Local businesses struggle to make things work amid plastic shortage

Business

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – You can now add plastic cups and takeout containers to the long list of items in short supply this year. That’s due to not only the pandemic but the winter storm that hit Texas earlier in 2021.


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Throughout the pandemic, the Burrow Cafe, in Northeast Albuquerque has relied heavily on takeout materials. “We haven’t done indoor dining the entire time we’ve been open,” said Teddy Friedman, head chef and co-owner of the Burrow Cafe.

So even if you are sitting outside on their patio, you’ll be given a plastic cup and a box for your food. “It has gotten exceptionally more difficult to find stuff,” said Friedman.

Recently, when Friedman goes in to make an order, she’s hit some roadblocks. “There’s some cups I just can’t get anymore,” said Friedman.

She’s had to get creative and lower the quality of some of her supplies in order to get an order in and sometimes that order doesn’t even arrive on time. “I’ll have to drive around town to different restaurant supply stores and just see what they have,” said Friedman.

When she does that, she goes over budget but only in order to get the materials they need. “I have to take that into account like the gas money and my time to actually go do those things and it’s definitely frustrating,” said Friedman.

To make up for the extra expenses, they’ve had to increase their prices on the menu. On top of shortages, they’ve seen price gauging on everyday items. “I was paying probably thirty to fifty dollars a case for like large gloves which we use a lot of and now I’m paying eighty to 130 dollars a case,” said Friedman.

Of course, you can’t forget about the other restaurants and businesses in town. “I’ll put in an order for two of them but I won’t get it allocated because everybody else got there before me cause we are all placing orders around the same time,” said Friedman.

Frustration aside, Friedman is hoping at some point it will get easier. “Eventually the industry has to level back out,” said Friedman.

Little Bear Coffee and Humble Coffee are also experiencing the cup shortage. Humble says they’ve had to switch to less sustainable cups for the time being.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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