Ask First Policies
Reducing Single-use Items
ASK FIRST POLICY
What You Need to Know
Plastic has become one of the world's most popular materials. Its use has increased 20-fold in the past 50 years and is expected to double again in the next 20 years. Sadly, only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling and almost a third of all plastic packaging escapes collection systems and ends up in nature or clogs infrastructure!
Reusing products and reducing our consumption of single-use items is our best way to keep plastics out of our streets and waterways. This is exactly why we have developed an
“Ask First” policy, where you give your customers the opportunity to say no. How far you encourage them to go without is up to you, but studies show that by not giving them out freely and requiring an “ask” will make people wonder about their plastic use and use less.
The “Ask First” policy is pretty straight-forward: before your staff gives out a glass of water, straws (including in mixed drinks), to-go packaging (ie coffee in a to-go cup instead of a mug), plastic cutlery, bags to carry food out, and even plastic sauce cups, ASK FIRST. Will they be dining in? Are they taking their food straight home? Have they brought their own containers? It will take some practice to train ourselves and our patrons to recognize these trash items as products of convenience, and maybe we can “suck it up” and go without a straw in our iced tea or margarita.
To obtain Tier 1 Certification, your business will identify single-use items and adopt an Ask First policy for those items. You will track inventory and cost of those items to create a baseline (pre-Swing Into Action) and have numbers to compare after adoption of Ask First policies. You will post graphics (either those provided or your own creation) to doors, windows, tables, or at the POS terminal. You will train staff of the policy and we'll secretly visit your restaurant in-person to verify these policies are in place before the certification walk-through.
How You Could Say It
Our restaurant is in the process of becoming a Certified Green Restaurant, so we’re doing things a little differently now. Your drinks will not come with straws unless you ask for them - do you needs straws in your drinks today? [wait for response and if it’s a “No”...]
Thank you so much for helping us on our path towards zero waste. Now, what can I get for you?...
Ask First Resources
Download and/or print our Single-Use Items Worksheet (Coming Soon)
PHASE OUT SINGLE-USE PLASTICS POLICY (Tier 2)
Content Coming Soon
PLASTIC FREE SINGLE-USE POLICY (Tier 3)
Content Coming Soon