Sustainability is a hot topic, which means the spotlight is on brands and how they are approaching the trend of going green. Most consumers would be surprised to learn that they can’t recycle those paper Starbucks cups because they are actually lined with polyethylene plastic. In the end, those cups are sorted out at the recycling plant and end up in a landfill. Of course, an easy way for consumers to help reduce waste would be to use a reusable cup from Starbucks. However, only 1.8% of Starbucks customers buy and use those reusable cups. In the U.K, the matter is being taken in to the hands of the government rather than the companies with disposable coffee cups. They are considering taxing disposable coffee cups, which could raise the average coffee trip for U.K consumers up 35 cents. The U.S hasn’t considered bringing this tax into the works, but if the bag tax is any indicator, it might be here sooner than we think.
Brands that are starting to feel the pressure to go green surprisingly include McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. McDonald’s has promised consumers that the company with be fully sustainable by 2025. The plan to reach full sustainability by 2025 includes all guest packing being made from 100% recyclable materials and recycling in all stores. In a similar attempt, Coca-Cola is launching their own plan called “World Without Waste.” They’re promising to recycle one bottle for every bottle sold until 2030. The company also said that they would like to create a bottle made from 100% recycle materials.
The direction brands are taking to become sustainable is definitely positive, but let’s not forget what we can do to make a difference as consumers. Starbucks offers their guests 10 cents off their beverage of choice when they supply a reusable cup. Stores like Target, Whole Foods, and Trader Joes will pay you for bringing reusable bags. If you’re really feeling like you want to cut down on waste, mason jars can be used at Whole Foods or Trader Joes for their non-packaged goods, there is an abundance of recipes on Pinterest for homemade cleaning supplies and beauty products, and reducing the amount of energy used in your home can make a big difference.
U.S consumers need to look for new ways to become sustainable before more waste-oriented taxes start coming our way. But the good news is consumers seem to be eager to help keep our planet looking good longer.