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  • Michael Oshman

Do's and Don'ts of Disposables

While straws have become a popular topic in the restaurant world, we must not forget that there are many other disposable products that are making their way into landfills, or worse, our waterways. Here are tips for finding green disposable products for your restaurant.

Disposables Containing Recycled Content

Reusables are the best option for the planet. If you find that your restaurant still needs to purchase disposable items, whether it’s take-out containers or napkins, try to purchase products that contain post-consumer recycled materials. Below is a graphic describing various “recycled” terms:

Need help finding green disposables for your restaurant? The GRA certifies several products that contain post-consumer waste, including:

Tork, an Essity Brand’s Xpressnap Dispenser Napkins DX906E & DX606E: at least 90% post-consumer waste and processed chlorine free. These can earn your restaurant up to 3.5 GreenPoints™

WOW Plastic’s clam-shells, round containers, salad bowls, nacho trays, and cake domes: 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. These can earn your restaurant up to 2.5 GreenPoints™

Fold-Pak’s Bio-Plus Earth, Fold-Pak Earth, Bio-Plus View, and Bio-Plus Terra II: 100% recycled cardboard, at least 35% post-consumer waste and processed chlorine free. These can earn your restaurant up to 3.5 GreenPoints™

Active Difference’s Kraft Take-Out Containers, Folding Sandwich Packs, Double Walled Kraft Cups, and Double Walled Star Cups: 100% recycled, at least 35% post-consumer waste and processed chlorine free. These can earn your restaurant up to 3.5 GreenPoints™

You can find them at Purchasing just one product that contains pre or post-consumer recycled material could earn your restaurant between 1 and 3.5 GreenPoints™.

Compostable Products

Purchasing compostable products is another way to make sure your restaurant is sending less items to the landfill. Use these products if they are going to be composted at your restaurant or if you live in a city where your customers can take them home and compost them. Purchasing just one product that is BPI certified or 100% biobased can earn your restaurant up to 1.25 GreenPoints™.

Bottled Water

Did you know that 38 billion pounds of water bottles are not

recycled every year? Getting rid of bottled water at your restaurant is a great way to reduce disposable use. Investing in a water bottle replacement system could earn your restaurant 3.5 GreenPoints™.


Shifting from disposables to reusables is good for the planet and your budget. It may not be the status-quo now, but your restaurant could set a powerful example for others. Take Ancolie, a 4 Star Certified Green Restaurant®, for example. Ancolie does not use any disposable take-out containers. Instead, they use glass jars that you can reuse or bring back for $1 off your next meal. Here are some examples of other reusable products you can purchase for your restaurant: hand towels, coffee filters, trays, linens, utensils, mugs, dishes, and much more! You could earn up to 6.5 GreenPoints™ for using just one reusable product in your restaurant. If purchasing reusables isn’t realistic for your restaurant, you can incentivize customers to bring their own reusable products, such as bags or mugs. Incentivizing customers to bring their own reusable mugs and bags can earn your restaurant up to 5 GreenPoints™.

What Consumers Can Do

  • Bring your own reusable items when you dine out (straws, mugs, take-out containers, etc.)

  • Always recycle or compost any disposable that is recyclable or compostable

  • Encourage your favorite restaurant to use sustainable disposable products or reusables

Want to get rid of your disposables or begin to purchase more sustainable disposables at your restaurant, but you’re not sure where to start? The GRA can help. Learn more at or call (617) 737-4422.

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