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While our state government has realistically ordered a nationwide quarantine, the food and beverage businesses have been left to sort out the new rule for themselves: all orders are now taken-out. In terms of health purposes, this makes perfect sense. But when it comes to our environment, something that so many of the local Santa Barbara residents seek to preserve and restore, it’s an issue.
Not many restaurants, bars or coffee shops in the county conduct their routines with sustainability in mind. And the few that do must set a precedence. The transition from plastic or any non-recyclable containers, cups, or silverware to an alternative material should not be onerous. Should the price difference and slight lack of convenience stand in the way? I believe it shouldn’t! Not for the businesses that are still, despite current events, able to provide quality service with a steady stream of customers. (I will leave out small businesses who’ve been suffering from lack of sales recently.) Quality service should include the environment’s needs, which is why it’s paramount that all take-out materials be shifted to recyclable or even compostable.
While business and sustainability still carry great dissonance between each other, the last couple of years have presented a closer relationship. The bottom line is, businesses can still benefit by shifting toward more eco-conscious practices. Customers love that, which means they’ll be more eager to support a business that considers the planet’s needs along with theirs. This kind of forward-thinking decision provides a glow of uniqueness, ensuring quality in both services and principles.
In recent years, we have seen a flourishing number of a variety of businesses adopting these practices throughout the nation. And we should not give up during COVID-19 – we can still make the environment a top priority.
During this crisis, it may seem more difficult to make the switch. And I get it; times like these are hard on everyone. But my call to action should not just apply to this current situation, but all the years following it.
My concern does not just lie in restaurant take-out materials, but it’s a vital start. Customers currently don’t have a choice on whether or not they get to sit down and opt-out of plastic or non-recyclable containers for their food. In the hopes of avoiding guilt, it should not be left up to individuals whether or not our food is being carried around in packaging that will end up being tossed in a landfill. This is a business responsibility, and they should shine as a leading example of how we can all do our part in protecting our planet — crisis or not.