Bistros go ‘naked’ to reduce single use plastic

The Green Room customers Hannah Kennedy and Josh Olive, from Kommetjie, receive their bill with tasty pretzels.

Five far south bistros have chosen to serve “naked” treats after meals to avoid single-use plastics.

And over half the eateries in the far south – 53% – are no longer using plastic straws, according to a survey carried out during Plastic Free July.

More than six out of 10 do not give out plastic bags, plastic cutlery or plastic sachets of condiments or sauces.

That means many establishments are still using a range of single-use plastic items, including tooth-picks individually wrapped in plastic.

The five using “naked” treats are: La Sal and Stag Coffee Company in Fish Hoek; Southern Grind in Heron Park; The Green Room in Kommetjie; and Tigers Milk in Muizenburg.

Four outlets have also found treats with biodegradable packaging – Bootleggers in Muizenberg; Blue Door Coffee and Restaurant 136 in Simon’s Town; and Espresso Dot Kom in Kommetjie. Many outlets do not serve treats at all.

These results come from a face-to-face survey carried out among 113 food outlets by a team of local volunteers from Waste Reduction Far South, part of the Far South Peninsula Community Forum.

The establishments included restaurants, bars, take-aways, coffee houses and bistros. Three refused to complete the survey, which showed that 72% of the establishments which took part were locally owned, 8% regionally owned, 15% part of a national chain or franchise and 5% part of an international chain or franchise.

The Green Room owner, Geoffrey Downes, said he had spent a lot of time and energy researching alternatives and now offered chocolate-dipped pretzels with bills.

He said he served 100% biodegradable take-away coffee cups with lids made from corn starch and his take-away containers were also made from recycled wood.

“I used to work at the Soetwater Environmental Education Centre, teaching kids about marine ecology and our fynbos habitats,” he said. “As a business owner, I am trying to be as environmentally responsible as I can.”

Kim Kruyshaar, from Waste Reduction Far South, said: “Professor Peter Ryan, from UCT is a world expert in marine litter. His studies over many years have confirmed that 80% of the litter on beaches comes from the
land nearby. And litter in Cape Town is increasing at three times the rate of the increase in population.”

She said that as seven out of 10 establishments surveyed were locally owned and decision-making power to stop plastic use was held locally.

“The future is in our own hands,” she said.

She said consumers could tip the choices in favour of the environment.

“Straws suck – don’t use them. Refuse after-meal sweets in plastic. Bring your own re-usable containers and cutlery for takeaways and coffee, or pay the little
extra for compostable containers so that nature does not pay the price.

“And this is vital: support those businesses who are committed to going single-use plastic free.”

For more information visit the Waste Reduction Far South Facebook page: