Everytime we choose to use a reusable straw instead of a plastic one, or a stainless steel cup instead of a disposable one, we are opting to change the way we do things.
As important as it is for the collective population to make these changes in daily habit to curb our obsession with single use plastics and disposable containers, it is even more important that companies adopt these policies. Major corporations are responsible for manufacturing and distributing multi-millions of disposable containers. These corporations have a big opportunity to use recycled plastics and other recyclable materials in packaging.
Here are 8 companies making us proud and leading the way to the change we need to save our oceans and environment.
Since 1985, Starbucks has been giving customers a discount when they bring their own personal tumblers in or use the “for-here serveware” available in stores. In 2013, Starbucks launched the $2 reusable cup program in the U.S. and Canada, and a £1 cup in the United Kingdom.
Starbucks in India introduced glass serveware for food and beverages across 163 stores in 10 cities. In addition, Starbucks India offers customers compostable wood cutlery, stirrers, paper cups, straws and lids for takeaway orders.
Each year, an estimated 600 billion paper and plastic cups are distributed globally, and though Starbucks cups only account for an estimated 1 percent of that total, Starbucks is invested in finding a more sustainable solution.
The Body Shop and M.A.C makeup encourages customers to return empty plastic packaging to stores in order to be recycled. The brand also purchased 250 tonnes of recycled plastic to use for their haircare bottles. This initiative can be found at 40 stores so far.
M.A.C’s program is to keep your empty M.A.C containers and if you accumulate six empty containers, you can get a free M.A.C lipstick, lipglass, or eye shadow.
Amazon is helping to develop a technology that mechanically sorts different grades of flexible plastic film to be recycled. Based on the success of this pilot, they plan to use this technology at 50 fulfillment centers. Through this program they plan to recycle over 7,000 tons of plastic film a year, in addition to the 1,500 tons of plastic waste already being recycled annually in Europe.
Amazon India is using 20% recycled plastic for packaging mailers and bubble bags. Today, less than 7% of packaging at Amazon India Fulfillment Centers includes single-use plastic.
“We want to eliminate 100% single-use plastic from our supply chain by June 2020,” says Akhil Saxena, VP, customer fulfilment, Amazon India.
Amazon in the United Kingdom is collecting the silicone backing paper from shipping labels which is estimated to divert 250 tons of this paper and convert it into animal bedding in 2019.
Zomato is a restaurant finder and food delivery app out of UAE, India, and Lebanon. Zomato has invested in co-developing packaging solutions and will soon launch an online marketplace with a network of suppliers for restaurants to easily procure eco-friendly packaging. These will be 100% naturally biodegradable units, largely consisting of sugarcane bagasse, bamboo, palm leaf and paper packaging.
L’Oréal has been a bit ahead of the sustainable movement because they have been creating sustainable packaging since 2007. The company ethics include the ‘3Rs’: respect the environment, reduce the amount of resources needed, and replace traditional materials in favor of alternatives that are recyclable and biodegradable. Now that is amazing work for our oceans and planet!
L’Oréal’s Sustainable Product Optimization Tool (SPOT) tool has saved 5,000 tons of bottles and caps waste between 2008 and 2017. Some of their product packaging are made from 100% recycled plastic. The packaging for Vichy’s Aqualia Thermal cream is composed of 10% recycled glass and its overall weight has been reduced by 44%. Good for you L’Oréal!
P&G says it will reduce use of virgin petroleum plastic packaging by 50% by 2030. They will do so by increasing the use of recycled plastic, which is estimated to avoid use of over 300,000 tons of virgin plastic.
The company’s fabric care, home care and hair care brands use recycled plastic (PCR) in laundry, shampoo, and dishwashing bottles. Today, 73% of P&G Fabric Care packaging in North America (including Tide, Gain, Downy) is recyclable. By 2023, P&G hopes to make over 99% of NA Fabric Care packaging recyclable.
Evian’s water bottles are 100% recyclable and will now make all of its plastic bottles from 100% recycled plastic by 2025. The company will accomplish this by redesigning its packaging, accelerating recycling initiatives, and cleaning up plastic waste from nature. Evian is committed to co-building the circular economy of packaging.
Walmart announced that 100% of its Private Brand packaging will be recyclable by 2025. Walmart encourages suppliers to participate in Project Gigaton, by setting goals to improve packaging optimization, recyclability, and the use of recycled and sustainably sourced materials to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
As the mother of four children, including a set of triplets, it is important to me that my family all honor the earth, giving back and preserving the health of our oceans by making small changes in everyday life. Since beginning Ocean Junkies, my entire family has a new conscious awareness of using plastic straws and utensils in restaurants and how it’s related to the trash we see on the beach. It is my hope that through Ocean Junkies and other wonderful activist websites, we can raise awareness about plastic pollution and increase sustainable living by re-using what we have already created and creating from biodegradable and compostable materials.