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Big changes for local restaurants

Fast food restaurants across Phinney, Greenwood, and the rest of Seattle will have to make a big change starting July 1. That’s when an ordinance will require all single-use packaging and food ware to be compostable or recyclable. Restaurants and food service businesses will also have to put up new bins for customers to sort their trash.

Today, Seattle Public Utilities invited PhinneyWood to Safeco Field for a look at how the Seattle Mariners are already implementing the program. All food vendors at the stadium have switched to compostable products and bins have been set up on all levels so fans can sort the trash after they’ve finished eating. Safeco hopes to have a recycling rate of over 70 percent.

“Our beer cup looks like plastic but it’s made of corn. Our knives, forks and spoons look like plastic but they’re also made of corn. They are heat senstitive, so if you have a spoon in a hot food item, it will bend.  That’s something fans will have to get used to,” said Scott Jenkins with the Mariners.

Restaurants will face added costs from the new ordinance, and some have pushed back against Seattle Public Utilities. The Washington Restaurant Association says most restaurants in Seattle are interested in using more sustainable practices, but they have questions about cost and customer safety. SPU says many businesses, like Taco Del Mar, which made the switch to eco-friendly ware back in 2008, are more than willing to make the change.
“The restaurants are responding really well,” said Dick Lilly from SPU. “It’s a big change so it’s going to take some working out. The products are getting better and less expensive.”
The city’s new composting requirements follow a ban on styrofoam last year. You can read more about the program here.