It’s no secret that the hospitality sector is one of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution globally, and here at AZRAQ, we think all of those plastic utensils that they give away (you know, the ones that end up among the most common items found during costal clean ups) are pretty useless! 

In 2016, Worldcentric.org estimated that 40 billion plastic utensils were used every year in  the United States alone. The majority of these were thrown out after just one use and ended up in landfills and waterways… something must be done.

In order to highlight this problem, and hopefully get people to think twice about their usage, AZRAQ launched its #uselessutensils campaign in mid-2019 in partnership with Freedom Pizza, Lush Middle East, Carluccio’s and Beitfann Studio (Sustainable City).  With your help, we collected approximately 60kg and over 30,000 plastic utensils in six weeks!

These #uselessutensils were handed over to our partner artist Mariska Nell and our partner schools, who each made a showpiece, illustrating the impacts of utensils on our oceans.

The theme for the showpieces focussed on the following statement:  

“The hospitality sector is one of the biggest contributors to plastic pollution globally.”

We have awarded the prize winners as per the below:

People’s Choice Award First Prize Second Prize Third Prize

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HOW YOU GOT INVOLVED!

You provided your drawer-full of plastic utensils that you’ve collected and did’t quite know what to do with, or even just a single plastic spoon that you wanted to keep away from landfill, to your friendly Freedom Pizza Delivery driver, nearest Lush store at Carluccio’s or dropped them off to Beitfann Studio between the 5th May and 15th June and joined us on our Instagram page using the hashtag #uselessutensils

Additionally, you provided this letter (and still can) to food outlets providing unwanted #uselessutensils to determine if they will reconsider providing single use plastic utensils.

Finally, you followed us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram,

 


 

THANK YOU

THANK YOU to the following outlets who removed have removed #USELESSUTENSILS from their service since the announcement of this campaign in the region.

 

WHY DID WE START THIS CAMPAIGN DURING RAMADAN?

Ramadan is a beautiful and sacred time for Muslims, during which they fast and abstain, while showing gratitude and charity. Families gather for Suhoor, the last meal of the day before the daylight fast, and Iftar is an especially social affair when family and friends gather to break their sacred fast together and give praise to God for the food and water provided.

At Azraq, we promote healthy practices for both the body AND the environment, and #uselessutensils gives everybody the opportunity to practice abstinence during the holy month; abstinence from single-use plastics! Not just utensils either, but water bottles and plastic bags too, while showing gratitude for the natural offerings this planet provides.

We urge YOU, as well as the hospitality industry, to be mindful of the impacts of plastic utensils during Ramadan and beyond. We are grateful to those in the hospitality industry, such as our partner, Freedom Pizza, who are joining us in saying NO to single use plastics wherever possible and doing their part to make the industry more sustainable.

We wish everyone a happy and healthy Ramadan, whereby both our bodies and are planet are enriched.

THE FACTS.

  • Plastic utensils--along with CD cases and plastic foam--are typically made from a plastic called polystyrene which is made from a resin marked with a No. 6. 

  • Polystyrene is not biodegradable and can last for centuries.

  • Polystyrene is a thermoplastic, which means it can be melted and remolded repeatedly, so recycling it is possible.

  • Many counties and recycling centers, however, don't accept polystyrene because it costs too much for them to recycle it efficiently.



WHAT CAN YOU DO? REDUCE YOUR USE!

Since recycling polystyrene is difficult and reusing it is unsafe, the best option is to use less plastic cutlery. When you order takeout, ask your server or delivery driver to leave out the plastic knife, fork and spoon -- ensure you have your own!

Deliveroo in the UAE has a cutlery opt-out feature, so make sure to use this feature as much as possible. There really is no excuse for #uselessutensils

Bring reusable cutlery to office lunches or encourage your colleagues to use reusable cutlery at office meetings. When it comes to plastic cutlery, refusing and reducing is better than reusing or recycling.

SHOP THE RANGE OF AZRAQ REUSABLE PRODUCTS.

 
 

REFERENCES.

 * Sajila Saseendran “Pledge against plastic: It’s time we fight back,” Gulf News 8 April 2018

** Phil Haigh “Why are plastic straws so bad for the environment,” Metro News, 23 February 2018

*** Ellen MacArthur Foundation – The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics & Catalysing action, December 2017