The past year has finally felt like there’s a larger movement bubbling up to ban single-use plastic of all sorts across the country and the globe. I am hopeful it’s an inflection point— a moment where people are waking up to the reality of what will happen to this beautiful planet if we aren't more careful about who we are using plastic (and our waste overall, of course!). The movement is coming in different forms— stores and brands committing to go plastic free, cities participating in their own efforts, and more.
Here are a few major plastic-reducing wins of 2018
Plastic-free grocery shopping is becoming more accessible
As the zero-waste movement grows, it seems like more and more package and waste-free grocery options are popping up! I was thrilled to read about the World’s First Plastic Free Aisle of groceries that opened in the Netherlands. Or you can head to a package free stores like Nada in Vancouver or Verde in Miami where you can bring your own containers (I love my Stasher bags for bulk shopping since they are small and convenient to throw in my shopping bag) and shop in bulk, eliminating plastic and waste altogether!
image via The Dieline
Coffee giant Starbucks committed to eliminate all plastic straws over the next two years, which not only amounts to a whole lot of straws across their 28,000 locations, but also sets an example for other coffee shops. Similarly, American Airlines committed to ridding their planes of plastic straws, amounting to over 71,000 pounds of plastic per year. I hope that includes stirrers?
Cafes are committing to lower their plastic and waste consumption
Smaller shops are following suit— Smith Canteen in Brooklyn, NY, has committed to going plastic free and being the “greenest coffee shop in Brooklyn,” after transitioning to paper straws over the past year. Meanwhile down under, Australian cafe Single O has spent the year cutting down their waste overall, and educating their customers on the topic.
The plastic free movement has literally gone royal
Princess Eugene is putting on the first plastic-free royal wedding this coming October, after ridding her house of plastic and becoming a ambassador for Project 0, an environmental organization aiming to protect the ocean. And the Queen is on board too— she banned plastic straws and bottles in all the royal estates.
image via Green Matters
Cities are banning (or charging for) plastic bags
While Rwanda has banned plastic bags for the past decade, other cities and countries across the world are jumping on the bandwagon. Washington DC has been charging for plastic bags since 2009, while San Francisco completely banned plastic bags in 2007, as well as other initiatives across the country and world. Even the small town my parents live in banned plastic bags last year! It’s inspiring to see cities take action in this way.
So what’s next? Whether it’s plastic balloons or something else, it gives me hope to see so much momentum over the past year in making strides against plastic use. And hey, if it’s good enough for the Queen… I’ll take it!