From the Greener To-Go Project:
On June 21, 2019, the Millburn Green Team, in collaboration with the South Orange and Maplewood green teams, will launch the second Greener To-Go weekend to help residents reduce plastic and Styrofoam consumption by putting more sustainable take-out options into the hands of local restaurants.
Residents are asked to order take-out from one of the participating restaurants on the weekend of June 21 through June 23, 2019. The restaurants participating are Cactus Charly, St. James’s Gate, the Maple Leaf Diner, La Strada Nuova, Gian Marco Trattoria, Pita On Essex and Miti Miti. Depending on the food order, the customer will get their take-out food in some of the Greener To-Go food containers along with a bright green reusable bag they can keep (while supplies last). By participating, community members will show restaurateurs that sustainability is a factor in their purchasing.
This is the second Greener To-Go weekend campaign; the successful launch of the first Greener To-Go weekend took place in January 2019 and in a survey of those participants 85 percent said that it is important to them to get “green” or more sustainable packaging options when they order take-out food. Ninety-three percent of responders confirmed that they are willing to pay more for take-out food packaging that is more environmentally friendly.
“Take-out food provides a good test case and opportunity to reduce our ecological footprint,” said Walter Clarke, South Orange Village Trustee and a member of the joint green team committee. “We hope this weekend will raise awareness of the plastic and Styrofoam waste problem and help all three towns in reducing plastic pollution.”
TAKE 2: GREENER TO-GO PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS
- Cactus Charly, 6 Highland Place, Maplewood, NJ 07040
- St. James’s Gate Publick House, 167 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood, NJ 07040
- Maple Leaf Diner, 165 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood, NJ 07040
- Gian Marco Trattoria, 301 Millburn Avenue, Millburn, NJ 07041
- Pita On Essex, 182 Essex Street, Millburn, NJ 07041
- La Strada Nuova, 355 Millburn Avenue, Millburn, NJ 07041
- Miti Miti, 10 Sloan Street, South Orange, NJ, 07079
“As we started researching take-out packaging for this project, we learned that no material is perfect, and all will impact the environment in different ways, but some are better than others,” said Ellen Ingber, co-chair of the Millburn Green Team. She explained, “We want to reduce plastic and Styrofoam consumption by providing more sustainable take-out options to local restaurants. We could all supply our own reusable containers for take-out, but the next best solution is for restaurants to switch to more ecofriendly packaging.” Working together, the three Essex County towns hope to maximize outreach to residents for their volunteer led efforts.
The most common food to-go container used today is made of Styrofoam. The environmental burden is so high that its use for food packaging has been banned in more than one hundred cities in the United States. Styrofoam is not biodegradable, lasts in landfills for centuries and takes up more space than paper. The use of plastics is not recommended either as their actual recycling rates are low. For more information on the project and the to-go packaging provided to the three restaurants, visit the website: https://www.greenertogo.org/
The Greener To-Go project was made possible through a Sustainable Jersey grant funded by the PSEG Foundation that Millburn Township received in 2018.