in specific to which cutlery items are needed.

Good
Provide compostable cutlery.

Avoid
Plastic cutlery. It is not recyclable and will end up in the landfill or contaminate the recycling stream.

Bowls

Best
Durable bowls.

Good
Compostable bowls. See bowls tab.

Avoid
Styrofoam bowls. Plastic bowls. If you must pick plastic, look for containers with the numbers 1-3 listed in the recycling chasing arrows and make sure to let customers know the plastic must be food- and grease-free before recycling.

Packaged Beverages

Best
Aluminum cans. These are recyclable and have a lower carbon footprint than other recyclable materials.

Good
Glass containers. These are recyclable but have a higher carbon footprint from shipping due to their weight.

Avoid
Plastic containers. The market for recycling plastic bottles is variable so they often end up in the landfill.

To-Go

Best
Allow customers to bring their own container or start a buy in program for repeat customers in which they buy a reusable to-go container up front and then get to reuse it at your restaurant. Contact us for help setting this up at your establishment.

Good
Provide compostable to-go boxes. See to-go tab.

Avoid
Compostable boxes without BPI certification (Primeware is an example for sale locally).
Plastic to-go containers. If you must pick plastic, choose a container with numbers 1-2 listed in the recycling symbol and inform customers that plastic must be food- and grease-free before recycling.

Cold Cups & Lids

Best
Allow customers to bring in their own cups to fill.

Good
Compostable cups and lids. See cups/lids/straws tab.

Avoid
Styrofoam cups. Paper cups with plastic liners – this makes them neither compostable nor recyclable.
Paper cups that aren’t BPI certified compostable.
Plastic lids that are neither recyclable nor compostable locally as they tend to cause recycling stream contamination.

Straws

Best
Have your default option not include straws. Let your customer opt-in for straws when ordering as an item modification.

Good
Paper straws, which work for hot and cold beverages or compostable clear straws for cold beverages only. See Cups/Lids/Straws tab.

Avoid
Plastic or paper straws without BPI certification as these lead to contamination. If you do choose to provide these types of straws make sure customers know that straws must be disposed of in the trash.

Portion Cups

Best
Make your default opt-in and only provide sauces by request. Sell your specialty sauces in large containers with a bottle deposit for customers.

Good
Compostable portion cups. See Portion Cups tab.

Avoid
Plastic, styrofoam, or non-BPI certified compostable portion cups. Single-serve sauce packets.

Plates

Best
Durable Plates.

Good
Compostable Plates. See plates/boats/tray tab.

Avoid
Styrofoam plates. Plastic plates. If you must pick plastic, look for containers with the numbers 1-3 listed in the recycling chasing arrows and make sure to let customers know the plastic must be food- and grease-free before recycling.

Hot Coups & Lids

Best
Allow customers to bring in their own cups to fill.

Good
Compostable cups and lids. See cups/lids/straws tab.

Avoid
Styrofoam cups. Paper cups with plastic liners – this makes them neither compostable nor recyclable.
Paper cups that aren’t BPI certified compostable.
Plastic lids that are neither recyclable nor compostable locally as they tend to cause recycling stream contamination.

Napkins

Best
Make your default opt-in and only provide napkins by request.

Good
Brown paper napkins. Napkins are compostable, not recyclable, since they will be covered in food and grease once used. There are many varieties available at local restaurant supply stores.

Avoid
White paper napkins. These are compostable, however the process to bleach the paper to give them their white appearance is chemically intensive and unnecessary.

Product Purchasing Guide

Click here to view the Product Purchasing Guide in Google Sheets.

Thank you to our program sponsors:

Lautenbach Industries
Sanitary Service Company
Gear Aid

 

Thank you to our partners: