Plastic Is Out, Sustainability Is In

Submitted by Mary Meade on May 20, 2019
Photo by Good Soul Shop on Unsplash

The days of single-use plastics are numbered.

In 2018, Seattle became the first US city to ban single-use plastic cutlery. Starbucks followed suit with a plan to eliminate plastic straws by 2020, and several airlines joined by phasing out single-use plastic straws and stirrers. The anti-plastic movement became so prolific that “single-use” was named the word of the year by Collins Dictionary.

Even though the world’s plastic pollution problem isn’t over, public awareness and policy action are growing.

Governments Opt Out of Single-Use Waste

This year, the European Union voted to abandon single-use plastics by 2021 and New York will join California and Hawaii in plastic bag bans by 2020. Peru is the latest country to restrict single-use plastics – visitors will no longer be able to carry in single-use plastics into its protected natural and cultural areas.

Plastics aren’t the only thing on the single-use chopping block. Polystyrene, or more commonly known as Styrofoam, has been targeted by Maryland. The state has given foam food packaging the boot as the latest contributor in the effort to reduce single-use waste. While cities such as New York City, Seattle, and Miami already ban polystyrene, Maryland will be the first state.

Businesses Opt For Reusable Innovations

While legislators are stepping up by creating bans, businesses are transitioning to sustainable packaging. ALDI, a supermarket chain that serves more than 40 million customers each month, has announced all packaging will be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025.

Additionally, major brands have committed to selling products in reusable containers under Loop, a project partnership between TerraCycle and brands such as Tropicana, Axe, Tide, and Haagen-Dazs, among many others. Since 40 percent of all plastic produced is used in packaging, the Loop project is poised to effect significant change. The pilot project will roll out to customers in New York City and Paris during 2019.

The Sustainability Solution

Concern for the planet is at an all-time high, and millennials are twice as likely to pay more for a sustainable product than older generations. With sustainable packaging winning customer loyalty, businesses that invest in environmentally-responsible goals are more likely to meet the bottom line. Read our sustainable packaging movement blog post to learn more about this industry trend.

Businesses with a third-party certification have proven to an independent organization that they meet a verified standard of sustainability, including responsible packaging. Green America’s Green Business Network seal is the authentic trustmark for social and environmental responsibility and is home to 3,000 certified businesses across the country. Search our greenpages.org to find your next plastic alternative.

Supporting A Green Economy

As industries gradually transition to sustainable options, consumers can accelerate the movement by "voting with their dollar" for green businesses. By being a conscious consumer, our collective power can shift the tide away from our current wasteful single-use culture and instead towards a green economy that puts planet health and human welfare first. 

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