New Guide Helps Foodservice Operators in Fight to End Littering in America

by | Oct 29, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 29, 2015) — In an effort to help foodservice operators address litter and littering behavior in and around restaurants and other foodservice establishments, the Foodservice Packaging Institute, Keep America Beautiful and the National Restaurant Association have partnered to produce “Being a Good Neighbor: A Guide to Reducing and Managing Litter.”

The 10-page guide has a handy audit form to measure litter around restaurants, as well as a foodservice operator checklist to identify potential litter locations inside and outside the establishment. There are also practical tips to help operators reduce and ultimately eliminate litter in and near their establishments. Recommendations for recycling bin and trash receptacle placements make proper disposal of packaging items convenient and accessible. And well-known restaurateurs provide techniques to engage employees, customers and the greater community.

“Litter around restaurants can pose a significant challenge, carrying a burdensome business cost and diminishing the customer experience,” said Jennifer M. Jehn, President & CEO, Keep America Beautiful.  “Keep America Beautiful is pleased to bring our knowledge and experience about littering behavior, litter prevention and recycling in working with the Foodservice Packaging Institute and National Restaurant Association in producing this important – and relevant – guide.”

Foodservice packaging, defined as single-use cups, containers, wraps, boxes, bags, lids, cutlery, straws, stirrers and more, is made from a variety of materials, including paper, plastic and aluminum. It allows restaurant operators to serve guests in a sanitary, convenient and economical manner. But when the packaging isn’t disposed of properly, the ensuing litter can have harmful effects on roads and waterways, with consequences for the economy and public health.

How much does restaurant packaging contribute to the litter stream? Keep America Beautiful reported in its landmark 2009 “Litter in America” study, conducted by Action Research, that fast-food packaging – the largest component of all foodservice packaging – represents approximately 5 percent of all litter in the United States. Although only a small portion of the total litter stream, it is one of the more visible parts.

“We recognize that sometimes foodservice packaging is littered. But we also know that the packaging itself is not the problem,” said FPI President Lynn Dyer. “Collaborating with Keep America Beautiful and the National Restaurant Association helped us to identify real solutions to mitigate litter and share them with our partners in the supply chain.”

“In addition to its harmful environmental impact, littering can impose real costs on business operations,” said Laura Abshire, Director of Sustainability and Government Affairs at the National Restaurant Association. “This guide contains practical information and tips that can help restaurateurs reduce litter in and around their restaurants, benefitting both the environment and their bottom lines.”

To get a copy of the “Being a Good Neighbor: A Guide to Reducing and Managing Litter” guide, go to

About the Foodservice Packaging Institute
Founded in 1933, the Foodservice Packaging Institute is the leading authority for the North American foodservice packaging industry. FPI encourages the responsible use of all foodservice packaging through promotion of its benefits and members’ products. Serving as the voice of the industry to educate and influence stakeholders, FPI provides a legal forum to address the challenges and opportunities facing the foodservice packaging industry. Members include foodservice packaging manufacturers and their raw material and machinery suppliers, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, distributors and nearly 50 school districts, colleges and universities. Learn more at, read our blog, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn and like us on Facebook.

About Keep America Beautiful
At Keep America Beautiful, we want to ensure that beauty is our lasting signature. A leading national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. We envision a country where every community is a clean, green, and beautiful place to live. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful provides the expertise, programs and resources to help people end littering in America, increase recycling in America, and beautify America’s communities. The organization is driven by the work and passion of more than 600 community-based Keep America Beautiful affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the support of corporate partners, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals.

About the National Restaurant Association
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which is composed of 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 14 million employees. The NRA represents the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocates on its behalf. For more information, visit