Updated: Jun 14, 2022
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In 2021 an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report declared 'code red for humanity' - meaning it is critical to focus our energy on the environment. The report, prepared by 234 scientists from 66 countries, highlights that human influence has warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2,000 years.
While reducing our waste, and creating a more circular environmental economy is only one part of the equation, it’s an important one. Countries across the globe are working together to ban and reduce the amount of single-use plastics we produce. Costa Rica has already taken action against plastic waste with a plan to ban all single-use plastics by 2021. This includes straws, bottles, cutlery, cups, and bags.
Canada is not far behind. The federal government has announced that Canadians can expect to see final regulations for single-use plastics come into effect by the end of 2022. This ban will require businesses, retailers, and restaurants across Canada to pivot quickly to ensure their businesses are not only compliant with these new regulations, but also sustainable and environmentally conscious. In Canada, 3.3 million tonnes of plastic end up in landfills each year, with plastic packaging making up half of that total. Scientists have predicted that if things don’t change, Canada will generate an additional 450,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste by 2030.
What can I do?
Always looking to the future; Greenlid offers plastic-free solutions. All of our products, including our cutlery and disposable tableware items, are fully compostable and biodegradable. We use natural materials like bamboo, birch, and palm leaf to ensure that our entire product line is outside of any future single-use plastic bans across North America.
Some of the biggest culprits in waste:
Plastic cutlery most often gets misplaced in the recycling stream. The small plastic falls through the sorting slots and will often end up in landfills. Sometimes the cutlery is made of “compostable” plastic, which means it cannot be recycled - but often gets thrown in the recycling bin. This type of plastic degrades the overall value of reusable plastic.
100% birch cutlery which comes from Sustainably Managed Forests. This product is 100% compostable and biodegradable.
Most cannot be recycled because of the plastic lining inside of the cup - they aren’t 100% paper, or 100% plastic - so will end up going to the landfill. The lids are often made from hard-to-recycle plastic (black plastic, for example) and will end up in landfills.
Bamboo and plant-fiber cups that are 100% compostable and coffee cup lids that are made from compostable plant-fiber.
Often found in take-out containers or grocery store hot food sections, these black plastic containers pose problems. First, the plastic is indistinguishable against the black recycling conveyor belt during the sorting process, so it ends up being transported to landfill. Secondly, it is hard to take pigment (black colour) out of plastic, which means this color downgrades the entire quality of the reusable plastic.
Black Plastic Solution:
Containers made from plant-fiber that can be composted. These containers can hold hot and cold foods, are oven and microwave safe, and are also free from harmful PFAs.
Where you cannot find truly compostable product, ensure that the plastic you are using is both recycled and recyclable so you are diverting plastic from landfills and not creating virgin plastic. A great example of this is RPET plastic. RPET plastics (recycled PET) are made from recycled plastic and are also recyclable. This type of plastic would have otherwise gone to landfill and can be recycled over and over again.