Fast food outlets should take more responsibility for their customers’ waste, a Catholic environmentalist has said.
Ellen Teague, of the Columban Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation, has urged fast food chains to cut down on the amount of single-use litter it produces and provide more environmentally friendly packaging and initiatives for customers.
Her call came in response to environment minister Rebecca Pow welcoming suggestions to print drivers’ car registration details on receipts from drive-through fast food restaurants in an effort to tackle roadside littering.
Conservative MP Philip Hollobone (Kettering) asked Ms Pow whether she would requiring drive-through fast food restaurants to print the purchaser’s vehicle registration number on the receipt so that the origin of roadside litter might be more readily identified.
In response, Ms Pow said the suggestion was “a great idea”, adding that one chain is considering such a move.
However, Mrs Teague pointed out that it would be an extremely time-consuming process for a police force that is already pushed to the limit and suggested that fast food chains should take more responsibility for their customers’ waste.
“I doubt police will have the time to look through litter for receipts and chase up offenders. And while seeing a huge need to educate about not dropping litter on our streets or throwing it from cars, I would prefer emphasis on the amount of single use litter produced by fast food chains, particularly for takeaways. Very often a handful of serviettes are handed out and most are thrown away unused,” Mrs Teague told The Catholic Universe.
“We could be creative in inviting people to bring their own cups – perhaps offer a financial incentive, not to expect straws or expect food wrapped several times. Does a burger need a paper wrap and a larger paper bag? The fast food outlets could provide more bins around their buildings, some recycling ones. Fast food chains should take more responsibility for their customers’ waste than simply monitor litter offenders among their customers.”