Boomerang Alliance has welcomed the reopening of cafes and restaurants, as long as they are COVID-safe. We are concerned that reverting to single-use plastic food ware and cutlery is being promoted as one of the strategies for a COVID-safe food outlet.
It is not. It is not the utensils or food ware, that are the issue but their safe handling.
We have put out this media statement to counter the rumours and advice that single-use plastic food ware is a safer and better option.
Both Victorian Government advice (which is consistent with the advice all jurisdictions are giving) and the Australian Restaurant and Catering Association (Best Practice Cafe Guidelines COVID-19) support the continued use of a food outlet's standard, reusable foodware, not single use plastics, as the better option.
Whilst it is focused on takeaway practices, the Plastic Free Places Reusable Guide for cafes shows how simple handling changes make reusable food ware the safest option. Similar practice changes for in-house dining and food ware handling will avoid the need for single use plastics.
Using Your BYO coffee cup or container to your local cafe is quite safe
Just ask the cafe to follow these instructions.
There is no requirement for restaurants or cafes to provide single-use plastics. The preference is for outlets to use their own food ware, provided it is properly washed and handled safely. This is consistent with international best practice advised by Food Safety Qld:
that non-disposable crockery/cutlery/glassware is permitted when cleared after each course and washed using a commercial grade dishwasher or glasswasher. Where this is not possible, disposable cutlery/glassware can be used.
The hospitality sector has been given a whole lot of mixed messages about single use plastics during COVID. Most are trying to do their best to keep their businesses afloat and follow instructions. The advice we can all give them means they can reopen safely without having to revert to single use plastics.