Monday 15 October 2018

No plastic straws, 'en vrac' wine system, and 30c keep cup discounts - how this Irish restaurant chain is lowering carbon footprint

Dollard & Co restaurant on Wellington Quay. Photo: Tony Gavin
Dollard & Co restaurant on Wellington Quay. Photo: Tony Gavin
Dollard & Co restaurant on Wellington Quay. Photo: Tony Gavin
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

A chain of Dublin restaurants, cafes and bars has phased out single-use plastic straws completely.

The Press Up entertainment group, which owns the likes of Dollard and Co, the Clarence Hotel, Stella Theatre cinema, Elephant and Castle, and Wowburger in Dublin, replaced plastic straws with compostable paper straws earlier this year.

Ever since BBC’s Blue Planet II aired footage in December of the scale of plastic pollution in our oceans – and clips of albatross parents unwittingly feeding their chicks plastic - awareness about refusing, reusing and recycling plastic is growing among consumers.

At the beginning of the year, Press Up says it committed to lowering the level of plastic used across its chain.

“The first step here was to remove plastic straws from circulation across all venues and introduce compostable paper straws, which are available only when requested,” a spokesperson said.

“For those venues where paper straws aren’t feasible (Wowburger and Stella Theatre as they use the soft drink cups with lids) we have sourced compostable straws that look and feel just like plastic.”

Paper bags are used instead of plastic at its retail outlets like Dollard and Co on Dublin's quays, and loose fruits and vegetables - without plastic packaging - are available.

The spokesperson added: “Disposables used in our venues that serve take away coffee (Dollard & Co, Angelina’s Deli, The Dean, Union Café) have all switched to compostable material.”

“We are putting up notices at service counters to nudge people towards using less disposable items such as napkins, coffee stirrers etc. A little reminder goes a long way and we have seen less of people grabbing unnecessary amounts of napkins, stirrers etc.”

Dollard and Co recently started its ‘En Vrac’ Wine system, the first in the country, which allows customers to buy wine on tap in reusable 500ml or one-litre containers.

“We partnered with Wine Labs Ireland who operate wine on tap systems. We work with them in many of our restaurants, but this is the first retail unit available in the country,” the spokesperson explained.

“The benefit of wine on tap is not just the environmental impact, but also has positive benefits on the taste and freshness of the wine. Basically you can drop in to Dollard & Co, fill up a 500ml or 1-litre bottle from a selection of four wines, take home, enjoy and bring back and refill again.”

The company also offers a 30 cent discount on coffee and hot drinks when you bring your own cup.

“That’s just the start, we are hoping to continue to work towards being more sustainable and lowering our carbon footprint even further,” the spokesperson said.

“As a large business and a leader in the hospitality industry, it’s really important that we are conscious about our impact, and hopefully we can encourage others to follow suit.”

She added: “Our newer venues are being designed and built with all of this in mind. Back of house systems are built in to facilitate recycling and economic waste disposal. This means that the likes of Dollard & Co, The Stella Theatre, The Dean, and many other venues have full recycling systems back of house which makes a massive impact.”

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