This past week, Franke Foodservice Solutions team members participated in the Plastic Free July Challenge to reduce our consumption of single-use plastics. It was tough.
We started the challenge with most of us forgetting day one, because weekend, so we were off to a rough start. Things did improve and we opened our eyes to how many single-use plastic bottles/cups, bags, food containers/utensils, and so on, we consume in a week without even realizing.
Read on for our tips to reduce consumption of single-use plastics and some shared learnings from our team.
Our Tips for reducing single-use plastic:
- Do you love drinking water, coffee, and/or tea? Us too. Grab a reusable beverage vessel and keep it with you at work or when you are out and about. Make that your new habit. One of our favorite reusable cups for coffee around the office is the Keep Cup. It is made from glass and is a great alternative to throwing away cups and lids each morning.
- California and Hawaii have statewide bans on the use of single use plastic bags. In the case of Austin, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle their ban applies only to the city. Still more cities/counties decided to attach a fee to plastic bags instead of an outright ban. This encourages customers to use reusable bags or pay a small fee for the use of the single-use plastic bag. So, next time you’re at the grocery store pretend you will be charged for those plastic bags when you shop. You can “save money”, and keep a plastic bag from ending up in a landfill or the ocean. Go you! Read more about state and county bans on plastic bags.
- Forget your bottles, bags, etc.? We get it because we aren’t perfect either. Recycle them instead of tossing them in the trash. And remember, those single-use plastic bags at the grocery store are not normally recyclable in your weekly pick up. Many grocery stores and chains provide a bin for recycling those bags only, so be on the lookout the next time you take a trip to the store so you know where you can drop them back off. Target offers recycling stations at all of their locations for plastic bags. Your mindfulness counts.
We persevered amidst our single-use plastic fails. Here is what some of our employees had to say after the challenge:
“I have to have a diet coke a day. I bought a bottle on my way home last night without even thinking! I didn’t realize what a habit it was. How does one get their diet coke a day and minimize their use of single-use plastic?”
“I remembered on Sunday as I was dragging multiple plastic bags into the house from the grocery store… each of them containing four items or less. However, to make up a little, my girls and I chose not to use a plastic lid and straw during our lunch outing. It sparked great conversation.”
“I failed day one as I stopped for refreshment while out running errands. I’m a creature of habit and embarrassed to admit how much single-use plastic I consume without blinking an eye. This challenge has forced me to become more aware of my actions. ‘Do I really need XYZ? If so, did I remember my reusable bottle or bag? If yes, proceed.’ It’s been a positive learning experience overall.”
“I buy pre-made salad bowls to eat for lunch during the week. I didn’t realize how much plastic I was using - just during lunchtime! I definitely would like to find another option for lunch if I can. Any suggestions?”
“I hadn't even realized how many things really come in plastic, where we don't have the option for anything else. Groceries in plastic bags, single serve drinks, even yogurt containers! It's definitely made me realize how important a role in recycling can play with these opportunities. I can't always pledge not to use plastic, but I CAN pledge to recycle those products when they have to be used.”
“A challenge like this really forces an awareness of what I'm carrying food and drink with. For instance: I always use washable containers when I bring a sandwich for lunch, but I often use plastic bags to bring chips or pretzels or other snack foods. If I could find an alternative to that, I'd be set.”