Illinois Foam Ban: A Game Changer for the Restaurant Industry

Heads up: the landscape of the Illinois restaurant industry may soon see a significant shift. A proposed law, currently under consideration in the Illinois Senate, aims to prohibit the use of plastic foam containers and utensils starting as early as 2024 for restaurants, and 2025 for certain other establishments such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and not-for-profit organizations. This proposal, if passed, is designed to reduce plastic waste and promote a more sustainable environment.

While the law has not yet been enacted, it has passed in the Illinois House of Representatives. Sunshine Supply encourages the restaurants and distributors in our network to plan ahead and begin phasing out foam (Styrofoam) containers and utensils.

Landmark Move: Illinois House of Representatives Advances Legislation to Ban Single-Use Polystyrene Foam Foodware

In a significant step towards mitigating plastic pollution, the Illinois House of Representatives has given the green light to a bill proposing the elimination of single-use polystyrene foam foodware. This initiative, slated to commence in January 2024, aims to reduce the staggering 20 million pounds of plastic debris that pollutes the Great Lakes each year.

The impending ban on foam foodware is expected to bolster recycling efforts and significantly cut down contamination within the waste stream. The legislation has garnered widespread support, with a coalition of over 35 organizations backing the move.

This bill, known as Illinois House Bill 2376, is accompanied by a similar proposal in the Illinois Senate. However, it is important to note that the bill is not law yet. As of the last update, after being engrossed on March 21, 2023, it was re-referred to the Senate Assignments Committee on May 5, 2023.

Given the dynamic nature of legislative proceedings, this information could change. Therefore, for the most current status of the bill, we recommend monitoring its progress through official legislative tracking services.

Understanding the Implications of Illinois House Bill 2376

The implications of this Styrofoam ban extend beyond just the restaurant industry. Wholesale retailers, manufacturers, and even consumers will feel the ripple effects of this change. For restaurants, this means altering supply chains and rethinking packaging strategies. For manufacturers like Sunshine Supply, it means innovating and adapting to meet the new needs of our customers.

  • Restaurants: With the impending ban, restaurants need to source alternatives to plastic foam containers and utensils. This change could involve higher costs, at least in the short term, as eco-friendly options often come with a higher price tag.
  • Wholesale Retailers: Retailers who supply restaurants with these items will need to adjust their inventories, phasing out foam products and bringing in more sustainable options.
  • Consumers: The general public will also need to adjust to this change. They may need to pay slightly more for their take-out meals, but they can take comfort in knowing that their choices are better for the environment.

The Role of Sunshine Supply: Foam-Free Restaurant Containers

With these changes on the horizon, we at Sunshine Supply understand that our role as a manufacturer and wholesaler of BPA-free reusable and recyclable plastic food containers is more important than ever. We’re set to navigate these changes, ready to cater to the new needs of our customers.

Our manufacturing processes already align with this ban’s parameters, producing BPA-free, recyclable plastic food containers. In the face of these legislative changes, we pledge to continue serving our customers with our plastic products while maintaining the quality and dedication they’ve come to expect from us. We’re here to lend support during this transition, making it as smooth as possible.

Choose Sunshine Supply for your restaurant packaging needs, and let’s make a positive change together. Contact us today.

The Art of Presentation: Enhancing Food Delivery Aesthetics with Premium Containers

In an increasingly competitive restaurant and food delivery landscape, first impressions are the game-changer. In a world where consumers feast with their eyes first, scanning through online photos before hitting the “order now” button, it’s not just about tantalizing taste buds but also about serving a visual banquet. This is where the role of premium food containers steps into the limelight, transforming ordinary meals into delectable culinary experiences even before the first bite.

Sunshine Supply, a leading plastic container manufacturer and wholesaler, offers innovative containers designed to showcase meals beautifully for delivery and takeout.

Premium Food Packaging for Optimal Presentation

Today’s discerning diners expect delicious food to also look mouthwatering when delivered. Luckily, advanced plastic food containers allow restaurants to showcase culinary creations beautifully. Investing in attractive, BPA-free plastic food containers offers tremendous benefits for restaurants seeking to elevate their takeout and delivery offerings. Consider the following:

  • Visually appealing containers with transparent lids for restaurants can showcase food in an appetizing way that entices customers. Unlike paper boxes or non-transparent containers, clear BPA-free plastic provides a tempting view of menu items like sushi, poke bowls, and noodle soups.
  • Plastic containers with vibrant colors and sleek shapes can make meals pop.
  • BPA-free plastic ensures food safety, while ventilated container lids with anti-fog technology prevent sauces and broths from leaking and maintain ingredients’ integrity.

Beautiful presentation reinforces a restaurant’s brand image and highlights the care put into every dish. For an affordable way to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, BPA-free plastic containers are an innovative solution. With premium takeout packaging, restaurants can deliver excitement along with every order.

Different Types of Plastic Containers for Restaurants

Plastic containers for restaurants come in a variety of styles and types. Here are a few that can help showcase your food in an optimal way:

Anti-Fog Containers

These ventilated containers have micro-hole technology in the lid to prevent interior fogging. Food remains clearly visible, so customers get the full visual impact of your meticulously crafted dishes. The anti-fog lids also keep contents from getting soggy during transit.

Japanese Containers

With their elegant, shallow design, these containers are ideal for highlighting ingredients and showcasing layered dishes. The see-through lids provide a tempting peek at what’s inside. Japanese containers are perfect for sushi, poke bowls, salads, and other visually striking meals.

Divided Bowls

Keep broths, sauces, and noodles separated with divided bowls. The compartments maintain the distinct elements of noodle soups and other multi-component dishes. Customers receive their food looking as pristine as when it left your kitchen.

Elevate Your Culinary Creations with Sunshine Supply’s Premium Packaging Solutions

With Sunshine Supply’s innovative containers, you can deliver mouthwatering meals that look as scrumptious as they taste. Premium packaging from Sunshine Supply reinforces your brand’s commitment to quality while whetting customers’ appetites. Beautiful food presentation means happy diners, great reviews, and repeat business.

Contact Sunshine Supply today to enhance your delivery and takeout offerings with containers that showcase your culinary creations.

Trends in Reusable Plastic for Restaurants: Sustainability Meets Dining

In the past decade, sustainability has transitioned from a trending buzzword to an integral component of businesses across industries. The restaurant industry is no exception. With an increasing awareness of their environmental footprint, more and more restaurants are embracing sustainable measures—with a notable emphasis on reusable plastics.

Making Strides Towards Sustainability in Restaurants

Prominent players in the food industry have begun implementing innovative initiatives to reduce single-use plastic waste. One such example is Just Salad, a leading US-based fast-casual chain known for its healthy offerings. In a groundbreaking move, Just Salad introduced reusable bowls for customers on pick-up orders or deliveries. This initiative encourages customers to participate actively in contributing towards reducing plastic waste.

A similar approach can be seen with Starbucks, the global coffee giant. It offers beverages in reusable cups, incentivizing customers with discounts when they bring the cup back for refill.

Embracing Change: Stakeholder Acceptance and Impact of Reusable Plastics

These innovative changes have been widely embraced by customers who are increasingly conscious about their ecological impact. Not only do these reusable plastic options align with their environmental values, but they also offer tangible benefits like cost savings and loyalty rewards.

For restaurants too, this shift towards reusability has proven worthwhile. Besides enhancing brand identity and customer loyalty, these initiatives help cut down on operational costs related to disposable packaging.

Sunshine Supply: Promoting Reusability & Recyclability

While not identical to the above use-cases, Sunshine Supply’s approach to sustainability resonates with this broader trend. We provide restaurants with high-quality plastic containers that customers can enjoy for multiple uses and eventual recycling.

All our containers are BPA-free, so you can assure your customers that while they are making an environmentally friendly choice, their health won’t be compromised either. It’s crucial here to underline that while we deeply appreciate and acknowledge the sustainability-focused trends within restaurants like Just Salad or Starbucks, our products have distinct features and capabilities catering to different needs within the restaurant business.

Uses for Reusable Plastic Containers From Restaurants

Reusable plastic restaurant containers come in many forms. Some specialty containers can be made to be sturdier and “permanent,” such as a reusable coffee cup that can be brought back to the restaurant. But the majority of plastic restaurant containers, like the ones we manufacture, are designed to be lightweight. These recyclable containers are used for takeout and delivery food, but are not brought back to the restaurant for refills.

