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Australia’s first zero carbon streetfood kitchen atiyah has introduced a new initiative to help food and drink suppliers replace plastic packaging with eco-friendly alternatives.

To achieve this plastic free goal, co-founder and managing director, Ben Armstrong, helped source and provide partial funding to suppliers who were willing to distribute compostable or closed-loop replacements to his Lebanese eco-smart off-grid kitchen at Federation Square in Melbourne.

A third-party assessment and waste audit revealed that an estimated 12.5kg per month of plastic waste was being created from wholefood and drink suppliers, while a staggering statistic shows that 91 per cent of all plastic ends up in landfill or flushes into the environment.

atiyah aims to remove approximately 150kg per year in plastic from its kitchen.
atiyah aims to remove approximately 150kg per year in plastic from its kitchen.

By making this switch, atiyah will remove approximately 150kg per year in plastic.

“We needed to find a solution, and that came in the way of working with our existing suppliers to help establish how we could look at eco-friendly solutions to transport food and drinks, all while maintaining health regulations and standards," said Armstrong.

“Our hope is that more businesses across the sector will start having conversations with their own suppliers, to look at their packaging and processes to start making incremental changes for the better.”

One of the suppliers making the switch is Melbourne-based food wholesaler and cheese supplier, the Cottage Cheese Farm, who is now looking at changing its entire range to plastic free packaging.

“Ben's commitment to sustainable packaging has greatly impressed us at Cottage Cheese Farm and, as a result of his advocacy, we have been working with various packaging suppliers to see if we can adopt biodegradable wrap to our Akkawi cheese and wider product range," said Domenic Cristiano, general manager, Cottage Cheese Farm.

Naheda’s Choice is another supplier who has embarked on a closed-loop approach, supplying pails that are then returned and reused, providing no wastage for atiyah.

“We have been supplying our dips to atiyah since November 2020. Ben’s leadership and approach to sustainable hospitality influenced the team at Naheda’s Choice to embark on a closed loop approach for atiyah and other clients to contribute towards no waste,” said founder, Naheda Hassan.

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