A collective of eateries under the banner of EatdrinkshareHB have introduced a variety of re-usable takeaway options over the past two months to reduce their plastic use.

EatdrinkshareHB has four businesses under its banner - Smiths, Albion and Picnic in Napier and the Opera Kitchen in Hastings.

General manager Daniel Norman said that in a drive for the company to be more sustainable, plastic straws and takeaway containers had been phased out in favour of re-usable, compostable or recyclable options.

As such glass straws had been replaced by steel or cardboard ones, and compostable food packaging (cups, boxes, paper bags and napkins) introduced.

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"We had a big get together with our senior management about six months ago and looked at how much waste was being produced by takeaway products and how we could make a change.

"A lot of our takeaway packaging at all four sites is now compostable and we are concentrating on recycling to minimise landfill waste."

Part of the initiative involved working in with coffee supplier Allpress who had provided compostable takeaway coffee cups (including lids) and bins had been provided to dispose of the cups and other materials to be disposed of appropriately.

Options to get milk supplied in 20-litre rather than 2l plastic containers were also being explored.

Dayna Joblin, manager, Opera Kitchen, a cafe in Hastings, one of the Bay cafes using more sustainable items.
Dayna Joblin, manager, Opera Kitchen, a cafe in Hastings, one of the Bay cafes using more sustainable items.

Norman said the 40 staff employed across the businesses were right behind the initiative, and customer feedback had been positive.

"This issue is in the public eye at the moment internationally.

"By doing our bit we hope that promotes more thinking about what's happening, not only in our premises but also in people's homes."

Although it cost a bit more for such sustainable options, both in upfront costs as well as managing the recycling, it was money well spent, he said.

Meanwhile, although there had been reports of stockpiles of plastic mounting across the country waiting to be recycled in the wake of China's ban on buying foreign waste, locally the situation was not too bad.

Hastings District Council waste minimisation officer Angela Atkins said although it had not been an easy road for contractors, they were still managing to market and sell plastic recyclables.

She congratulated EatdrinkshareHB on its efforts to reduce single-use plastic, and said the issue of what to do with such plastic was of concern both around New Zealand and the world.

"We are working with other councils, the Ministry [for the Environment] and contractors to try and keep on top of it and proactively look at options going forward."

Green Sky Waste Solutions dealt with kerbside recycling for Central Hawke's Bay, Hastings and Napier and owner Darren Green said they had seen a big increase in plastic bottles in particular in the past few years.

Despite this, however, the company was still managing to sell the plastic at the moment.

"That could change next week - it comes down to having good relationships with the brokers, but you just don't know - some of the bigger players are having real issues."

A big advantage for his operation was that the paper and cardboard was recycled through Hawk Packaging.

"That's helped enormously to keep volume down."