Waste not, want not: How to make your Brunch eco-friendly
Many coffee shops have already adopted this policy, whereby customers bring in their own reusable cups and get perks in return. At the forefront of this movement are coffee titans Starbucks - who offer 25p off for those who avoid paper cups and are also going to raise the cost of takeaway cups - and Costa. Pret offer 50p off coffees with reusable cups too. While it may be surprising that huge chains are spearheading this shift, it is owed in part to the fact that eco-friendly beliefs are becoming more widespread, so expect to see this becoming a more widely used policy, plus cheaper coffees for you – it’s a win-win!
Plastic is one of the biggest contributors to our damaged ozone layer. It takes between 100 to 1000 years to break down in a landfill and when they finally do break down, tiny plastic microparticles can end up in the water or food chain. Consumers are increasingly turning to alternative measures to curb the phenomenon and there are many options at hand. At ecostrawz.co.uk, you can pick from stainless steel, bamboo, glass and others for a reasonable price, while Vegware create straws using bioplastic, “a fully compostable material made from corn”, which break down within 12 weeks instead.
The humble doggy bag is your friend. Particularly in the case of bottomless brunches or buffets, people often have eyes bigger than their bellies and pile on the carbs. Get double eco-brownie points by washing and reusing the bags repeatedly. In Scotland, the government provided doggy bags to hundreds of restaurants under the ‘Good to Go’ campaign and reduced customer leftovers by 40%. Once seen as déclassé, the doggy bag is enjoying a renaissance and is one of the more accessible methods of reducing waste available. It also saves you the trouble of cooking from scratch later in the day – quick, cheap and ethical, what more could you want?
Agriculture is one of the leading contributors to global warming, a multi-trillion pound industry that accounts for 13% of greenhouse gases. More and more eateries are sourcing their produce locally with a deeper focus being given to grass-fed and organic foods, promoting the humane treatment of its livestock and building better relationships with local farmers than huge, faceless conglomerates. Seeking out independent businesses and friendly chains that use organic produce is the best way to encourage a shift towards fairer, greener methods. Keep an eye out ‘Sustainability Champion’ badges which are awarded based on categories ranging from food-sourcing to energy efficiency.
Transparent business practices are within our reach, particularly in the British restaurant sector – which historically has consumed £1.3 billion of energy per year – as it becomes increasingly unacceptable to be flippant. Chef and restaurateur Glynn Purnell has made a point of cooking food using induction hobs and dishwashers with heat recovery in a bid to improve his footprint and the rumblings of a shift are spreading like wildfire across the capital, one of the worst contributors in the Western world. By questioning not just the conditions for staff and the sourcing of products, ask what equipment is used and how this can be changed. It’s a simple act of spreading the word.