Disposable products are meant to be discarded or recycled after a single use. They may be a small piece of the overall puzzle, but they tend to stand out to customers, which is why they can go a long way in improving every facet of the experience at your establishment.
Disposables and commercial janitorial supplies are generally made of similar materials: plastic, paper, kraft, and foam. There has been a growing effort to find greener solutions as more and more become conscious on the impact that disposables have on the environment, not just in what happens after they are used but also what is involved in the production.
Certain innovations have been developed to reduce the harmful environmental impact of single-use disposables and janitorial equipment. This resulted in the emergence of more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives that are biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable. Some of these materials are kraft paper, sugarcane, bamboo, wheat straw, and polylactic acid or PLA. This initiative encompasses many of these disposables from flatware, servingware, cups, take-out bags and deli containers, to tabletop necessities like napkins.
Foam food containers are highly popular especially in fast-food and take-out joints because they are lightweight and inexpensive. They are comfortable to hold and carry because they stay cool despite the hot food inside. Not all foods can be stored in foam containers though. Fried foods and deli items like sandwiches can become soggy over time. Additionally, they are not the most environmentally friendly option because the material uses nonrenewable sources and is not biodegradable.
Paper disposables are a favorite due to the versatility. This material is found in tabletop, kitchen, take-aways, and commercial janitorial supplies.
Paper takeout containers can be safely microwaved without reducing the quality of the food or damaging the material. They are resistant to grease, and can conserve heat. Paper disposables also typically come in one piece and are easily collapsible, so they don’t take much space and are easier to put away.
Note that heat from hot foods can transfer to the paper, which is why you will find handles or sleeves added on paper containers to solve this problem. Sogginess remains an issue here as well.
When it comes to environmental impact, paper can decompose in natural materials fairly easy, which is a big win for the green initiative. However, it is not exactly the best choice either since production heavily relies on trees.
Plastic is generally more affordable and durable than the options above. A lot of the disposables and commercial janitorial supplies your restaurant will ever need are made using plastic.
Because compared to the rest of the materials, it has better resistance to tear, leaks, and cracks. It is also non-absorbent, helping maintain the quality of the food contents.
This material also has an edge when it comes to food display and showcase. Clear plastic allows customers to see what’s inside, giving you the opportunity to take advantage of the food’s beautiful presentation or its vibrant, enticing colors.
Unfortunately, plastic is notorious for the environmental dangers that it brings. It is non-biodegradable and takes many, many years to be broken down.
There are plastics that are made of all-natural plant materials as a solution, but they have to be disposed of a certain way in order to decompose properly.
In the end, plastic continues to pose a serious challenge in managing the waste problem and the negative environmental impact it causes.
There aren’t a lot of commercial janitorial supplies made of foil. Instead, this material is used mainly in packaging and food take-aways, and it does its job excellently. It can trap as much heat, moisture, and flavor of the food so it can be enjoyed by customers as if they just got it. However, foil pans aren’t safe to use in a microwave, only in an oven.
As the foodservice world works to become more eco-conscious, there emerged alternatives that takes the industry in that direction. From commercial janitorial supplies to dinnerware and take-out containers, there are eco-friendly counterparts to be had albeit they come with a higher price and are not widely available for all applications. Here are some of these environmentally friendly materials:
Sugarcane is used to make tableware and take-out containers. These disposables are made from the fibrous by-product from the juice extracted from the sugarcane pulp. They can be easily composted and are also safe to use in a microwave and a refrigerator.
Wheat straw is also very sturdy and compostable. This material is practically agricultural waste that comes from the grain or juice extracted from crops.
Bamboo disposables have an elegance to them that adds to the overall dining experience. Most of what you will find use the sheath that falls off young bamboo plants. It is cleaned and boiled, and pressed into the desired size and shape without the use of any chemical or toxins.
Kraft paper has been a popular alternative to plastic for a long time. It comes in the natural wood color that we all know too well. It comes from long virgin fibers of maritime pine. It is completely compostable and biodegradable and used in a wide variety of disposables.
Commercial janitorial supplies and disposables like tissues, paper towels, and bin liners are all necessary in any establishment to make customers feel comfortable during their stay and ultimately promote and cultivate a safe and clean environment that people will actually love to be in.
Facial tissues help prevent the spread of germs and infection, so it is imperative to have a box at several areas of your restaurant, especially when it is flu season.
The main characteristics of facial tissues are the softness and smoothness. They are absorbent and much thinner than most tissues so they are less harsh when they come in contact with the face.
Toilet Paper and Toilet Paper Dispensers
Toilet papers should be soft but also strong so that it is both comfortable to use and holds up well when wet. This essential piece of disposable janitorial supply comes in a different number of plies. The most common variations are one-ply and two-ply. Some are coarser than others depending on the material. Generally, the two-ply tissue paper is preferred because it is thicker. However, there are many one-ply toilet tissues that use a much thicker layer that it can be much stronger than a two-ply with very thin layers.
Toilet papers may have different sizes depending on the brand. Typically, one roll of an industrial one-ply tissue has 1,000 sheets while a two-ply has 500.
Paper Towels, Paper Towel Dispensers, Paper Towel Holders
A discussion on commercial janitorial supplies will not be complete without paper towels, which are deemed to be the most durable out of the tissues. This type of tissue should be able to stand up to more intense applications. A paper towel is much larger than your typical toilet paper. They have more plies for enhanced thickness and strength, which allows them to hold more water or liquid.
They are especially effective when wiping off spills, grime, and dirt from surfaces, making them the companion of choice in the kitchen and other janitorial tasks. Paper towels are also used to dry hands. Typically, the more layers, the more absorbent, but don’t forget to check the size of the perforation- the larger the holes, the more capillarity.
Trash Can Liners and Garbage Bags
Trash can liners and garbage bags are some of the most important commercial janitorial supplies a restaurant could ever have. They help restaurants stay on top of their waste management.
There are a few kinds available depending on the application. For kitchens, linear low density polyethylene bin liners are the best choice. They don’t puncture easily and they are capable of holding heavy and wet trash as well as rubbish with jagged or sharp edges.
Restroom trash cans, on the other hand, should be lined with high density material, which has better resistance to moisture and protection from unpleasant odors.
Disposable Dinnerware and Tabletop Essentials
Disposable dinnerware includes plates, cutlery, saucers, platters, sauce cups, fruit bowls, sundae dishes, cups, casserole dishes, tumblers, and grapefruit bowls. They are generally used in catering events where you anticipate a huge demand and large-scale cleanups. With disposable dinnerware, you won’t have to worry about dishwashing. You can simply toss them all out and you’re good to go.
Despite the benefit of convenience and reduced labor that these items will bring, you must also keep in mind that catering disposables should still be able to achieve an excellent tabletop presentation.
You can get away with paper plates in a less formal catering, but you might at least add a paper plate holder that’s made of rattan or wicker, for example, so they will look nicer and will also be easier and more secure to hold. They sometimes have printed designs to match the theme of the event.
Plastic dinnerware typically come in the form of clear plates with different styles and designs, all of which guaranteed to look nice and clean in any dinner setting.
Tabletop disposables, on the other hand, are required not just in catering, but in all restaurants to ensure customers have everything they need before, during, and after the meal.
Napkins and Napkin Dispensers
There is a wide variety of napkins for a lot of applications. They come small to large sizes and can be in plain color or fun designs.
When serving dinner, it is important that your guests are provided with a large napkin that they can put over their lap to avoid food stains, debris, or spills from getting into their clothing. For this reason, you’ll want a napkin that has a bit of weight to it so it doesn’t slide off or gets blown away easily.
Typical dinner napkins are a bit high-end with usually a linen-feel. They measure 16 to 18 inches. The napkins used to lay out or wrap the flatware are smaller. Dinner napkins generally come in two to three plies.
Beverage and cocktail napkins give you the chance to have a bit more fun with your disposables. You can add designs and colors that you won’t typically find in regular napkins. This type of napkin is smaller at just 10 inches.
For a more environmentally friendly option, you can opt for 100% recycled material and non-toxic vegetable ink to add the branding.
Straws and Stirrers
Straws allow your customers to sip and enjoy their drinks with all the convenience and none of the mess. They come in different sizes and shapes for different types of beverages and drinks. Stirrers, on the other hand, are used to mix and blend coffee or other hot drinks.
Due to the waste footprint that these things produce, however, there is an active effort to minimize the use of straws and stirrers. This resulted in the rise of reusable straws or alternatives made of sugarcane, bamboo, silicon, metal, or even glass, which offer greater environmental leeway when it comes to biodegrading and recycling.
Plastic spoons, forks, and knives are some of the most convenient and economical flatware you can find. The most common ones are made of either polypropylene or polystyrene. Both materials are great for high-heat use and will do well in light and heavy fare dining. Obviously, they won’t be a favorite in an eco-friendly business.
Some good alternatives are PLA plastic or plant starch, but they might not be the best for high-heat. Bamboo and wood flatware might do a better job, but heavy-fare dining may prove a bit challenging.
