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MDI Sustainable Food Business Pledge Program

Food businesses that pledge to implement or transition to at least 3 of the following 6 sustainable practices this season will be listed in our publicity campaign, and will be given door decals for display and digital logos to use in their marketing. 

IMPORTANT: Hit SUBMIT at the end! 

Note: The most important way to reduce our environmental impact is to find ways to generate as little waste as possible.  For businesses that need to use disposable products, it’s important to note that many products made from compostable bioplastic (made from plant materials like corn) can only be successfully composted in industrial composting facilities that reach high temperatures.  Our current thinking is that for businesses that use disposable restaurant ware, it’s best to use the most easily biodegraded products that are available now that can work for each use (see guidelines and suggestions below).  For some uses, compostable bioplastics seem to be the most eco-friendly current option, but it’s important that they be certified compostable.  If they are disposed of in house, we encourage businesses to have them industrially composted (see #6).  

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1. WE PLEDGE to not use Plastic Straws or Plastic Drink Stirrers. We’ll go straw and stirrer-free or make reusable or compostable straws/stirrers available to customers who request them. If straws are used for to-go orders, we’ll use paper or pasta straws. In special cases where that doesn’t work for our beverages and we feel that straws are necessary, we’ll use compostable bioplastic straws. (Aardvark paper straws get good reviews, but they are back-ordered across the country right now because of a huge surge in demand. Distributors are starting to sell Bucatini pasta as straws! Some cafes are using fettuccine as stirrers, and there are reusable stainless steel and wooden/bamboo stirrers.) *
2. WE PLEDGE to not use Foam (Polystyrene, Styrofoam™) to-go containers, cups, bowls, or plates. Whenever it can work, we will use to-go containers that are truly biodegradable in the marine environment - like paperboard, cardboard, or plant fiber - NOT compostable bioplastic, and not lined with any kind of plastic. If clear, waterproof containers are needed for Grab-n-Go foods, we will use compostable bioplastic containers. (Some to-go items, like sandwiches, can be wrapped in plastic-free butcher paper.) *
3. WE PLEDGE to not use Plastic Bags for to-go orders. They can be replaced with paper bags when a bag is requested or necessary. *
4. WE PLEDGE to use reusable and washable Cups, Plates, Bowls, & Utensils whenever possible. If we need to use disposable plates and bowls, whether in house or for take out, we will use paperboard, cardboard or other plant fiber that is not lined in plastic. At this time ALL paper hot cups are lined with a thin layer of conventional or bioplastic and we have not found cup lids, disposable flatware, clear cold cups, and souffle cups and lids that are compostable without industrial composting. If we need to use these products, we will use bioplastic that is certified compostable (ASTM D6400 or D6868) or wood utensils or foil souffle cups that we recycle. We will also ask all to-go customers if they need utensils before supplying them and consider offering reusable sets for sale at the counter. *
5. WE PLEDGE to not use plastic Garbage Bags that are not certified compostable. (There are compostable bioplastic bags available, but they are expensive and need to be composted. We are working on bulk discounts and expect the price to come down as demand increases. Some businesses are finding that taking recyclables and compostables out of their waste stream makes up for the extra cost of compostable garbage bags, and some are going without garbage bags and hosing out trash cans.) *
6. WE PLEDGE to Compost food waste (or give it to farmers) and compost compostable disposables if we use them. (Right now, the only services we know that pick up compost here and compost it industrially are Gott’s in Southwest Harbor for seafood waste and Agri-cycle Energy in Exeter, ME for all organic waste, including compostable disposables. Agri-cycle has a de-packager and accepts food waste in all kinds of containers, such as unwashed mayonnaise jars. They are offering a group discount for our group. Contact Greg Williams: *