Our environment is in danger with the amount of single-use plastic polluting our beaches and oceans. Solutions regarding this problem are being thought out and put in place. The Reuse Revolution is a growing movement created to find ways to reuse sustainable materials instead of throwing away plastics.
What is the Reuse Revolution?
The reuse revolution is a step in the direction for our environment. Plastic pollution is everywhere you look. This revolution was a movement created to reduce the amount of single – use plastic and increase the amount of material we reuse. This alone will benefit our economy and start putting pollution to a halt.
Communities, progressive businesses, and local governments are stepping up with solutions centered around reduction and reuse. There are water refill stations at more airports and other public places. You can even get discounts at some retailers for bringing your own bags and at coffee shops for bringing your own reusable mug. There are markets full of plastic-free produce and grains. Not everyone has access to bulk stores, which provide plastic free shopping, but more are popping up around the world.
Why was the Reuse Revolution created?
The answer here is easy. Our environment is polluted with too much plastic; majority of that is single-use plastic. We will never be able to recycle enough to get out of this hole. Instead it is the big corporations that need to take the blame for all of the throwaway plastic. It’s clear that if corporations do not do their part and replace single-use packaging with refillable and reusable alternatives, they will become increasingly irrelevant in a new economy.
If you think about all the convenience materials there are in our world you will see the issue. We are too focused on what is convenient versus how it saves our environment. We as a society have a bad habit of using single-use plastics and other cheap disposables, that we do not realize how big of a problem it has become. If we start focusing on reducing our consumption on single use plastics and more on reusing what we already have then that is a step in the right direction.
What can we do?
The funny thing is, so many of you are unintentionally contributing to this movement. When you decide to shop at stores without plastic packaging, take your reusable bottle with you on the go and bring your own bags to the farmers market you are helping. Also, when you intentionally replace single-use plastic with reusable alternatives and stop buying food in plastic packaging that is another contribution. If you are not already doing so, these are some ways that you can get involved with this movement. Additionally, you can take your reusable lunch boxes with you on the go! With your lunchbox always with you, you don't have to buy takeout or take food to go in plastic packaging.
You can even take it a step further and ask companies to be aware of their use of single-use plastics and try to implement a solution to fixing it. In 2018, Trader Joe’s announced that they will be cutting down on their use of plastic, and reducing their consumption of plastic by roughly 4 million pounds each year. More than half of the plastic is from the produce department. Removing the packaging will allow for produce to be cheaper and the chain will be able to save more money.
In a press release, the company explained:
“A fundamental focus of sustainability is maintaining product integrity and preventing food waste. We strive to balance the key role packaging plays in this effort with the overall impact packaging has on the ecosystem, as we approach making any changes. We are also aware that the realistic opportunities for recycling materials, along with differing understandings of what is the “best choice” for sustainability, makes this work complex. While most of the plastic in our packaging has the highest recyclability acceptance rate in the U.S., reducing the amount of plastic packaging in our stores is another important focus of our sustainability.“
Trader Joe’s isn’t the only business that is taking action to lower the use of single-use plastic. Greenpace global, independent campaigning organization that uses peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions assessed 20 major U.S. supermarkets. Some of those major chains include Walmart, ALDI, Trader Joe’s, Kroger, Giant Eagle and Sprouts. This assessment shows their efforts to reduce the amount of single-use plastic in their stores. All 20 received failing scores, but ALDI was on the top of the list with a score of 34.6/100 for making the most improvement to date.
ALDI is in the top simply because of its efforts to reduce single-use plastics in its stores. They have a target goal they are trying to reach, but this goal includes lightweighting (using less plastic for certain items). Just like Trader Joe’s, they have more control over their brand when it comes to reducing the use of single-use plastic. Eventually, both stores will need to find ways to start implementing the reuse and refill options.
What our future looks like
The goal here is to demand that corporations reduce their plastic footprints. We need them to move away from the single-use plastic business model and start investing in refill and reuse; a way towards a sustainable future. According to Greenpeace, we can do this in a number of ways. By using affordable, non toxic, convenient, durable and simple materials companies can help solve our pollution crisis.
This is to say, if more companies like ours implemented reuse and refill materials our daily life would look different. For example, we could go to grocery stores or farmers markets and bring our bags. We could also refill our water bottles at refill stations and coffee cups at local coffee shops. Some stores have already implemented the refill glass milk jugs. All it takes is a little effort and time from the big companies to make these changes.
We are already on a good path with implementing reusable products in our lifestyle here at ecozoi along with plastic-free packaging. It is up to you to join the reuse revolution movement with us. With this action, together we are moving in the right direction towards a more sustainable way of life.