However, your customers can reuse these containers at home, and these lightweight containers have become quite popular due to their multiple uses. Here are several ways you can reuse a plastic restaurant container:

  • Home Organization: You can use the reusable containers to organize small items like buttons, sewing supplies, or crafting materials.
  • Gardening: Reusable restaurant containers can serve as mini greenhouses for starting seeds or as planters for small houseplants.
  • Packing Lunch: You can save money and reduce waste by packing your lunch in these reusable containers.
  • Meal Prepping: BPA-freereusable containers are perfect for storing prepped ingredients or leftovers in the fridge.
  • Freezer Storage: You can use the containers for freezing homemade broths, soups, sauces, and more. Remember to leave some space to account for expansion when liquids freeze!
  • Art Projects: Children can use the restaurant containers as paint trays or to store craft supplies.
  • Travel Containers: Reusable restaurant containers are perfect for storing toiletries or medications when travelling.
  • Giving Away Leftovers/Baked Goods: If you often give away baked goods or send guests home with leftovers, the reusable containers mean you don’t have to worry about getting your dish back.
  • Hardware Storage: The reusable containers are great for sorting screws, bolts, and other small hardware items in your garage.

Our containers are BPA-free and can be used to safely reheat restaurant food in the microwave—but they’re also capable of being used for any of the above purposes!

For Reusable Plastic Containers, Choose Sunshine Supply

At Sunshine Supply, we understand the demanding needs of the restaurant industry. Our reusable plastic containers are designed to enhance your operation’s efficiency while supporting sustainability. Whether it’s for food storage or takeaway meals, our containers offer unparalleled durability and safety. We know that your restaurant’s reputation depends on delivering quality food and service to your customers. That’s why every container we supply is made to withstand rigorous use without compromising on hygiene or aesthetics. Choose Sunshine Supply and let us be a part of your commitment towards creating a greener, more sustainable future for the restaurant industry.

Many businesses are finding different ways to be sustainable and environmentally friendly. At Sunshine Supply, all our products are BPA-free and our containers are created with the intent to be reused and recycled. Visit our website to learn more.

PFAS Banned in New York—What Are the Alternatives?

Restaurant customers want food containers to be safe and free of harmful plastics, and governments are now leading the way by banning the worst plastic offenders.
You may have heard of BPA…but have you heard of PFAS?

What Are PFAS?

PFAS are harmful chemicals found in plastics and some other synthetic materials. PFAS stands for “per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.” PFAS pose a significant threat to human health and the greater environment. PFAS are not natural, but a class of human-made highly fluorinated chemicals that have been in use since the 1940s in various commercial products, including food packaging.

These chemicals have been used in commonly used consumer products such as nonstick cookware, stain-resistant carpets, fabric protectors, and waterproof clothing. They have also been used in some food packaging materials to provide grease and water resistance.

Food packaging materials containing PFAS include takeout containers, pizza boxes, and fast-food wrappers. These materials can release PFAS into food, leading to potentially harmful human exposure.

What’s the Problem with PFAS?

In short, PFAS are bad news. Recent studies have found that PFAS are highly persistent—meaning, they don’t degrade easily—and can accumulate in humans’ and animals’ bodies, leading to various health issues. According to recent studies, the most commonly used PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), have been linked to various negative health effects. PFAS exposure can cause developmental delays, liver damage, thyroid disease, immune system dysfunction, and increased risk of certain cancers. PFAS can also contaminate food and drinking water.

Additionally, when PFAS in food packaging materials contaminate soil and water bodies, they lead to lasting environmental damage.

What Is the Reasoning Behind New York’s PFAS Ban?

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) banned PFAS in food packaging materials due to their potential negative impact on human health and the environment. As mentioned above, PFAS are considered a persistent environmental contaminant, meaning they remain in the environment for a long time and build up in plants, animals, and humans. There is no easy way to clean this mess up.

To address this significant health, environmental, and public safety concern, New York has banned PFAS in food packaging materials. Effective December 31, 2022, the state prohibits food service establishments, manufacturers, and stores from selling, distributing, or possessing food packaging that contains PFAS.

By banning the use of PFAS in food packaging materials, the state aims to protect public health and reduce environmental contamination.

