Global Food Service Distributor Aramark to Phase-Out Single-Use Plastic

Billion-dollar company Aramark, based in Philadelphia, has committed to downscaling the use of non-recyclable plastic in its operations by 2022.

Aramark is a global leader in food, facilities management, and uniforms. To implement its promise to limit plastic use across its worldwide foodservice operations, action will be taken in all 19 countries where it serves 2 billion meals every year in schools, workplaces, hospitals, and leisure centers. Starting this September, items including plastic straws, cutlery, and stirrers will be phased out. The company intends to decrease the number of plastic straws in use by 60 percent in two years time.

Its reduction strategy includes: offering eco-friendly alternatives to straws and stirrers; expanding offerings of reusable containers, coffee mugs and, water bottles; and educating and enabling customers to cut down on single-use plastics. It is even launching a “Sip Smarter” campaign to encourage customers to minimize plastic use.

According to Business Wire, Aramark’s Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Eric Foss said: “Aramark shares our guests’ passion to protect and preserve our oceans. [This] announcement provides an opportunity to make meaningful achievements in minimizing our environmental impact, while continuing to deliver experiences that enrich and nourish lives. By working hand-in-hand with our customers and consumers, we can make significant progress in limiting the consumption of single-use plastics, reducing waste before it happens, and creating a healthier planet.”

Due to the needs of hospital patients, some straws will remain in use. But the company still has high hopes. It intends to achieve a 100 percent elimination in national parks, higher education residential dining, and select business dining locations. It also expects to see a 30 percent to 60 percent decrease across hundreds of K-12 schools, sports venues, and healthcare facilities, and almost a 60 percent reduction in Canadian operations.

Given Aramark’s global reach, this is a significant step towards reducing waste in thousands of locations and helping to conserve the world’s oceans.

The company, which is also a member of the United Nations Environment Programme #CleanSeas campaign, joins other major businesses in its quest to reduce plastic waste.

Earlier this month, major hotel chain Marriott International announced plans to remove single-use plastic straws and drink stirrers from the hotels of 30 different Marriott brands around the world. Likewise, international coffee chain Starbucks replaced its plastic straws with a new lid design, resulting in one billion fewer straws being produced every year. American Airlines and MGM Casinos and Resorts also vowed to reduce the use of single-use plastics within their companies.