Blog Post

The Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) recently released a guide to help restaurants reduce plastic waste in their operations. This guide,  3 Steps to Reduce Plastic and Benefit Your Business: A Guide for Restaurants and Eateries, is part of the Trash Free Waters Pilot Project, a partnership between PSI, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 2 office, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission, and four Greenport, NY restaurants. Together, the four restaurants that utilized the recommended strategies saved more than $12,000 through reduced trash hauling fees and reduced plastic product procurement and reduced over 7,800 pounds of plastic waste on an annual basis.

A majority of plastic pollution is comprised of single-use food service plastics such as bottles and caps, carryout bags and containers, portion cups and tops, straws and stirrers, and plastic cutlery. Designed to help the restaurant industry stop plastic pollution at the source, the guide features best practices for plastic reduction, advice about purchasing sustainable versions of plastic products, and real-world examples from the four restaurants, which are employing these plastic reduction strategies.

With the 3-step guide, PSI also released two helpful online tools. Restaurants can use the Plastic Footprint Tool to identify the plastic products they use most often and how much money they could save by reducing the use of these items. This helps restaurants prioritize which plastic products to replace with more sustainable options.

Next, the Foodware Cost Calculator helps businesses determine the costs of switching to more sustainable items, taking into account setup and ongoing costs, such as replacing broken plates or the price of cleaning supplies, and calculating the time required for the associated ongoing cost savings to surpass these additional costs.

RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts assists businesses and institutions maximize recycling, reuse, and food waste diversion opportunities. We have developed industry-specific guidance for restaurants, and also provide no-cost technical assistance to help restaurants implement programs that prevent, recover, and divert waste from disposal. To speak to a recycling expert, call our hotline at 888-254-5525 or email us at