Blue Star Requirements
- Provide straws by request only.
- Use reusable tableware for onsite dining.
- No polystyrene foam
- No plastic bags
- Regularly offer sustainable food choices.
Contact the Sustainability Manager at 561-393-7997 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Provide straws by request only.
Straws are an example of a small piece of non-recyclable plastic that is used by habit. For some, straws are a necessity, but for many they are not. By focusing on reducing straws, people can be made more aware of all the small ways that they use plastic unnecessarily and make additional changes to their habits.
This requirement can be met by offering straws only when a customer requests one and switching to straws which are not made of plastic.
Use reusable tableware for onsite dining.
Disposable cutlery and plates are difficult to recycle because of their shape, materials, and food contamination. Lightweight tableware in an outside dining area more easily blow away. Instead of offering disposable plates and cutlery only offer durable and reusable versions which can be washed on site. For takeaway, only offer cutlery, napkins, and plates by request.
The Clean Water Fund's ReThink Disposable Program (rethinkdisposable.org).
No polystyrene foam, no plastic bags
Take away containers, plastic bags, and plastic cutlery are, by design, single use disposable items. Food packaging and plastic bags are major components of litter and marine debris alike and persist in the environment for long periods of time. The littering of these items often happens unintentionally as they are lightweight and can easily blow away. Because they can be difficult to recycle and the high likelihood that items such as food containers and bags could become litter or marine debris, it is important that these items are made of material that will biodegrade quickly in the environment so as not to pose a hazard to marine life or infrastructure.
Instead of polystyrene foam and plastic bags use products made of fiber, paper, bagasse, and other non-plastic material. Reduce costs and unavoidable plastics by offering cold cups, lids, cutlery, bags, and other "extra" items only when requested.
Plastics which are labeled as compostable or biodegradable typically only break down when composted in an industrial facility. Unfortunately, South Florida does not have such facilities. For this reason, compostable plastics pose the same hazards and problems as regular plastics and should be avoided.
Plastic use reduction:
- The Product Stewardship Institute's 3 Steps to Reduce Plastic and Benefit your Business (productstewardship.us).
Regularly offer sustainable food choices.
In addition to the containers in which food is served, the food itself has a large environmental impact. Provide menu options which allow customers to reduce their environmental impact related to production and transportation. Examples of options to offer include the following:
- Source ingredients from local farms to reduce food miles traveled.
- Provide at least one vegetarian or vegan menu item. (Must include an entrée or main plate)
- If serving seafood, provide at least one choice which is a “best choice” under the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s “Seafood Watch” program.
- Innovative practice suggested by the restaurant and approved by program managers.