News & Press: For Immediate Release

New 3-Step Guide Helps Restaurants Prevent Plastic Pollution

Tuesday, June 5, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Megan Byers

June 5, 2018


Megan Byers, Associate for Policy, Programs, and Outreach, PSI, (617) 236-4866
Scott Cassel
, Chief Executive Officer + Founder, PSI, (617) 236-4822
Drew Youngs
, Environmental Analyst, NEIWPCC, (978) 349-2525

New 3-Step Guide Helps Restaurants Prevent Plastic Pollution

Plastic Footprint Tool and Foodware Cost Calculator Help Business Owners Reduce Costs


Nationwide Eight of the top 10 global contributors to plastic pollution are single-use food service plastics like bottles and caps, straws and stirrers, carryout bags, and take-out containers. Today, the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) released 3 Steps to Reduce Plastic and Benefit Your Business: A Guide for Restaurants & Eateries to reduce these top littered products at the source.

The Guide contains best practices to reduce plastic, advises how to avoid costly common pitfalls and find truly sustainable products, and features tangible examples from four pilot restaurants. It also offers an online Plastic Footprint Tool and a Foodware Cost Calculator to help business owners estimate the costs of plastic items and project savings achievable with plastic reduction strategies. In addition, the Guide presents simple ways communities can educate the public about plastic and even take legislative action on products like bags, bottles, and straws.

Kassata Bollman, co-owner of brunch restaurant Bruce & Son, said, “People notice when you ditch plastic for nicer products. The cost is only a matter of cents – in fact, we save money in the long run by giving out fewer disposable items and using all reusable tableware.”

“Whether your business is right on the water or far from the coast, you will benefit from plastic reduction,” said Megan Byers, PSI Associate for Policy, Programs, and Outreach, author of the Guide. “There is confusion in the restaurant industry about what is sustainable – this Guide will help you make smart decisions.”

The Guide is informed by an 18-month “Trash Free Waters” pilot project with restaurants in Greenport, NY: Bruce & Son (progressive brunch place), Little Creek Oysters (fresh seafood), Lucharitos (taqueria and bar), and Tikal.1 (family-style traditional South American restaurant). Together, these four restaurants prevented about 1 million plastic items per year; saved $12,610 annually through plastic reduction and reduced commercial waste hauling fees; and reduced 7,860 pounds of plastic waste annually. Other reported benefits include:

• At least one business noticed increased business – plastic reduction attracted new customers

• Customers enjoy the enhanced atmosphere and dining experience

• Increased operational efficiency and saved staff time

• Don’t have to order disposables as often or worry about inventory

• No straws = clog-free sinks

• Competitive branding advantage due to unique plastic-free take-out products


“It is tempting to reorder the same supplies as you’ve always done. But with a little thought, any restaurant can improve its image, bottom line, and the world,” said Rosalie Rung and Ian Wile, owners of Little Creek Oysters. “Small changes go a long way, and PSI’s Guide is good place to start.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2 funded the project, and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) oversaw it. Plastic pollution persists for hundreds of years in the environment, accumulates in ocean gyres, injures wildlife, blemishes beaches, and threatens human health.

“It is absolutely critical to prevent plastic before it litters our land and waterways,” said Drew Youngs, Environmental Analyst at NEIWPCC. “The more restaurants embrace safer alternatives, the further the movement to rid our waterways of plastic will advance.”

Download 3 Steps to Reduce Plastic and Benefit Your Business: A Guide for Restaurants & Eateries. To learn more about the Guide and PSI’s work on plastic reduction with restaurants and universities, contact Megan Byers.




About the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI)

PSI is a national nonprofit that reduces the health, safety, and environmental impacts of consumer products with a strong focus on sustainable end-of-life management. Headquartered in Boston, MA, we take a unique approach to solving waste management problems by mediating stakeholder dialogues and encouraging producer responsibility. We design, implement, evaluate, strengthen, and promote both legislative and voluntary product stewardship initiatives across North America. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

About the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC)

Established by an Act of Congress in 1947, the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission is a not-for-profit interstate agency that utilizes a variety of strategies to meet the water-related needs of their member states—Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. NEIWPCC serves and assists their states by coordinating activities and forums that encourage cooperation among the states, developing resources that foster progress on water and wastewater issues, representing the region in matters of federal policy, training environmental professionals, initiating and overseeing scientific research projects, educating the public, and providing overall leadership in water management and protection. Learn more on their website and follow NEIWPCC on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.



This project is funded by an agreement (I96275701) awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC). Although the information in this document has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under agreement I96275701 to NEIWPCC, it has not undergone the Agency’s publications review process and therefore, may not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred. The viewpoints expressed here do not necessarily represent those of NEIWPCC or U.S. EPA nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or causes constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.

The Product Stewardship Institute, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and provider. Persons with disabilities who require alternatively formatted materials to ensure effective communication should contact Amanda Nicholson at or (617) 236-4833. For TTY, please dial 711 or 800-439-2370; MassRelay.