Are There Recommended Alternatives to PFAS?

Yes, there are several recommended alternatives to PFAS-containing food packaging materials. Some alternatives are plant-based or biodegradable food packaging, which is made from materials derived from plant fibers, such as corn, sugar cane, or bamboo.

These biodegradable food packaging materials are safe for human health and provide excellent grease and moisture resistance. In addition, they are easily biodegradable and can decompose quickly, reducing the overall environmental impact.

Other alternatives to PFAS-containing food packaging materials include polypropylene and talc. These materials have been found to be safe for human health and the environment and provide excellent food protection and durability.

Looking for Non-PFAS Food Containers? Sunshine Supply Can Help

Sunshine Supply is an exemplary supplier of food packaging materials that do not contain PFAS. We use alternatives such as polypropylene and talc to manufacture our PFAS-free and BPA-free food packaging materials. These non-PFAS materials have been extensively evaluated and found to be safe for human health and the environment.

How do these materials help protect food?

  • Polypropylene is a type of plastic that is known for its strength and durability. It is also heat-resistant, making it ideal for use in microwave ovens.
  • Talc is a mineral that is commonly used in food packaging materials to provide additional stiffness and reduce fat migration.

Sunshine’s non-PFAS food packaging materials are safe and environmentally friendly, making them a suitable alternative to PFAS-containing food packaging materials.

Dedicated to our customers’ success, Sunshine Supply is committed to providing exceptional customer service. Our team of experts is always available to answer any questions you may have regarding PFAS-free food containers. We understand that choosing the right restaurant product can be challenging, which is why we take the time to guide you through the selection process to ensure you make an informed decision for your business.

Contact us today to learn more about our PFAS-free food containers and other sustainable restaurant products.

Tips for New Restaurant Owners

Owning a restaurant can be a rewarding venture, but it can also be a daunting task. Don’t freak out, though! You can do it!

As a new restaurant owner, there are several tips you should keep in mind to ensure your business’s success. Here are a few:

1. Create a Business Plan for Your Restaurant

The first and most important step for any new restaurant owner is to create a detailed business plan. This plan should include clear objectives, realistic goals, and a strategy for how to achieve them. A business plan for your new restaurant is essential in helping you stay focused and on track as you begin your venture. It also serves as a blueprint for investors, banks, and other potential partners, so having a comprehensive business plan is essential to starting your restaurant or bar on the right foot.

2. Manage Your Finances and Keep Costs in Check

Managing your finances is another important aspect of running a successful restaurant. You should keep a close eye on your spending and track all expenses, and make sure to budget and forecast for the future. Having a good handle on your finances will help you stay out of debt and make sure your business is running smoothly. One way to reduce costs is to work with a local distributor for important restaurant supplies.

3. Build Strong Relationships with Vendors

Having strong relationships with vendors and suppliers is another tip for a successful restaurant. Establishing a good relationship with your suppliers will help you get the best prices on ingredients and non-food supplies while ensuring that your orders are fulfilled on time and accurately. (Here at Sunshine Supply, we specialize in partnering with restaurants to get them the highest-quality supplies that also make budgets happy!)

4. Stay Up to Date on Trends, Especially Take Out/Home Delivery

Additionally, you should make sure you’re up to date on industry trends, such as attending conferences and other networking events. Taking advantage of the latest technology is also essential. Utilizing digital platforms and other tech solutions can help you streamline your restaurant operations and make sure you’re running an efficient business.

For example, take-out and home delivery of food is still a popular option for customers and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Make sure your restaurant is capable and ready to support your eat-at-home customers with quality food containers.

5. Plan to Keep Your Restaurant Customers Happy

Finally, creating an inviting atmosphere for customers is paramount. You want to make sure your restaurant is warm and welcoming so that customers will feel comfortable and want to return. Consider the design, layout, and atmosphere of your restaurant and make sure it’s inviting and welcoming to customers. For example, tablecloths are a renewable and cost-effective way to add a touch of class to any restaurant interior.

Make Your Restaurant a Success!

By following these tips and tricks, you can set yourself up for success as a new restaurant owner. Having a solid business plan, managing your finances, establishing relationships with vendors, keeping up to date with industry trends, and creating an inviting atmosphere for customers will ensure that your restaurant is successful. With the right mindset and resources, owning a restaurant can be a rewarding experience and a great way to make a living.

