A Newcastle based hospitality operator has strengthened its stance on sustainability by banning plastic straws and stirrers in its venues, in a bid to reduce waste.

Fresh Element, who operates Six and BALTIC Kitchen in BALTIC, Garden Kitchen in Eldon Garden and the café at The Sill hopes to stop an estimated 50,000 straws and stirrers going into landfill from its three venues each year.

Its initiative will reinforce the ‘Refuse a Straw’ campaign that urges bars and restaurants to stop handing out straws with every drink.

Single use plastic such as straws, end up in the sea each year, killing marine life and damaging ecosystems. The straws, which are thought to take up to 200 years to decompose, are one of the most common problems.

Peter Hunt, co-founder of Fresh Element, said: “One of the problems facing the catering industry has always been wastage.

“Sustainability runs through everything we do, so it made sense to look at how we could reduce the waste of things like straws.

“Our goal is to become the most sustainable hospitality group in the UK.  We’re not there yet, but we’re making small positive changes and improvements to how we work every day.”

Fresh Element, recently partnered with Too Good To Go, an app where people can buy restaurant food that would go to waste, for a discounted price.The company also sources its meat directly from local, organic and community farms that share its beliefs in sustainability.  It buys whole animals and does its own butchery, which minimises waste by utilising all cuts of meat for its menus. It also bakes its own bread and buys vegetables from local organic growers who use sustainable practices.

As one of the few members of the Sustainable Restaurant Association in the North East, Fresh Element continues to review every area of its operations to ensure its business practices are ethical, responsible and as sustainable as possible.

For more information about Fresh Element see www.freshelement.co.uk