Disposable flatware comes in different weights. The heavier, the greater the ease of use and the perceived quality. The sturdier ones should be able to cut through tougher food items such as meats. Lightweight spoons and forks should be used for simpler meals so that they won’t break.
Cups and Lids
Plastic cups are mainly used for cold beverages while paper cups with air pocket insulation between an inner sheet and an outer sheet are better for hotter drinks like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate.
If you want something more versatile and environmentally friendly, poly-coated cups with single or double polymer coating will be a good match. They can hold hot and cold drinks and they are made rigid so that the liquid does not seep through the outside of the cup that would cause it to deform and weaken.
For cold drinks, you might want to look into wax-coated paper cups, which are leak-proof. They are more rugged than their poly-coated counterparts for enhanced insulation and protection.
Most of the time, you will have to provide lids as well. For hot drinks, they can help avoid spills that could burn the skin of your customers and make the drinking experience just much easier. Additionally, lids are a must when drinks are ordered for take-out or delivery.
Clear, hard plastic barware will look great when serving wine and champagne in a formal catering event or an outdoor bar. They follow the typical sizing and shape of regular glasses so as to replicate the experience and still be able to preserve the taste of the drinks.
Disposable glasses ranging from stemless and wine to flute and martini are all available. For something less formal, you can’t go wrong with plastic cup shots for serving up beer and soda. These are the ones that come in vibrant colors, typically red or blue.
Paper cones are used in conjunction with a small metal stand to display and serve freshly prepared food for safe and easy retrieval at the counter or the table. They also make for a convenient container for dry snacks that customers will eat on the go like chips, popcorn, and even fries.
Disposable Baking Supplies
As important as stocking on commercial janitorial supplies in a bakery or a restaurant that serves baked goods is having disposable baking supplies that improves your baking tasks and enhances the presentation and the transport effort for your pastries.
There is a wide variety of bakery boxes designed to fit different pastries and baked goods. You can find boxes built to hold and store cookies, donuts, cakes, cupcakes, pies, candy apples, candy, fudge, barks, and many more.
The most common bakery boxes are made of cardboard and plastic or a combination of both. Some designs have a built-in handle while others are tulip-style with interlocking sides.
Cardboard boxes allow customers to safely stow cakes and cupcakes inside a safe, light container and keep it intact until they are ready to eat the treats. You can go with the clean white cardboard for a plain and simple look, or the kraft beige color, which has a more rustic and environmentally friendly design.
Bakery boxes may or may not have a separate lid. There are boxes with a plastic window that gives patrons a glimpse of the confectionary to show off the delicious appearance and make it easy to identify the contents.
Small and Single-Serving Pastry Containers
For smaller cakes, cupcakes, and pies, there are plastic containers with dome lids that snap into place on a plastic base to protect the icing and decorations on the pastry. There are also plastic containers for a single slice of pie while some are made to hold multiple cupcakes, complete with a dedicated slot to keep each one in place.
Loaf pans are usually made of corrugated kraft paper or foil. The latter is a better choice for take-aways since it can use a plastic lid for transport. The former, on the other hand, can be used for baking, but it can only handle a certain level of temperature.
Bakery displays are used to showcase cakes, cupcakes, and other delicious pastries at your store or restaurant. Cake displays come in single and multiple tiers while stands for cupcakes only has one tier that is either transparent or solid in color. There are more fun and colorful cake and cupcake displays to choose from to suit your interior, the look of the cake, or theme of an event where the cake is going.
Cake boards are usually made of corrugated cardboard that is made grease-resistant, perfect for presenting and serving an entire cake. They are either round, square, or rectangular in shape with white and gold as the most common colors. With a cake board, the cake is safe and secure, making it easier to transport and place on a display or stand.
Baking Cups or Cupcake Liners
Baking cups prevent the pastries from sticking to the pan when baking. Cupcake liners enhance the presentation while also allowing customers to prevent any mess when eating and enjoying the baked goods.
Different materials are used for cupcake liners. Paper is the most economical, but it has higher porosity, which means oil or liquids could easily penetrate it. Grease-proof liners and glassline liners are great solutions to that. Both come in a variety of colors and designs with the latter steam-treated to give it a shiny look, hence the name. If you want something sturdier, you can look into foil liners, which should be able to resist oils from the cake without suffering any discoloration.
Cupcake and Muffin Inserts
Cupcake and muffin inserts are made to keep the baked goods separated. This ensures that they don’t move around inside the box, which could ruin the decorations and the toppings. Cupcake and muffin inserts can fit up to 12 cupcakes per box and are designed to fit in standard bakery boxes.
