By Nathan
In Duration ~ 5 min

How to choose your reusable tableware for quick service restauration ?

Reusable tableware in quick service restaurant : how to adapt ?

With the new anti-waste law coming into force in 2023, it is becoming necessary to equip yourself with reusable tableware for fast food restaurants. Professionals in the sector can now provide themselves with eco-responsible containers by choosing the right materials. Here are our four key points on reusable tableware for quick service restaurants :

1. What are the solutions for fast food dishes ?

Packaging is a major source of plastic pollution worldwide.

In France, 90 billion pieces of packaging are used each year. The trend is even more impressive in Europe, with 1,830 billion pieces of packaging per year. In the fast food sector alone, 180 million tons of packaging are thrown away every year. To change this situation, the government has put in place drastic measures that will upset the habits of restaurant chains in France.

Barbara Pompili, the Minister of Ecological Transition, has committed to eliminating disposable containers in fast food restaurants by the deadline of January 1, 2023.

According to the new legislation, a cup, a glass or a plate will be considered reusable after 20 complete cycles in the dishwasher.

The end of disposable dishes will force restaurants and fast-food outlets to review their practices to reduce their environmental impact and aim for zero waste. They will therefore have to use new accessories that use materials other than disposable plastic. Several important criteria must be respected in the fast food industry in order to meet the requirements of storage, resistance to breakage and washing. The weight of the containers must be taken into account, as well as the size, the shape (to be easily stackable) and the shelf life.

To replace single-use dishes, various possibilities are already being tested in major retailers such as McDonald’s. Plastic straws have been phased out and some establishments have switched to porcelain cups for coffee service. Polypropylene plastic also has definite advantages for tableware because of its lightness and strength.

2. Is glass a profitable material ?

Although it is not the only material that can be considered to face the upcoming ban on disposable containers, glass is a solution that should be considered as a priority for catering professionals. This material allows for a long term reuse of containers, a good way to make the initial investment to replace plastic cups profitable. Glass is strong, transparent and durable. It is safe to use and can be used in both traditional and microwave ovens. Its weight and fragility can be an obstacle in some cases, which is why certain materials (such as tempered glass) are preferred.

With the upcoming adoption of these new practices, restaurateurs will have to be ingenious to stay within the law while being profitable. A plastic cup costs less than 1 cent to a restaurant owner, whereas a reusable cup will require a much higher budget. For all these disposable packaging, a small fast-food chain spends about 10 000 euros per year. We can estimate the cost of the equipment in reusable containers at about 22,000 euros, which will require a little more than 2 years to make this purchase profitable.

3. Washing, an important point for professionals

The change in packaging used by 2023 will go hand in hand with an upheaval in the organization of establishments. It will become essential to clean and disinfect each package so that it can be reused. This concerns all the containers envisaged to put an end to waste. Among the solutions McDonald’s is considering are glass holders for sundaes and washable plastic containers for salads, fries and Happy Meal boxes.

Depending on their size, facilities will have to choose between several washing solutions. If space permits, a professional dishwasher can be installed. An extra hour of work can also be taken into account to allow the employees to do the cleaning themselves. It is also possible to use a service provider for the cleaning. In this case, a short circuit will be favored to have the containers available quickly.

Restaurant owners can also set up a deposit system so that customers can bring back the used containers. The Ecobox, a solution that is already well established in terms of reusable packaging, works in this way.

4. Buy from an industry specialist

The anti-waste law requires fast-food chains to adapt quickly to these new constraints. Specialized in equipment for commercial or collective catering professionals, the Arcoroc brand offers high quality products that meet all the requirements for efficient reusable tableware on a daily basis. The Arcoroc teams are able to work closely with companies to provide them with solutions that are increasingly adapted to their budget and needs.

The So Urban range has been specifically designed to replace disposable tableware. The tempered glass articles as well as the functional, economical and eco-responsible products of the Opale collection are credible alternatives to disposable containers. For your glasses, plates, salad bowls and cutlery, Arcoroc is able to provide you with products that combine ergonomics, resistance and hygiene, perfect for practical and efficient use in the professional environment.

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