Plastic bags are popular with consumers & restaurants as they are a functional, lightweight, strong, cheap & hygienic means for transporting food. On a practical level, it is also easier to stack takeaway meals in singlet bags, & the bags take up minimal storage space. However, environmental lobbyists have caused some governments to ban the supply & use of plastic shopping bags in retail outlets. The added cost of other alternatives is something that restaurants can ill-afford in the current economic climate.
We look at why plastic bags are so popular & widespread in the hospitality industry:
Cost effectiveness: Plastic bags are the cheapest & most efficient way to store food during transit. Restaurants are facing an uncertain future as patronage declines amid cost pressures faced by consumers. They have less disposable income & are more discerning about where they spend it. It follows that restaurants need to become more efficient & reduce their costs to remain in business. The next cheapest alternative to plastic bags costs many times more & is not a viable option.
Space contraints: A universal problem faced by restaurants is a lack of storage space. Plastic bags are lightweight, compact & take up relatively little space. They are flat packed & easy for restaurants to stow away.
Stacking: it’s much easier to stack plastic takeaway containers or other food packaging in singlet bags as the plastic moulds around the package so it always remains upright. This minimises the prospect of spills & leakages. Singlet bags are also versatile as they can be used to transport various types of food packaging ranging from foam clams to foil containers, food trays, show bowls & plastic food containers.
Environmental impact: the majority of plastic bags go to landfill & a large proportion are improperly disposed of & can have a detrimental impact on the natural habitat & wildlife. For this reason, the South Australian government banned the use of plastic shopping bags in the State. Whilst similar legislation hasn’t been implemented by other State governments, it is a cause for concern given the signficant impost that a ban would impose on restaurants & the livelihoods of those that are connected to them.
Information from this article was derived from various sources including the Australian Department of Environment & Sustainability.