From the container, the soy sauce, wasabi and ginger packets, chopsticks and other bits and pieces, a quick bite of sushi could end up with a pile of trash that’s headed for the ocean. But it doesn’t have to be like this! Here’s some things you can do to make a difference.
Rethink, reuse, recycle
To reduce waste we need to think through these steps in order. How can we rethink, reduce and redesign waste? How can we reuse the things we can’t avoid? As a last resort, how can we recycle that waste into something purposeful?
Skip the fish & other single-use items
The little soy packets are a waste and, frankly, shouldn’t exist. The biggest way you can make a difference is to skip the fish – and stop using all single-use plastic whenever possible.
Switching to reusable items will make a big difference. Ask your local sushi shop if they will let you bring your own container, and take proper chopsticks. If you can eat at home or the office, use a soy sauce bottle with a small dish for saucing your sushi.
If you have no choice but to use single-use plastic, try to re-use it as many times as you can. You can rinse and refill the soy fish packets by squeezing them in a shallow dish.
Look for sustainable alternatives
Where single-use items are unavoidable, they can be substituted for compostable alternatives, like those made from paper pulp. There are new plastic-free alternatives becoming available all the time!
For anything that’s left, recycling is a last resort that can turn waste back into useful things.
The little soy fish are so small that they generally can’t be recycled in domestic waste if they are loose. You can pack them in a larger container made from the same type of plastic. Many soy fish packets are made from LDPE (low-density polyethylene) which has the resin code #4, but you’ll need to check yours. If you’re unsure, don’t put them in the recycling, put them in the bin.
- Ask if customers need any single-use items and how many they need
- Provide reusables like eat-in facilities and condiment dispensers
- Join or start a container return scheme
- Remove excess packaging
- Use compostable alternatives to single-use items
- Offer a discount to customers using reusable items