Many restaurants purchase and use bleached napkins, take-out bags, and containers. The bleaching process depends heavily on the use of chlorine to render the products white, which imparts an image of purity, freshness, and cleanliness. However, chlorine bleaching is not necessary for product quality and in fact releases pollutants into the air and water. Alternative methods, such as oxygen, peroxide, and ozone bleaching systems, exist that do not use chlorine. It is also possible to buy unbleached paper, which has a more natural, brown appearance.
Purchasing unbleached (or chlorine-free) paper goods prevents the release of chlorine into the air and waterways. These alternative products are similarly priced and equally hygienic and functional as bleached goods.
Read more about the benefits of chlorine-free bleaching.
Challenge Participants Currently Adopting This Practice
Financing Options, Incentives, And Rebates
Examples of Boston Area Businesses Using Unbleached Napkins and Containers
A Small Sample of Providers
- Conserveatree: Listing of providers
- Green Restaurant Association: Find Products
- Environmental Paper Network
- American Forest and Paper Association
- Reach for Unbleached Foundation