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Aramark Aims to Reduce Use of Straws and Other Plastic Items

Add contract feeder Aramark to the growing list of foodservice operators looking to significantly reduce the use of disposable plastic items. Aramark will focus its efforts on such single-use items as straws, stirrers, bags, cutlery and various packaging materials.

The company’s single-use plastic reduction strategy includes:

  • Phasing out use of plastic straws and stirrers, and offering eco-friendly alternatives, where possible, starting in September. This will result in a 60 percent decrease in plastic straws by 2020, or nearly 100 million fewer straws annually in the U.S., per a release announcing this plan.
  • Prioritizing additional categories to drive reduction of all single-use plastics, such as bags and cutlery.
  • Expanding offerings of reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, take-out containers and bags.
  • Partnering with suppliers and national brands to reduce packaging through design and innovation.
  • Educating and enabling consumers to eliminate or reduce single-use plastics.

In addition, Aramark promises to report on its progress and challenges “to ensure transparency and continuous improvement.”

Specifically, Aramark aims for plastic straw and stirrer reduction, with measurable improvement, targeting:

  • 100 percent elimination in national parks, higher education residential dining and select business dining locations, representing hundreds of client locations.
  • 30 percent to 60 percent reduction across hundreds of K-12 schools, sports venues and healthcare facilities, and nearly 60 percent reduction in Canadian operations.

Aramark will launch a “Sip Smarter” consumer marketing campaign to raise awareness, inform consumers and drive change. The campaign will complement the operational actions with messaging that will help to minimize plastic consumption. Signs will be part of operational merchandising to alert customers about the changes, where they can still find straws upon request and ways they can reduce personal consumption of single-use plastics.