We Want To Reduce the Use of Plastic
Plastic is a marvelous product with a variety of uses. One of those uses is packaging. Many of the products that we purchase and consume are packaged in some type of plastic. Most times this will be a single use plastic, such as plastic wrap, bags or ties. Even liquid containers (plastic bottles) are single use in that there are only a limited number of plastic bottles we can save to use in some other way.
Recycling of plastic is not much of an answer either. According to a Consumer Report article, less that 9% of the plastic we use ends up being recycled(1). There are two primary reasons for plastic not being recycled.
The first is that is is not economically advantageous to do so. The different forms of plastic require different methods to recycle. This means that you need to sort the plastics carefully in order to get to the plastic you wish to recycle(2). I don’t know about you but just my recycling alone would require some effort to sort the different types of plastics. On an industrial level the labor costs often makes the price of recycling unrealistic when compared to creating the product new.
The second is that many products that contain plastic are extremely difficult to recycle(3). So called mixed or composite materials combine plastics with other products, such as paper or metal foils. These are then used as wrappers or containers. One example is our current coffee bag. It is a mix of plastic and paper. If you order from us we ship our coffee in this bag. We heat seal it once we fill it and you open it and can keep the coffee fresh by using the “zipper” that is integrated into the bag. It keeps the coffee fresh from the time we ship it to you until you are finished using up all the coffee. But try to separate the plastic out of this bag. You can’t. The cost of doing so would prohibit it from being recycled, it is much cheaper to make a new one with new or virgin plastic. Even in you throw this bag into your recycling bin, it will not get recycled.
What this means is that most plastic ends up in a landfill, on the side of the road or in a waterway. A tremendous amount of our plastic waste is finds its way into our water streams and ends up in the ocean. The threat to wildlife and our environment is a problem. There is also a growing awareness of microplastic. Small particles of plastic as is breaks down that find its way into water and eventually into our food and then in our bodies. Science is just beginning to measure the impact that such microplastics has on our health. And if it isn’t getting recycled it means that it has to break down over time, just like anything else we discard.
The best way we can help to reduce plastic waste is to not use plastic when we can use some other product.
Westminster Street Coffee would love to encourage you to reduce your plastic use whenever possible. Towards that end we are offering a reduction in the price we charge for our coffee if you get it shipped to you in a plain paper bag. Even if you don’t recycle it, the paper bag will break down without any thing near the environmental impact of plastic. If you select to get your coffee shipped to you in a paper bag, we will discount each bag of coffee by 1 dollar for a 12oz bag and 75 cents for an 8oz bag.
This is a sample of how you would receive your coffee. It will have a simple label. We have found that we need to seal the bag with a small piece of packing tape, so the plastic is not completely gone, but is significantly reduced. If you remove the tape, you should be able to add this bag to any paper recycling you currently do and it will be more recyclable than most packaging. Once you get your coffee you could move it into a re-usable storage container.