A pastry bag or a piping bag is used to house icing and decorate pastries like cakes and cupcakes. They are triangular in shape and can be made of cloth, paper, or plastic.
Foil pans will help you keep your workspace mess-free when baking. While they are most useful in a bakery, foil pans have a lot to offer in many more kitchen applications including roasting. You can serve baked food without removing it from the foil, cutting your prep and cleaning time significantly.
Foil pans come in different shapes, sizes, and depth. There are those designed specifically for roasting chicken and some are molded to fit muffins, a loaf of bread, or even clams and pies. Some foil pans come with lids for easier transport of the food.
Disposable Food Packaging Supplies
Apart from commercial janitorial supplies, a great way to manage your waste and improve the before and after affair involved in consuming or serving your gastronomic offerings are disposable food packaging supplies.
Foil wraps are designed for both standard and heavy-duty use. Standard foil wraps are great for covering food in table pans and for wrapping deli items like sandwiches. Non-stick aluminum foil is also available for melted cheese and grilled meat.
For heavy-duty use such as lining ovens or pans for baking or roasting, covering grills and grates, and protecting food on steam table pans during transport, you will need a foil wrap with enhanced durability.
Plastic Film Wrap
Plastic film wrap has a lot of uses for a restaurant. For starters, it is the go-to for heat-sealing and packaging bread, frozen foods, and fresh produce. This disposable item is typically made of low-density polyethylene, which is highly resistant to bases and vegetable oils, and is overall tough and flexible.
Vacuum Pack Bags
Vacuum pack bags are a great tool during food preparation and preservation in restaurants that buy ingredients in bulk. Vacuum sealing preserves your inventory for longer than more conventional storage methods and ultimately saves you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
Meats, for example, can be simply placed inside a vacuum pack bag. A vacuum sealer removes the air inside before sealing the bag completely. This reduces the growth of fungi and airborne bacteria that could otherwise shorten the shelf life of the food.
Sandwich and Bread Bags, Liners, and Wraps
Sandwich bags are typically made of kraft paper, foil, or plastic. They come in different sizes to accommodate deli items of different sizes with bread bags designed for hoagies and breads.
Wraps are great for serving burgers and sandwiches to be eaten on the premises or on the go. This way, patrons will be able to enjoy and eat the food comfortably while it is still hot.
A lot of sandwich bags come with a convenient window to add to the presentation and make it easier for customers to know what’s inside. There is a litany of designs to choose from, but the checkered and newspaper designs are the most popular because they are very attractive.
Disposable Take-Out Containers and Bags
Disposable containers are essential in any restaurants to pack leftovers or package take-out orders. This is your restaurant’s way of making sure that the food stays intact and endures the trip before the customers serve or consume it where they plan to. The right disposable take-out container will keep the food in safe temperatures and prevent spills, maintaining the overall quality.
Disposable containers are made of plastic, foam, and paper, which have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Hinged Food Containers
The idea is to have one or two secure lips along the front edge of the top of the container that are slotted into small slits on the bottom.
Hinged food containers can have either a single compartment or several compartments so an entire meal or a variety of food contents can be separated neatly especially during transport.
Flaps and Tab Lock Containers
Take-out containers with flaps and tab locks are mainly made of paper. They usually have four flaps and a tab lock to keep the food items secure inside and prevent and leaks or spills.
They are also microwavable, so customers can heat the food up in it when they reach home or choose to save it for later. Instead of dividers molded into the container, separate pieces of paper are usually placed inside to be able to add compartments in the container.
Corrugated Take-Out Food Boxes
Corrugated boxes are associated with food safety and high quality. They are a popular packaging method because they are very effective in preventing food spoilage and the spread of bacteria, ultimately increasing the shelf life of the food contents.
They are made with paperboard wit rows of air columns that serve as a cushion to the contents, making it much stronger compared to regular paper containers.
Corrugated boxes are common in pizza places, but they can be used in most food establishments.
If you offer large servings or family orders of food items like chicken, popcorn, cheese curds, or even ice, a food bucket will be a worthy addition to your establishment. A lot of them are made of grease-resistant paper to maintain the rigidity of the container.
There are also plastic designs that come with handles, which are easier to hold and can be used standalone. There are also small and stout buckets that will work great for french fries, nachos, or deep fried veggies.
