A basket full of vegetables

Reducing plastics and improving packaging

A basket full of vegetables

As of October 1, 2019, businesses in Portland cannot automatically include plastic straws, stirrers, utensils or individually packaged condiments in a customer’s order for dine-in, drive-through, take-out or delivery. These items can only be provided upon customer request.
Elephants Delicatessen shares our customers’ concerns about reducing and removing plastic in our stores and catering business. We know it's important to our customers and it's equally important to us. To that end we are currently researching testing a variety of packaging and other ways to not just reduce our plastic usage, but to encourage reuse and better explain recycling opportunities to our customers.
We are taking a careful look at all of the places in our business where we can make more sustainable choices and enact improvements—from our cold and hot food to-go packages in our stores to the equipment our catering team uses to transport food to the utensils and serving ware we offer.
Here's what we are working on now:

  • We provide paper to-go packaging as an option at all Elephants locations.
  • We no longer provide plastic straws. We have swapped plastic straws for paper. But we do have plastic straws behind our counters if you need one—just ask.
  • We only provide plastic service ware (forks, knives, etc.) upon request. We continue to source non-plastic “to-go” flatware options.
  • We are encouraging reuse over recycling by bringing plates, mugs, and flatware into our locations--for dine-in customers or in-building customers at locations like Montgomery Park.
  • GO Box reusable container service (for entrees, soup, or coffee) is available at our Fox Tower location providing customers with a zero waste option for to-go purchases. We also have a container drop-off box at Fox Tower.
  • We offer reusable shopping bags at all of our stores.
  • We offer competitively priced reusable travel beverage tumblers at all of our locations.
  • We are offering low-cost (and quite fetching) stainless steel utensil packs (in fabric pouches that are easy to carry or keep at your desk) at all locations. These include flatware and a stainless steel straw. These are locally made.
  • Our catering team replaced Styrofoam food carriers with reusable and recyclable Mightylite insulated food containers..
  • As we roll out these changes, we are clarifying signage in our stores to better help our customers make informed recycling and composting choices.
  • We put together information for our customers about packaging materials and disposal opportunities, so people can make informed and responsible decisions with these packaging materials.
  • Source renewable, recycled, and reusable packaging options that have the least impact on our ecosystem. We are using a list of 20 factors to guide us in our quest for responsible packaging. Factors  like:
    Recycled Content
    Leaching (Plastic Products)
    Flourine Content (Paper Products)
    Temperature Safety
    Supply Chain Distance

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