When you're trying to get a grip on sustainability practices and plastics use, asking users to report what restaurants are doing is a solid strategy.
— Kristen Hawley
Noise level, price point… plastics?
As part of a new initiative, Yelp will ask reviewers if restaurants are eco-friendly, it announced Monday. The company wants to understand and quantify a restaurant’s environmental friendliness.
To start, Yelp said it plans to use the data internally, to better understand how to assess the sustainability of a restaurant’s practices. Yelp’s chosen sustainability markers reflect current industry trends. Options for reviewers to select include: no plastic straws, no plastic utensils, no plastic bags, reusable cup discount, and compostable containers.
“As one of the most recognized platforms for providing information about local businesses, we realize that we’re in the unique position to help surface information about sustainable restaurant practices and encourage environmentally conscious habits among consumers and restaurant owners,” a Yelp representative said via email.
The company said it hopes to surface this information to consumers within the next year.
Many restaurants, from independent operations to large-scale chains have recently committed to reducing single-use plastics. Starbucks plans to completely eliminate plastic straws in all of its stores by the end of next year. It also introduced so-called greener packaging in select markets to help eliminate waste. Other chains from Shake Shack to Red Lobster have also committed to cutting plastic straws from their stores in the U.S. And abroad, McDonald’s U.K. locations have also switched to paper straws.
Additionally, local legislation continues to push these initiatives forward. Plastic straw bans have already gone into effect in Seattle and Washington, D.C., a similar ban will begin in San Francisco in July. New York state will soon join California as the second state to ban plastic bags from stores.
Yelp said it plans to work in tandem with several local and national organizations to ensure the program is “informed and scalable in the future.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Skift is embarking on a new beat to cover plastics — Travel Beyond Plastics — looking at the growing extent of the problem and how companies and travelers plan to reduce their reliance on plastics.