- National Geographic spelled it out in alarming terms: The United States uses more than 36 billion disposable utensils a year. Laid end to end, they could wrap around the globe 139 times.
- Humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute in total. Only about 23% of plastic bottles are recycled within the U.S.
- Americans purchase about 50 billion water bottles per year, averaging about 13 bottles per month for every person in the U.S.! That means by using a reusable water bottle, you could save an average of 156 plastic bottles annually.
- It is estimated that 4 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide annually. Only 1% of plastic bags are returned for recycling. Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags annually. That’s about 307 bags per person!
- Half a million straws are used in the world every day.
- 500 billion disposable cups are consumed every year. Americans alone throw away 25 billion styrofoam coffee cups annually. Styrofoam cannot be completely recycled. Most of the Styrofoam disposed of today will still be present in landfills 500 years from now. UGH.
But it’s okay if it’s compostable, right?!
Unfortunately not : (
Oregon DEQ reviewed 18 years of life-cycle assessments, including over 1,200 comparisons and found use and disposal of compostable packaging to result in higher environmental impacts than that of non-compostable materials.
And last year, all of the compost manufacturing facilities that serve that state signed a letter stating they won’t accept compostable products. “These materials compromise our programs and limit many of the environmental benefits of successful composting,” read the letter.
Boulder’s compost travels 100 miles to be composted so if we’re stuffing our composts full of cups, containers and silverware, that’s a lot more miles being driven to dispose of it.
So, what CAN you do?
Create a ‘Go Bag’.
Mine consists of:
- Reusable silverware (I just bought everyone this cool rainbow silverware set consisting of knife, fork, spoon, straw, straw cleaner and even CHOPSTICKS!) It comes in black too if rainbow ain’t your thang.
- Collapsible tupperware (WARNING: Silicone takes the flavor of soap so DO NOT put it through the dishwasher. Unless of course you like the flavor of dishwasher detergent.)
- Silicone reusable (watertight) bag for leftovers. I obviously love the Nude Foods ones.
- To go coffee cup
- Metal water bottle
Keep it in your purse, in your backpack, on your bike or in your car so that you always have something. I even carry spares to share with friends.
I use mine at:
- The Farmers’ Market
- Food Trucks
- Coffee shops
- For leftovers at restaurants
- For any takeout
Most food service providers are happy to fill your container as it saves them money on providing you with one : )
And you’ll get to feel oh-so-smug when you whip out your tupperware to take those yummy leftovers in – BONUS!
Remember to post in the Facebook group today!