4RTides is an Orange County based company that figured out how to wash steel straws for the hospitality industry. They provide a valuable solution for restaurants navigating safer ways to limit non-reusable tableware.
Although biodegradable straws like paper and hay are better than plastic straws, it’s still trash. This is a problem that 4RTides aims to solve. Instead of replacing one non-reusable straw with another, they developed a restaurant-grade system to sanitize reusable steel straws. Their system makes sipping better (no soggy straws!) and provides a waste-free solution to keep unneeded trash out of landfills and the ocean. Here’s how it works: Much like how restaurants sanitize silverware, the 4RTides system starts by soaking straws in a sanitizing solution. Next, straws are placed in a specially designed straw caddy that fits into a standard dishwasher rack. The caddy keeps the straws upright to maximize water flow while also providing an easy and attractive way to transport the straws to and from drink stations. Ocean Friendly Restaurants like Harley Laguna Beach have already implemented this system.
Protecting the ocean is part of 4RTides’ mission which is why they partner with 1% For The Planet. This organization certifies that every dollar contributed goes to a vetted, trusted environmental nonprofit like the Surfrider Foundation. The Surfrider Foundation South OC chapter is proud to partner with 4RTides to share this system with the Ocean Friendly Restaurants community.
Right now, 4RTides is more relevant than ever. In light of challenges due to COVID-19, restaurants are seeking solutions and guidance on how to serve customers safely. Are reusables safe? Influenced by lobbyist from the plastics industry, the CDC has released guidelines that encourage single-use disposables over reusable foodware. Rachael Coccia, Surfrider Foundation’s Plastic Pollution Manager, addresses this issue in a recent article titled “How to Reopen Restaurants While Safely Using Reusables.”
She explains that while health experts believe that COVID-19 can be transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces, “reusable foodware, such as ceramic dishware and metal utensils, that are properly cleaned and sanitized are just as safe as single-use foodware. In fact, reusable foodware is perhaps capable of being even cleaner than disposable products, which are not often sanitized prior to consumer use.”
Without a doubt, COVID-19 has changed the way we eat.
“This pandemic has revealed the need for a more modern, universal reuse system to be put into place to ensure our shopping, dining and takeout experiences put both us and the environment at minimal risk,” Coccia notes.
Comprehensive systems like 4RTides is one solution to keep diners safe and oceans clean.