Many food buckets are printed with fun designs and labels. Food buckets for concession stands typically come with lids that achieve an airtight seal for defense against contaminants, but also seals in the freshness. Additionally, it allows customers to stow it away safely and securely if they can’t finish the food in one sitting.
Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt Cups
Frozen yogurt and ice cream with fun toppings will usually be served in a paper cup while ice cream is served in clear plastic containers that show off the colors and craftsmanship that went into creating the frozen dessert.
Banana split boats are also made specifically to serve the namesake dessert in the best presentation possible and take advantage of its unique appearance.
Soup Cups and Bowls
Soup cups and bowls usually come with vented paper or plastic lids to maintain the temperature of the soup and prevent spills during transport.
Cup carriers take away the cumbersomeness of transporting one or multiple beverages. Many are made of pulp fiber with slots that fit cups perfectly and are held from the bottom.
Sometimes, they include a compartment for food items like a sandwich or a burger. Kraft cup carriers, on the other hand, typically have a handle and are specifically designed for drinks only.
Asian-Style Take-Out Containers
Chinese takeout containers are typically made of kraft paper and come in different sizes measured in ounces. They feature a one-piece design with secure folded seals at the top and bottom plus a handle for easy carrying. You can typically fit a pair of chopsticks, which will be sticking out, but will otherwise be secured in place by the food that is tightly packed inside.
Asian-style take-out containers work great in preserving the freshness of the food and retaining heat. They are most of the time microwave-safe so customers can reheat the contents easily.
Deli containers are usually plastic, but you have an eco-responsible option in PET plastic. These contains usually have a separate lid that makes an airtight seal to avoid spillage while making them easily stackable.
Thinner, lightweight deli containers are great for cold and refrigerated foods like salad, as well as candy, vegetables, and nuts. For storage or transport of heavier food or liquid contents like soup, pasta, and other creamy menu items, you will be better off with heavy weight deli containers that are thicker and more rigid.
Aluminum foil containers are the most sturdy disposable container you can get. They can also be used on both hot and cold foods with better heat conservation to boot. Aluminum foil containers are recommended for baked meals and heavier dishes like pasta or lasagna since they do a better job of repelling oil and grease.
If displayed and accessible to customers who come and go, make sure to get deli containers that are tamper-evident to keep the food inside safe and secure from any form of tampering that may compromise the quality and the safety of the food.
By using this design, a container that has been opened and resealed will be much easier to spot. This is a great way to protect your food, your customers, and your business, and at the same time bring the packaging costs down without skimping on the quality.
Pretzel and French Fry Bags
If you are serving food items like french fries or pretzels, you can find bags specifically designed to hold these types of foods. Some are plain white in color while others come with prints and different colors.
Disposable food trays are necessary to transport and deliver larger quantities of food to customers. Some trays are divided into multiple compartments to hold and organize different types of food neatly and conveniently carry a complete meal without worrying about transferring flavor or one meal spilling over to another.
Portion Cups and Souffle Cups
Plastic will be ideal for holding oily or heavier items. Additionally, with transparent plastic, you can take advantage of the color and presentation of the contents as well as easy viewing and identification when used at the front of the house. You can find a lot of them that use Green PLA plastic for something more eco-friendly.
Paper bags allow your customers to safely carry and haul their food orders from one place to another, no matter the volume. Restaurants can opt for S.O.S. bags or pinch bottom bags for their needs. There are styles that come with a grease-resistant liner windows that provides a view of the contents from the outside.
S.O.S. bags are usually made of kraft paper. They come with a handle, which makes them very easy to lug around and effortlessly secured due to the natural seal at the top opening that it achieves when carried. They are great for holding food and drinks, and are sturdy enough to stand on their own.
Pinch Bottom Bags
Pinch bottom bags are great for transporting baked goods. As the name suggests, they are held from the bottom, which has an envelope-like seal. Especially when it is full, it will be harder to keep pinch-bottom bag sealed at the top.
Food Safety Disposables
As important as the taste of your menu is, of course, ensuring that it is made and handled properly. Make sure to add disposable gloves and disposable glove dispensers to your commercial janitorial supplies.
Your kitchen and janitorial staff will need them. For your employees in charge of preparing, cooking, and handling the food, disposable gloves will help avoid the spread of bacteria and foodborne diseases. Your janitors, on the other hand, will need disposable gloves to protect their hands against chemicals and sensitive substances when cleaning up different parts of the restaurant.
Poly disposable gloves should do well in food prep, but for cooking and janitorial tasks, you might want to go with latex or vinyl and nitrile for those allergic to latex. Chefs and servers will also have to wear hair nets when cooking and preparing food.