Sunshine Supply may have exactly what you are looking for with restaurant supplies. Visit us online and request a quote today.

OEM: What Is It and How Does It Benefit Restaurants?

OEMs have been around for a while, and their importance in the restaurant industry has grown significantly over the years. As the restaurant industry has become increasingly competitive, restaurants have had to find ways to reduce costs while still providing quality products and services to their customers. OEMs provide an excellent solution to this problem, as they can offer restaurants a reliable source of quality parts and supplies at a reduced cost.  

What Is an OEM? 

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer, and it is a type of business that manufactures parts, supplies, or finished products for other companies for their business operations or to use in their own products. 

For example, an automobile manufacturer may source engine parts from an OEM. In the restaurant business, OEMs can provide restaurants with quality equipment or supplies at a lower cost than if they were to purchase these items directly from the original manufacturer. 

How Can an OEM Save Costs for Restaurants? 

OEMs provide an invaluable service to other businesses, especially those in the food service industry. By providing cost-effective and reliable components or supplies, OEMs can help restaurants keep their overhead costs low while still serving up quality meals to their customers. 

Additionally, by having access to a wider range of parts and custom supplies, restaurants can ensure that they always have the right components and supplies on hand, which can help reduce costly downtime due to faulty equipment or missing inventory. Furthermore, when it comes to equipment, buying from an OEM can also save restaurants money in the long run since they are not paying for expensive repairs and maintenance that would otherwise be necessary. 

Ultimately, OEMs provide restaurants with a great way to save on costs and ensure their customers enjoy high-quality meals. By sourcing quality parts and products from an OEM, restaurants can get the supplies and equipment they need to provide delicious meals at a fraction of the cost.  

Sunshine Supply Company: Your Restaurant OEM for Supplies 

Sunshine Supply Company started out as a small business selling janitorial products to restaurants in 1997. Seeing the problems restaurants were facing with their takeout containers, such as messes from food spillage and poor insulation or condensation, Sunshine decided to invest in a manufacturing company. After buying out all other investors, our team of experienced and knowledgeable professionals took over and started crafting patented products to meet our customers’ needs. 

Today, Sunshine Supply is a leading OEM that creates custom food containers, supplies, and products to help restaurants save money. Sunshine Supply is dedicated to helping restaurants become more efficient and cost-effective. We offer a variety of custom food containers, supplies, and products that are made with the highest-quality materials to help restaurants save time, money, and resources while providing customers with a great dining experience.

At Sunshine Supply, we believe in providing top-notch customer service. We have knowledgeable staff on hand who can answer any questions you may have about our products and services. If you need help deciding which restaurant product is right for your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! 

Contact us for more information about OEM services for restaurants. 


Navigating Regulations on Plastic Container Disposal for Restaurants

Consumers are demanding more takeout and delivery options for restaurants. While this provides new opportunities and revenue sources for food providers, it also raises some questions, the first being which containers to use?

For many of our customers, rapid changes have been needed as local and state municipalities have banned certain types of carry-out and food-storage containers. Styrofoam is one such material on the chopping block.

Why Is Styrofoam Being Banned in Restaurants?

Styrofoam is being banned in restaurants because it is not biodegradable or recyclable, and it can release harmful chemicals into food when heated. Additionally, Styrofoam breaks down into small particles that are often ingested by animals and birds, leading to health problems. Finally, Styrofoam can take hundreds of years to decompose, contributing significantly to environmental pollution.

Many restaurants are switching to plastic containers, but they can’t just be any old plastic, they need to be recyclable.

Why Plastic Containers in Restaurants Need to Be Recyclable

Plastic containers used in restaurants need to be recyclable for a variety of reasons. First, using recyclable plastic containers helps reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and pollutes the environment. Second, many customers are increasingly concerned about their environmental impact, and the use of recyclable plastics allows restaurants to appeal to these customers.

Finally, governments are introducing stricter regulations around single-use plastics. Having recyclable containers can help restaurants comply with these laws.

How to Navigate Regulations on Plastic Container Disposal

There are two considerations when it comes to plastic containers used by restaurants:

1) Plastic containers used at the restaurant and disposed of by the restaurant.

2) Plastic containers provided by the restaurant and given to customers for takeout or home delivery. These containers will be disposed of by the customer.

Navigating regulations on plastic container disposal for restaurants can be a daunting task. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the recycling of plastics, but laws may vary by region in the U.S.

It is important to research local and federal laws to ensure your restaurant is disposing of its plastic containers correctly. Restaurants should also check with their local waste management company or other organizations to determine what type of plastic containers can be recycled in their area.

Additionally, restaurants should be aware of any applicable taxes or fees that may apply when disposing of plastic containers, as some states have imposed additional restrictions on the disposal of certain materials such as plastics.

Furthermore, your business may be banned from providing certain types of takeout containers, disposable coffee cups, and storage units for your customers. Styrofoam, if it hasn’t been banned in your area already, is likely to be on the chopping block soon. Your restaurant cannot use just any old container for customers; it must be safe and FDA-approved, and ideally easily recyclable.

By understanding the local and federal regulations regarding plastic container disposal for restaurants, businesses can ensure they remain compliant with all relevant rules and regulations.

Need Recyclable Plastic Containers for Your Restaurant?

Sunshine Supply Company offers a wide selection of BPA-free plastic containers for restaurants that meet FDA standards. Our recyclable containers are made from organic plastics, so there is no risk of BPA leaking into the food if exposed to extreme temperatures, acidity, alkalinity, or frequent washing. Enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that your food is safe from BPA contamination when stored in our containers, which are fully recyclable.

Visit our website to learn more about our FDA-approved and recyclable BPA-free plastic containers.

What Does BPA Mean and Why Go BPA-Free with Restaurant Containers?

Are you looking for restaurant containers that are safe and healthy for you and your customers to use? Then it is important to look for the ones labeled “BPA-free.” But what does this label mean?  

What Is BPA? 

BPA stands for Bisphenol A, a chemical compound used in a variety of consumer products and food containers. Unfortunately, it has been linked to a variety of serious health conditions, such as cancer, endocrine disorders, and reproductive issues. Therefore, it is crucial to avoid BPA-containing products and seek out those that are labeled “BPA-free.”  

While BPA-free products claim to be completely safe from BPA-containing compounds, it is important to understand that not all BPA-free products are made from materials that are entirely safe. Some of these products may contain a substitute compound that is closely related to BPA, such as Bisphenol-S (BPS) or Bisphenol-F (PSF). To ensure product safety and avoid potential health risks, it is important to seek out products that have been verified as food-safe.  

Why Choose BPA-Free Restaurant Containers? 

Consumers are increasingly conscious of the potential risks associated with BPA (Bisphenol A). They are becoming more aware of the possible dangers that exposure to BPA can have on their health and are taking active steps to avoid products that contain this chemical.  

Ultimately, you want your customers to feel safe and secure when eating in your restaurant or getting takeout. By choosing BPA-free restaurant containers, you can offer your customers a product that is safe and worry-free. Not only will BPA-free containers help ensure health and safety, but using non-toxic products also creates a more enjoyable dining experience. So, make sure to always look for products that specifically state they are “BPA-free” and have been verified as food-safe before purchasing. 

BPA-Free Plastic Food Storage Containers for Restaurants 

The good news is that there are plenty of BPA-free restaurant containers available on the market today.  

Restaurants can opt for BPA-free containers made with polypropylene (PP) plastic, which is known for its ability to preserve freshness and taste while delaying evaporation and dehydration. This type of plastic is also resistant to fats and organic solvents. 

These containers are also temperature-resistant, from ultra-cold to boiling temperatures, and can be microwaved and reheated. 

Additionally, PP containers are lightweight and durable, making them a great choice for restaurants looking for cost-saving, eco-friendly materials. They are also easy to clean, making them a great choice for restaurants that need to meet health and safety standards. Because PP is a recyclable material, it is also a great choice for restaurants looking to reduce their environmental impact.  

Need BPA-Free Plastic Takeout Containers? 

At Sunshine Supply Company, all of our food containers are completely free of BPA (Bisphenol A). We strongly recommend that, if you own a restaurant, you only stock items that are BPA-free. This will ensure that your customers can safely enjoy their meals.  

