Check out our easy reference guide for swapping out single-use plastics for reusables and/or compostable alternatives, where feasible, with cost implications and approximate savings.
Costs/Potential Savings
Single-Use Plastic Cups Re-usable plastic cups – solid polycarbonate cups or slightly flexible polypropylene cups Cost: Reusable pint cups 50p-80p vs. 2p per single use pint cup. Wash hard plastic cups in-house. Use 200+ times. Cost tilts into a cost saving after approx. 25 uses. Save on storage space of single-use cups, save on commercial waste disposal costs. Polycarbonate may be best suited to fixed venue pubs. Polypropylene may be best suited to temporary outdoor venues/festivals.
Cup deposit scheme using reusable plastic cups Customer pays extra £1 deposit for reusable plastic cup on first purchase of drink. Customer brings cup back to bar for refill or receives fresh cup. Deposit returned upon final return of the cup OR customer can keep + deposit retained by venue resulting in profit on each unreturned cup. Deposit schemes keep your venue tidier, saving you staff costs on clearing glasses.
Stainless steel pint cups Cost: £4-5 per cup. Re-usability unlimited. Brand & sell.
Bioplastic PLA cups – single use cups with appearance of conventional clear single-use plastic cup Approx. 3x cost conventional single-use plastic cup. But environmental sustainability is limited closed/secure perimeter events with all cups collected and require disposal by waste management contractor with access to anaerobic digestion facilities. Read more here.
Plastic Straws – Do you really need them anyway? Paper straws Approx. 3 times the cost, but in situations when only provided on request, anecdotal evidence from publicans is that this results in uptake of only around 30% of customers.
Single-Use Plastic Condiment Pots Reusable pots – ceramic, glass or hard plastic They will cost a little more than throwaway, but can be used infinitely!
Paper condiment pots 2oz waxed paper ramekin approx. 1p each. Buy your condiments in bulk, save on individual sachets by bulk buy of condiments, controlled portion sizes by your waiting staff or make available to customers to help themselves.
Individual Condiment Sachets Buy condiments in bulk Save on individual sachets by bulk buy of condiments, controlled portion sizes by your staff or make available on counter for customers to help themselves.
Single-Use Plastic Cutlery Stainless Steel Cutlery Infinite use, preferred by customers!
Wooden Cutlery 1 item of wooden cutlery is approx. 3p. Reduce cost by training staff to only offer cutlery only if requested by customers.
Water in Plastic Bottles Glass bottled water / higher priced flavoured canned water Comparison of plastic bottle water vs alternatives all dependent on current supplier. Higher RRP for non-plastic may recoup the lost margin on cheap bottled water.
Plastic/Polystyrene Food Containers If you can’t use reusable serveware, use only compostable serveware plates, bowls and clam shell containers – made from sugarcane by-product 10p-20p depending on size & volume. Advantage – breathable vs polystyrene, more attractive to customers than polystyrene