RIGA - Latvian country tourism association Lauku Celotajs, Latvian Restaurant Association and the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Latvia have launched a new campaign, No To Plastic! Yes To Terraces! with the aim of informing the public about the large amounts of plastic used up by catering companies that are only allowed to provide takeout services.
The Restaurant Association's President Janis Jenzis told a press conference on Wednesday that, even though catering companies' turnover had decreased by as much as 70 percent during the pandemic, a survey carried out by the association found that the amounts of plastic used by catering companies had doubled during this period.
The new campaign is hoped to start a public debate about the current situation. The organizers also hope that the government will allow catering companies to serve food on outdoor terraces. In this case, catering companies will not have to use disposable tableware, which they have to do at this time.
During the campaign, catering companies and residents are asked to share on social networks photographs and videos of restaurants and cafes' empty outdoor terraces and piles of plastic garbage next to the terraces.
The catering industry has developed safer service and sanitation protocols. Caterers are convinced that serving the public on outdoor terraces poses a much lower epidemiological risk than takeaway food served in disposable containers that is consumed "on sidewalks, on park benches, or in other even more exotic locations," said Jenzis.
A survey of members of Lauku Celotajs, Restaurant Association and the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Latvia found that, on the average, one catering company uses from 5,000 to 20,000 disposable plastic tableware units per month, paying EUR 1,000 to EUR 5,000 for plastic tableware.