Sunshine Supply Company offers a number of BPA-free food containers to choose from, from anti-fog containers to hinge containers. Additionally, all of our BPA-free restaurant containers are 100% recyclable. Talk to our team or one of our authorized local distributors to find out which BPA-free containers are right for your restaurant. 

Visit our website and learn more about our BPA-free offerings. 

Foam Products Are Being Banned: Why Plastic Is the Alternative for Restaurants and Stores

The ubiquitous Styrofoam coffee cup will be no more. Foam products are on the way out, and recyclable plastics have replaced them as a better alternative.

To combat rising Styrofoam levels in oceans and landfills, many cities and states have begun implementing bans on Styrofoam containers and other single-use plastics to encourage the use of environmentally friendly packaging.

Colorado, Maine, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Washington D.C. are leading the charge, forbidding restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores from using most Styrofoam products—such as cups, bowls, plates, and other containers—or risk facing fines of up to $250.

Disposable food containers are essential for all food carryout and delivery services, so it is crucial to stay up to date on the current and impending bans on Styrofoam containers.

Why Switch from Foam Products to Plastic?

Styrofoam is extremely harmful to the environment for three key reasons:

First, the Styrofoam manufacturing process uses hydrocarbons, which are released into the air and produce a hazardous pollutant that can impair lung function and lead to respiratory illness.

Additionally, it is estimated that Styrofoam takes up about 30% of landfills and creates a large amount of waste in the country—in fact, Americans throw away 25 billion Styrofoam cups a year! While in landfills, expanded polystyrene releases harmful chemicals into the environment that, when consumed by animals or humans, can pass along carcinogens and contaminants.

Lastly, although Styrofoam containers are usually marked as recyclable, most recycling centers across the country do not accept these products.

It is extremely difficult to recycle Styrofoam materials due to the chemical process used to produce it. Because the polymer polystyrene beads have already expanded during production, they cannot simply be repurposed or remolded, as there is no technology or system in place to support this process.

Plastic Container Alternatives to Foam Products

In contrast to Styrofoam, plastic food packaging is not only a more environmentally friendly alternative, but also helps to ensure product freshness and quality in transport, prolongs shelf life, and meets FDA regulations. Some plastics are stronger and chemically resistant, making them better for packaging, while others are safe and high-temperature resistant, making them more suited for direct contact with food.

There are numerous alternatives to using Styrofoam products, including paper products and a variety of plastics, including Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Polyetheretherketone (PEEK), Acrylic (PMMA), and Polypropylene (PP).

PP is one of the most common and environmentally friendly plastics, and is the plastic most often used in our food packaging products. Sunshine Supply offers a full line of foam-free plastic container products that restaurants, stores, and local drink shops can use for customers.

Why is PP the best plastic container choice?

There are many benefits to using PP for your business’s food containers. The material boasts a high melting point and is lightweight and moldable, yet still high in strength, making it a great FDA food-grade plastic.

PP is also highly customizable, another reason it is so appealing to food and beverage distributors. It can be either opaque or translucent and be matched to any color, and design teams can experiment with different aesthetics to match a company’s branding.

Although PP has a high melting point, one of its main drawbacks is that it is prone to thermal expansion, which limits the material’s high-temperature applications. It is also susceptible to oxidation, UV degradation, and damage from chlorinated solvents in rare cases.

However, PP is still one of the most preferred plastic materials when it comes to food packaging due to its high quality and low cost.

What are the environmental benefits of PP?

If the product benefits weren’t enough, PP is also one of the best choices for environmentally friendly packaging. The EPA classifies PP as a Safer Chemical Ingredient and considers it a safer choice compared to most other plastics.

During the manufacturing process, there are no toxic emissions, toxic waste, fluorocarbons, or halogens. Also, creating PP materials requires fewer natural resources and energy than creating cotton, paper, canvas, and other fabrics.

At the end of a PP product’s life, the item is fully recyclable and generates fewer waste products in disposal. During the recycling process, there are no toxic chemicals released, nor are any toxic gases generated when burned.

Want to Switch from Foam to Plastic?

If your restaurant needs high-quality to-go containers and you want to ditch the foam in favor of plastic, simply reach out to Sunshine! We’re happy to collaborate on the right containers and supplies for your business.

