The old adage used for the post title needs to be applied more forcefully to the food service industry, particularly quick-serve (fast food) restaurants, coffee shops, and similar dining establishments. I cannot count the number of times I have been appalled by the amount easily recyclable trash that is being tossed in the waste bins at restaurants. This includes plastic cups, lids, and containers for everything from brownies to sandwiches to pies. It is shameful how much is “wasted” and sent off to the landfill.
It is high time for the food service industry to step up to the dinner plate and get its collective act together in support of recycling. I would venture a guess that in all my years of dining, less than one hand’s worth of quick-serve restaurants make any effort to separate the waste stream. Given the success of home recycling programs, I am confident that many patrons would be willing to separate their recyclables at the restaurant prior to disposing their trash and departing. Personally, I take the recyclable items home and discard them there whenever I can to ensure they go into the recycling stream and not the waste stream.
Come on! How hard can it be to add a colorful recycling container for plastics? I challenge the food service industry to start small with recyclable plastics and work its way up to greater recycling efforts as the public becomes accustomed to the new options. If college students can figure it out at dining halls, the general public can too. It’s a matter of making the effort to waste not.