Plea to eliminate

A group of volunteers from Waste Reduction Far South surveyed 113 restaurants, takeaway outlets and coffee cafes in the Far South Peninsula and are making a call for action to the public to stop using single-use plastics (SUP).

The survey was done at food and beverage outlets from Muizenberg to Cape Point to eliminate SUP items, including plastic bags, straws, polystyrene takeaway containers, plastic cutlery, sweet wrappers and bottles.

“The results of the survey were emailed to the outlets which were surveyed. We included a list of locally available alternatives­.

“The survey results, without naming specific businesses, will be forwarded to agencies such as the WWF, Two Oceans Aquarium and the provincial department of environmental affairs as part of a follow-up call to action for increased public awareness and bans on certain SUP items,” says Kim Kruyshaar, spokesperson for Waste Reduction Far South.

“Seaside communities whose recreational activities and tourism economy are vested in the attractiveness of our coast are increasingly concerned about the negative impacts of plastic pollution.

“Bigger than aesthetics and sealife being entangled or accidentally eating plastic, new research shows how plastic is part of our food chain.

“It breaks up into microparticles that are finding their way into our food, specifically fish, and into municipal drinking water. July was Plastic-Free Month and it raised awareness about the roles you and I can play in de-plastic-ing our world. Far South Peninsula beach clean-ups reveal that much of the plastic litter is comprised of SUP items,” she says.

Many single-use items are unnecessary or can be replaced with non-plastic alternatives­.

Your choices make a difference, Kruyshaar says.

“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. Support plastic-free businesses,” she urges.

Although food outlets are not the only source of SUP litter, volunteers from Waste Reduction Far South decided to survey them for the use of SUP items and alternatives that are offered.

Face-to-face surveys were conducted with 113 food and beverage restaurants and outlets from Muizenberg to Cape Point using the ZoHo online survey app.

“The good news is that most outlets are aware of the environmental issues around plastic pollution.

“Many would like to use alternatives, but the uptake is slow. Either management don’t know where to source alternatives or find they are not consistently available.

“As most alternatives are more expensive than plastic, cost was identified as a concern. Customer demand also plays a role, so if we don’t ask for straws, bags, coffee lids, etc. outlets will be less pressured to supply them,” Kruyshaar says.

Some of the food and beverage outlets that have eliminated SUPs or are doing especially well in replacing them, not in any particular order, are: Empire Café, Rolling Wood, Joon and Hang Ten Café in Muizenberg; Salt, Bob’s Bagels and Kitchen Bar in Kalk Bay; Camel Rock, Whole Earth Cafe, The Hub Cafe and Foragers in Scarborough; Bhandaris, C’est la Vie and Blue Door Coffee in Fish Hoek; Southern Grind in Eagle Park; and Imhoff Free-Range Farm Shop, Monkey Valley and Café Roux in Noordhoek, she says.