Understanding What Those Recycling Numbers on Plastics Really Mean

Packaging sustainability is becoming an important issue for consumers and businesses alike. But that doesn’t mean that plastic-based packaging and containers are going away. In fact, one study indicates over a third of consumers under age 44 see great benefits to plastics. Benefits that outweigh any negatives, especially if that packaging is recycled — or recyclable.  

But deciphering the meaning of the recycling logo and its numbers can be daunting for both businesses and patrons. For example, although most items can be recycled, some can only be recycled through complex and costly processes, which can use a lot of energy and can therefore be counterproductive to sustainability.  

With more than 8 million tons of plastic ending up in our oceans and microplastics polluting our rainwater, responsible recycling and reuse of plastic materials is becoming more important than ever. To help you — and your customers — sort out the recyclable from the non-recyclable when it comes to plastics, we’ve put together this easy-to-follow cheat sheet to help you understand what those recycling numbers really represent.  

Recycling Numbers of Plastics: A Quick Primer  

Every area of the country has its own rules and regulations governing recyclables that determine what they will and will not process. However, one of the first steps toward sourcing recyclable, sustainable plastics is to gain a strong understanding of what the recycling symbols stamped on most plastic items really mean.  

The #1 Symbol: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET or PETE) 

This plastic is mostly used for water, soft drinks, and other beverages due to its inexpensive, lightweight profile and the fact that it poses a minimal risk of leaching chemicals. This type of plastic is welcomed by most recycling programs, even curbside ones, if it has been properly emptied and rinsed.  

Recycled Uses: Recycled PET can be used to create more bottles, food containers, fiber, carpet, paneling, and even warm and cozy fleece. 

The #2 Symbol: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) 

HDPE plastic is incredibly versatile and useful — especially when it comes to food packaging. It has an exceptionally low leaching risk, making it perfect for yogurt tubs, milk jugs, juice bottles, butter containers, liners for cereal boxes, and more. It is accepted by most curbside recycle programs, but grocery bags made of HDPE must be delivered to specific stores that recycle them.  

Recycled Uses: Recycled HDPE is used in a variety of materials from floor tiles and lumber to pens, drainage pipes, and shampoo bottles.  

The #3 Symbol: Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) 

Cheap and durable, PVC is found in everything from vinyl siding to windows. However, it can release dioxins during the manufacturing process or if it is burned. 

Recycled Uses: PVC is rarely recycled, but some manufacturers of plastic lumber will accept it. With proper processing, it can be made into decks, flooring, mats, and more.   

The #4 Symbol: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) 

A staple polymer for use in creating grocery and bread bags, tote bags, furniture, and squeeze bottles, LDPE is more difficult to recycle in curbside programs. However, it is accepted by some community collection programs. 

Recycled Uses: When recycled, LDPE can be reborn as floor tiles, lumber, envelopes, trash can liners, and even paneling.  

The #5 Symbol: Polypropylene (PP) 

With a high melting point that makes it perfect for food containers and other storage for hot liquids, PP plastic is becoming more accepted by recycling programs across the nation. It is typically used to create straws, yogurt tubs, medicine bottles, and bottle caps.  

Recycled Uses: PP can be recreated as bins, trays, signal lights, battery cables, brooms, brushes, and landscape border materials.  

The #6 Symbol: Polystyrene (PS) 

This plastic can be made in either foam or rigid forms and is most often found in disposable cups and plates, egg cartons, meat trays, and for use as to-go containers. However, most recycling programs do not accept it.  

Recycled Uses: Recycled PS can be used in insulation, egg cartons, to-go containers, and foam packing, among other uses.  

The #7 Symbol: Miscellaneous 

This is a catch-all category for plastics that don’t quite fit into other groups. Hard plastics are commonly found with this symbol, as are DVDs, nylon, and even specific food containers. These are typically considered non-recyclable materials for most local programs. 

Recycled Uses: Despite the difficulty with recycling these, there are limited uses for them as custom-made products.  

Sunshine Supply — Your Choice for High Quality Plastics 

Need convenient, high-quality plastic containers, utensils, or bags? Just reach out to Sunshine today and let us help you choose the perfect items for your specific business needs.