Cities across Amer­ica have been imple­ment­ing bans on plas­tic bags, plas­tic straws, poly­styrene and other mate­ri­als used for food and bev­er­ages.

Retail and food­ser­vice estab­lish­ments have seen oper­at­ing costs rise along with alter­na­tive pack­ag­ing costs.

Con­sumer expec­ta­tions are higher and grow­ing in the realm of single-​use, dis­pos­able items, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to take out foods. Lit­ter and waste are not the only two con­sid­er­a­tions.

The gen­eral pub­lic is sen­si­tive to the envi­ron­men­tal and human health issues related to the overuse of plas­tics. Overuse of the seduc­tive one and done, throw-​aways is get­ting national atten­tion.

In sev­eral cities, cus­tomers must request plas­tic straws for drinks. Some have begun to carry their own bam­boo or metal straws to juice joints. We are all, by now, accus­tomed to pro­vid­ing our own reusable tote bags for shop­ping at retail stores.

Var­i­ous stud­ies sug­gest that forty three per­cent of all marine lit­ter pol­lut­ing our oceans is made up of just ten types of single-​use plas­tic items. Food con­tain­ers, take-​away bev­er­age cups and lids, cut­lery (includ­ing plates, stir sticks and straws), pack­ets and wrap­pers, bev­er­age bot­tles, and car­rier bags are the bulk of it.

While recy­cling and com­post­ing are noble prac­tices, the man­date on busi­nesses is to reduce and reuse.

We can­not recy­cle our way out of the shear vol­ume of dis­pos­able food ware prod­ucts cur­rently in use.

Some cities favor tax­ing end users on take out and sin­gle use con­tain­ers. Ban­ning or tax­ing use imposes more respon­si­bil­ity on restau­rants, schools and retail­ers.

Pop­u­lar home meal kits are not exempt from the too much food pack­ag­ing dilemma. From card­board and ice packs to Sty­ro­foam and plas­tics, there are a hand­ful of meal deliv­ery ser­vices that are in front of pro­vid­ing reusable con­tain­ers or recy­clable mate­ri­als.

Con­spic­u­ous con­sump­tion seems to have leaked into con­spic­u­ous waste. When did it become okay to buy things for per­sonal use and casu­ally toss away the wrap­pers? A daily cup of cof­fee or a din­ner salad kit should not con­sis­tently add to the weekly trash bas­ket.

Life made eas­ier and more con­ve­nient does not exclude per­sonal respon­si­bil­ity. Take a portable water bot­tle or cup for bev­er­ages and refills. Use glass jars and glass bowls for stor­ing left­over foods and ingre­di­ents. Take out included. Con­scious choices are chang­ing indus­try demand.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.
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