Chicago-area Restaurants Tackle Plastic Pollution
Shedd Aquarium will work with restaurants and the food service industry to make a measurable reduction in single-use plastics in Chicago communities.
Type of Project: Prevention
Region: Great Lakes
Project Dates: September 2020 - August 2022
Who is involved?
With support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Shedd Aquarium will work with restaurants and the food-service industry to make a measurable reduction in single-use plastics in Chicago communities. Shedd Aquarium will create educational, capacity building, and training resources to encourage and assist business in changing their practices and develop a certification program for restaurants wishing to participate in the program.
What is the project and why is it important?
Plastic items are the most common type of marine debris in our ocean, waterways, and Great Lakes, and many come from the food service sector. During the Ocean Conservancy’s 2018 International Coastal Cleanup, among the ten top items found around the world were food wrappers, straws, single-use cutlery, and other plastic bags, lids, and cups and plates. Shedd Aquarium will work with businesses in disinvested Chicago communities to build the capacity and skills needed to make a measurable reduction of single-use plastics used in food service industry operations. Over two years, Shedd Aquarium will develop and launch a new tiered certification program to work hand-in-hand with businesses to achieve this goal. Shedd Aquarium will create educational, capacity building, and training resources to encourage and assist businesses in changing their practices and to broadly educate their staff and customers, a model that has been used to great success in the past.
Shedd Aquarium will prioritize new collaborations with minority and women-owned businesses, small businesses, and others in disinvested communities that face greater challenges in adopting new sustainability efforts. This will include leveraging and growing existing partnerships with grassroots community organizations in Chicago’s south and west sides that focus on sustainability. Through this project, Shedd Aquarium will help to shift broader societal and cultural norms away from single-use plastic while advancing innovative solutions.
For more information about this project, visit the Marine Debris Program Clearinghouse.