Day 194: Seeing Red

ketchupA bit of a sad story today.  Grant and I were having lunch at a homestyle restaurant – plain white coffee mugs, glass bottles of ketchup, silver-topped salt and pepper shakers, and rib-sticking mac and cheese.

One of the waitresses came around and collected all the bottles of ketchup.  I assumed she was going to refill them, but when she came back, she placed a new, squeezable, plastic container of ketchup on our table.

“Grant,” I said, “I think we just witnessed the plastic switchover”. 

He hypothesized that the reason they were changing was that the larger-necked plastic bottles were easier to refill.  We asked the waitress.

Turns out they aren’t planning on refilling those plastic bottles at all!  It seems that it wasn’t worth the man power to funnel bulk ketchup into glass bottles.  It was deemed more worthwhile to buy pre-filled plastic bottles and then chuck them once they are empty.

She said they were just “too busy” to be refilling bottles.  I don’t know why, after all these years, they decided that today was the day

Do you know how much ketchup a restaurant like that goes through?  They serve fries with almost everything!  I bet it is in the hundreds of litres per year. How many bottles is that?

Quite possibly these plastic containers will be recycled, but the thought of someone putting in man hours to actually wash out each bottle and get it into the recycling stream doesn’t seem to jive with the mentality of whichever executive thought disposable plastic was better than reusable glass.

Although the food and service were great, it was a seriously disappointing lunch date.



Filed under food, interactions

6 responses to “Day 194: Seeing Red

  1. How disappointing. Perhaps you could express your concerns to the manager and let them know that one of the reasons you patronized their business was for the glass bottles? If enough of us start speaking out and asking for change the businesses will follow. Their in business to make money by making their customers happy – i.e. giving them what they want.

  2. Fi Brown

    Read a lot of your blog this evening and think your project is amazing!

    I keep trying to be greener but lack the commitment you (and several of your readers show) time this was rectified I think. Perhaps by starting with an e-mail to a councillor about the rubbish (pun bad and intentional) recycling facilities here.

    Thank you for being an inspiration

  3. How sad… it seems that people often forget that reducing what they dispose of (even if they do so by recycling) is so much more important than other actions. Reduce, reuse, recycle, rot… its not just a catchy list but a hierarchy! Props for noticing this and actually making a comment to the staff.

  4. Jen CleanBin

    Thanks for your encouragement everyone. I wrote a letter to the manager and head office today. Will let you know if I get a response. . . .

  5. Michelle

    I know it’s over a year later but I’m reading through your entire blog… it’s a shame about the ketchup change-over, but I am largely curious about the old glass bottles the waitress was collecting. What happened to the unused ketchup, and to the bottles themselves? You would think they could at least wait until each glass bottle was empty before replacing it, and I hope they were then rinsed out and recycled!

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