“Single-use plastic usage: what is the local F&B industry doing to reduce this?”

Roughly 300 million tons of plastic is produced every year, and only 10 percent is recycled. In the Maldives, a large portion of single-use plastic such as cups, plates and straws end up on the beaches or in the sea.

Image source: The Maldives Expert

Many cafés and restaurants have taken the initiative in helping reduce single-use plastic waste. This movement’s here to change it all – even the smallest change can make a massive difference. There are many ways in which you can make an impact.

With that being said, we’d like to note that the Maldives has also begun its journey in bringing more sustainable means to the table. Some local cafés, restaurants and stores are already a part of it.

Plastic bags and containers are no longer a part of Hotel Jen. Their takeaway cups and bags are made from recycled paper.

Image by Hotel Jen

The Goatfish Café serves drinks with metal and silicon reusable straws. By doing so, they have successfully been able to eliminate single use straws altogether. They also encourage customers who don’t want to use these to skip the straws instead. Moreover, this is one of the first cafés in town to start serving filtered water instead of using plastic bottles. In fact, they serve glass reusable bottles since the beginning. Even the likes of soft drinks like Coca-Cola and Sprite are served similarly. They also use reusable glass jars for drinks.

Image by The Goatfish Café

Alp Café and Bistro gives takeaway food in paper containers and tries not to give out plastic bags along with it. They’ve also made copper straws to be used at the café instead of plastic straws. They don’t sell water bottles – instead, they have filtered water in big mason jars, which are constantly being refilled. Moreover, the excess coffee is reused in the ashtrays.

Even though Oevaru Gallery is fairly new in the market, they have been a part of the movement since they started out. They use filtered water in glass bottles or jugs and metal and paper straws. In addition to encouraging customers to bring their own reusable cups for takeaway coffees, they’re also hoping to start using their own grocery bags for daily groceries at the earliest.

Salt Café and Restaurant serves filtered water in glass carafes and provides stainless steel straws with their beverages. This means they are saving 1,400 plastic bottles per month which is over MVR 8,000.

Image by Salt Café and Restaurant

The Space and Rodchenko are also noteworthy mentions. While Rodchenko uses glass straws and offers the option of normal water or infused water in glass jars, The Space uses paper bags and tries to minimize all plastic takeaways. Meraki and Family Room use metal straws and glass straws, respectively.

Image by The Space

Seagull Café provides water in water dispensers on the top floor where customers can refill anytime they want, as much as they want. They have also made a commitment to outgrow the use of single-use plastic and make themselves an environmentally-conscious café. In addition, Seagull Foods also provides cloth bags instead of plastic.

Image by Seagull Café

Fantasy Store has also joined the movement by switching to paper bags. They encourage customers to bring their own tote bags though.

Zero Waste Maldives is a provider of alternatives for all things plastic. You can buy a Beeswax wrap from them; not only are they perfect for storing leftovers, covering containers or plates and bowls, you can use them instead of plastic cling-wraps. They also have metal and bamboo straws, and up-cycled VOSS bottles which you can carry around and refill.

Image by Zero Waste

Image by Zero Waste

At a time when this is big, we encourage everyone to reduce the usage of single-use plastic. There are little things you can do like taking a tote bag when you go grocery shopping, installing a water dispenser in your homes and at work instead of buying plastic bottle cases, taking your own cup or thermos when you opt for takeaway coffee, and so much more. If we start now, we can bring about a bigger impact than expected.