Eliminating Single-Use Plastics
With COVID-19, our world is rapidly evolving, yet the need to live in harmony with our environment has not changed.
For more information on COVID-19 response, the safety of reusables, and solutions that meet goals for both safety and sustainability, explore our COVID-19 Plastic-Free Guidelines.
When considering single-use plastic elimination, non-toxic reusables are the best choice for the health of our communities and shared blue planet.
Choosing reusables can save businesses money by reducing purchases! The pay-back period can be as short as a few weeks.
Case studies in the US show that restaurants can save up to $20k annually when going reusable (ReThink Disposable).
Reusable solution-providers are available globally for events, takeaway and dine-in, spanning from cup solutions to takeaway systems through to full-scale catering needs as identified throughout this guide.
Benefits of Choosing Non-Toxic Reuse
Upstream’s Reuse Wins report outlines research that makes the business case for reuse.
Reuse is the best choice for environmental protection:
- Waste Reduction
- Carbon Footprint Reduction
- Resource Conservation
Other benefits of adopting reuse:
- Non-Toxic Options
- Local & Collective Economies
When Reusables Are Not An Option
When reusables are not an option, choose disposable items that are compatible with local waste management infrastructure. It is important to consider how products need to be treated (composted, recycled, etc.) at their end-of-life when in the sourcing phase.
Consider what waste streams your business produces and what infrastructure is in place to manage those waste streams. Overall, explore home compostable materials like paper, wood, palm leaf, cardboard, agricultural byproducts, and fiber rather than single-use plastic. Avoid claimed biodegradable, bioplastic, and compostable plastic options, as they can be misleading and as harmful as conventional plastics in landfills in the environment. Consult Oceanic Global’s Greenwashing Guide for more information.
Avoid Products that Contain PFAS
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a diverse group of human-made chemicals commonly used in foodservice items (including fiber, cardboard, and paper materials) for resistance to grease, oil, water, and heat. PFAS is a “forever chemical” in the environment and the human body, meaning that it accumulates over time. Of concern, PFAS exposure can cause cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease and more (U.S. CDC).
For US businesses: Items that have the BPI certification are now required to be PFAS-free.
The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) put together an approved vendor database available HERE.