As of 18 March 2018, Jumeirah Restaurant Group has gone 100% plastic-free and we spoke to Emma Banks, general manager, Jumeirah Restaurant Group on why they are going green.
Why did you take the decision to go plastic free?
We have gone straw less with a commitment to becoming as free from single-use plastic as possible, further strengthening our commitment to the environment with the announcement of a company-wide ban on single-use plastic straws, swizzle sticks, stirrers and toothpicks across all our food and beverage outlets.
In the past year there has been growing awareness of the scale of plastic pollution around the world, which is causing widespread damage to our oceans, habitats and food chains. It is now clear that we can’t recycle our way out of the plastic problem, and banning the use of indestructible plastic packaging for food and drink products is the only option and the onus is on the F&B industry, as a leading contributor to plastic pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change.
How will it benefit the company?
In this day and age, consumers expect more from brands, and by taking plastic away from our operations, we as a company are rethinking our approach to our environmental positioning and aligning our beliefs with that of our customers. While this isn’t a cost-saving operation – the alternatives are actually more expensive than plastic – we are able to gain further experience in entrepreneurship.
How will it benefit the consumers?
The health and environmental effects for the consumer can’t be stressed enough. Evidence of plastic’s harmful effects is growing – plastic acts like a magnet for toxic chemicals in the environment and breaks down into tiny pieces that are capable of passing through animals’ gut walls and into their body tissue. The United Nations has previously warned that its presence in foodstuff can increase direct exposure of plastic-associated chemicals to humans and create a risk to their health, so it is vital that we take action as a whole.
How have the consumers reacted?
It is very clear that the public want an alternative to plastic packaging, straws and utensils. If anything, the public’s opposition to plastic will only grow stronger as time goes by. We have seen an extremely positive response to our ban so far and our plastic amnesty at The Noodle House was very well received. We had more and more customers coming in all day long with online praise flooding in. As we roll it out across the whole group, we expect to see many more happy diners.
What plastic items were you using and how have you replaced them?
Jumeirah Restaurant Group now only offers environmentally-friendly straws which are either made from paper, corn starch or bamboo – we use all three products across our outlets, depending on which straw fits which drink. The corn starch straws use new technology and are 100% biodegradable and compostable within 180 days.