Thunder Bay

Cornerstone restaurant in Kenora, Ont. removes plastic to go greener

A restaurant in Kenora, Ont. has decided to make a few changes to their business to go greener and help the environment.

The restaurant removed straws, replaced plastic ramekins and styrofoam

Co-owner of Cornerstone Restaurant, Pam Viinika, has decided to remove plastic straws and ramekins as a way to help the environment. (Jeff Walters / CBC)

A restaurant in Kenora, Ont. has decided to make a few changes to their business to go greener and help the environment.

Co-owner of the Cornerstone Restaurant, Pam Viinikka, said when they decided to close their restaurant earlier this year for renovations, they also rolled out a new menu that inspired them to do their part in reducing, reusing and recycling.

"We are just starting at this," Viinikka explained, "[but] there were some small things we could do and we started out with removing straws ... and plastic ramekins."

She said in order to decrease the amount of glasses that need to be washed, they stopped pouring water unless customers asked for it, and they've also replaced their styrofoam take-out containers with recycled paper.

"We've always recycled cardboard and our oil but now we have things for jars and tins and plastic that we can recycle with as well," Viinikka said, "and we recently got a farmer on board and he's taking all our scraps for his pig."

Viinki said they replaced their plastic ramekins with reusable glass ones and they've also stopped pouring water for every customer as a way to reduce the amount of glasses that need to be washed. (Jeff Walters / CBC)

The restaurant re-opened their doors in April and since then, Viinikka said customers have been nothing but supportive.

"It was so easy," Viinikka said.

"These changes have been very easy [and] everybody has adjusted very well."

She said she bought a box of biodegradable straws when they re-opened the restaurant and after over a month, the box is still half full.

"People have embraced it ... and we've done some Facebook as well," Viinika said, "we've encouraged people to bring their own containers, their own doggy bags [and] they get free dressing if they bring their own jars."

After over a month since the restaurant has decided to go greener, Viinika said she's pleasantly surprised and proud of how people have responded to the changes.

"[I] just feel overwhelmed by the fact that I want something for my grand kids," Viinika said.

"I want them to be able to see whales and things like that [but] I have a lot more to do."

She said although the restaurant has made a number of changes over the last month, plastic ramekins for take out salad dressings are still something they hope to stop using in the near future.