News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 05/24/2018
Subject :

Palo Alto’s ReThink Disposable Program Saves Businesses Money & Helps Environment
Contact : Joanna Tran, Program Assistant, Public Works    650-329-2518
Lisa Caracciolo, Communications Manager    650-329-2473

The City of Palo Alto Public Works–Watershed Protection is reminding restaurants about the opportunity to team up with ReThink Disposable to save thousands of dollars and help the environment at the same time. ReThink Disposable is a project of the nonprofit Clean Water Action whose goal is to help the environment by reducing single-use plastics that often become litter in streets and creeks. 

Rethink Disposable staff works with restaurant operators to implement cost saving practices that reduce disposable foodware like cups, food containers, utensils, straws, and lids, and helps them transition to reusable ones. The City has partnered with Rethink Disposable and supports the transition by offering businesses a $300 grant to purchase reusable foodware or dishwashing equipment.

Rick Junker, Kirk’s SteakBurgers owner was at first skeptical until he saved almost $4,000 annually when he became ReThink Disposable certified.

“From an operational perspective, I wasn’t sure we would be able to easily incorporate the use of reusable drinking cups and sandwich baskets. The ReThink team was great to work with and made that transition much easier, with very little impact on our work flow,” Junker said.

New York Pizza, transitioned from disposable paper cups to reusable ones, and from paper plates to reusable trays. They saved more than $3,000 annually and reduced over 135,000 pieces of disposable packaging by making the changes. Other businesses that completed the program include Gelataio and Sprout Cafe. The Counter and Palo Alto Baking Company recently signed up to participate.

“At first, many businesses are a little wary of making the switch, but after working with us, they have nothing but great things to say about the program,” said Chris Slafter, who oversees the ReThink Disposable work in Palo Alto. “It’s been a real pleasure going through our process with these great Palo Alto restaurants. The City has ambitious waste reduction goals, and that’s only appropriate for a community so close to the water where a lot of disposable trash can end up polluting our environment,” Slafter added.

Julie Weiss, Project Manager for Public Works–Watershed Protection said “The ReThink Disposable program is the kind of hands-on service that our City needs to meet its goal of zero litter in creeks by 2022, and zero waste by 2021. The ReThink Disposable staff are practical, helpful and they make a real difference to businesses and the environment. I encourage local businesses to take advantage of the program and the mini grant–it’s a terrific opportunity.”

Business owners can learn more at, or by contacting ReThink Disposable’s Representative Chris Slafter directly at:

 Notes to editors:

 A video case study of a Palo Alto business, Kirk’s SteakBurgers which has gone through the program, is available here: