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NEW BEDFORD, MA – Saenz Restaurant has become the latest Massachusetts eatery to go green by phasing out single-use disposable dining ware as part of Clean Water Action and Clean Water Fund’s ReThink Disposable campaign. Clean Water, the City of New Bedford, and the Greater New Bedford Regional Refuse Management District have partnered up to help restaurants access funds to purchase safe, reusable plates, cups, bowls, cutlery, and other in-dining items. 

“We are so excited to deliver boxes of reusable dining ware to Karla Ayala at Saenz Restaurant. Every time a restaurant or school ditches disposables, they prevent tens of thousands of pieces of trash from entering our waterways or being sent to landfills and incinerators. We are so excited that the City of New Bedford is partnering with us to help local businesses sign up,” said Amber Schmidt, Clean Water Action’s Zero Waste Specialist. 

“This has been such an incredible experience and I feel so blessed to be able to receive such a beneficial gift from Clean Water’s ReThink Disposable program. This is a very useful program to help businesses, like mine, save money by not having to buy disposable dishware and to cut down on waste. I encourage other businesses to take advantage of this free program!” said Karla Ayala, owner of Saenz Restaurant. 

“Congratulations to Karla Ayala, the owner of Saenz Restaurant, for taking effective steps to reduce waste. I look forward to more restaurants following this example and applaud all restaurants and residents who already use reusable dining ware. Generating less waste directly benefits the residents and business in the City of New Bedford. When the local landfill is full, disposing of waste is likely to be much more expensive for the City,” said Jennifer Vieira, Director of Facilities & Fleet Management for the City of New Bedford. 

Restaurants and institutions participating in Clean Water’s ReThink Disposable program are collectively preventing over 275,000 pounds of waste every year, and restaurants report savings of between $3000 and $20,000 annually. The City of New Bedford and the Refuse District are partnering with ReThink to offer $300-$600 stipends to local businesses to fund the purchase of reusable dining ware. 

Photo caption: Dylan Saenz: (son of Karla), Karla Ayala: owner, Jessica Camarena: the New Bedford Assistant Project Manager / Recycle Coordinator, and Marissa Perez-Dormitzer: Waste Reduction Manager for the Greater New Bedford Regional Refuse Management District. 


Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking, and people power to the table. 


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