Bistros go ‘naked’ against plastic

Five South Peninsula bistros have chosen to serve “naked” treats after meals to avoid single-use plastics.

And over half the Peninsula’s retail food outlets – 53% – are no longer using plastic straws, according to a survey carried out during Plastic-Free July.

And more than six in 10 do not give out plastic bags, plastic cutlery or plastic sachets of condiments or sauces.

“These results come from a face-to-face survey carried out among 113 retail food outlets on the Peninsula by a team of volunteers from Waste Reduction Far South, part of the Far South Peninsula Community Forum. The survey was completed using the Zoho app on smartphones,” says Kim Kruyshaar from Waste Reduction Far South.

Volunteers visited each premises, asked for someone to answer the survey and captured the responses and comments. The establishments incorporated a sample of all food retail outlets including restaurants, bars, takeaways, coffee houses and bistros.

A total of 110 establishments completed the survey and three refused. Seventy-two percent of the establishments completing the survey were locally owned, 8% regionally owned, 15% part of a national chain or franchise and 5% part of an international chain/franchise.

“Many establishments are still using a range of single-use plastic items, including tooth-picks individually wrapped in plastic. The five using ‘naked’ treats are: La Sal and Stag Coffee Company in Fish Hoek; Southern Grind in Heron Park; The Green Room in Kommetjie; and Tigers Milk in Muizenburg,” she says.

Four outlets also have treats with biodegradable packaging and they are Bootleggers in Muizenberg; Blue Door Coffee and Restaurant 136 in Simon’s Town, and Espresso Dot Kom in Kommetjie. Many outlets do not serve treats at all.

The Green Room owner Geoffrey Downes says he’s spent a lot of time and energy researching alternatives and now offers chocolate-dipped pretzels with bills. He serves 100% biodegradable takeaway coffee cups with lids made from corn starch and his takeaway containers are also made from recycled wood.

“I used to work at the Soetwater Environmental Education Centre, teaching kids about marine ecology and our fynbos habitats. As a business owner I am trying to be as environmentally responsible as I can,” he says.

Kruyshaar adds: “Prof. Peter Ryan from the University of Cape Town (UCT) is a world expert in marine litter. His studies over many years have confirmed that 80% of the litter on beaches comes from the land nearby. And litter in Cape Town is increasing at three times the rate of the increase in population.

“As seven out of 10 establishments surveyed were locally owned, the decision-making power to unplastic is held locally. The future is in our own hands.

“Straws suck – don’t use them! Refuse after-meal sweets in plastic. Bring your own reusable containers and cutlery for takeaways and coffee or pay the little extra for compostable containers so that nature does not pay the price. And support those businesses who are committed to going single-use plastic free!” she says.

V Contact Kim on 076 454 8467 or at kim@­greenaudits.­co.za or Lindsey on 076 215 9848 or at lindseywesmbt­@­gmail.­com.