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Join in Surfrider’s campaign to reduce single-use waste

By Staff | Mar 12, 2021

How many times have you brought takeout food home and not really needed the bag, menu, napkins, condiments and plastic utensils that came with it?

According to the Maui Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, over the past year misinformation about reusables — combined with increased takeout demand — have increased the amount of disposable food ware items used by restaurants.

To prepare for major changes starting next year, Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program is launching the “Choose to Reuse” campaign to educate and transition business owners and customers to adopt easy solutions to avoid unnecessary disposable items.

As part of the educational campaign, the volunteer-run program is encouraging businesses to choose reusable tableware for dine-in guests, provide utensils/condiments only upon request, offer incentives if customers bring their own reusable mug and offer online ordering or ordering by app to avoid disposable menus.

Keep in mind that beginning Jan. 1, 2022, single-use plastic food ware will be banned in Maui County.

“Signed into law by Mayor Michael Victorino in April, Bill 52 is one of the strongest single-use plastic bans in the nation. Encouraging eco-friendly disposable options, the bill bans nearly all takeout plastic across Maui County,” Surfrider explained.

“Choose to Reuse” can give restaurants a head start initiating the new practices while saving money and resources.

Businesses interested in participating in the campaign will receive signage to post in their storefronts that offers customers utensils by request only as well as digital infographics to help share the new initiative with the public.

“Most to-go orders end up at home, where customers use their own utensils, condiments and napkins,” said Erica Chavez, Surfrider Maui’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants coordinator. “By providing utensils on request only, this campaign saves restaurants money and helps customers cut down on single-use items.”

For more information on the campaign and helpful tips for restaurants to implement these changes, visit https://maui.surfrider.org/ocean-friendly-restaurants. To participate in the “Choose to Reuse” campaign, contact Chavez at ofr@maui.surfrider.org.