In this simple guide, we are going to discuss five current sustainability issues with food and drink culture, why they are problems, and what you can do to have a better personal impact.
Current problem: Plastic Straws
Why it is wrong: Experts predict that the UK disposes of over 8 billion straws per year, with the figure for the US estimated as being over 100 billion. The truth is that often we don’t need a straw to transport liquid 5 inches closer to our mouths, so why are we using so many? How long will it take to win the war on plastic straws? Earth’s oceans and landfill cannot continue to carry the burden.
The solution: Carry a metal straw with you and pressure the places you buy drinks from to switch over to paper straws.
Current problem: Plastic Bottles
Why it is wrong: A million plastic water bottles are purchased every minute around the globe. Less than 20% of those are recycled. You do the maths. It’s unsustainable.
The solution: Buy a reusable water bottle, encourage your local council to install more public fountains, and if you are going to buy bottled water, buy at least 5l bottles and decant it.
Current problem: Plastic Cutlery
Why it is wrong: Most plastic cutlery cannot be recycled because it’s contaminated by food, and a lot of plastic cutlery won’t be recycled because it gets thrown carelessly in the general waste bin with the food packaging. Plastic cutlery often ends up in waterways, causes harm to wildlife, and has a high carbon footprint. Think about it, the plastic travels all that way to be used for a few minutes and then condemned to the landfill forever!
The solution: When ordering food online, ask them not to include plastic cutlery. You can take your own cutlery with you wherever you go, try looking at camping stores for really cool sustainable cutlery alternatives. You can get a portable cutlery kit with everything, like a spoon, fork, knife, chopsticks, straw, and more!
Current problem: Tea bags
Why it is wrong: In the UK we are fortunate that teabags are able to be put in our food waste caddies, but that doesn’t solve the issue completely. A lot of tea bags come individually packaged, which is a nightmare. Even when they aren’t, teabags contain several chemicals such as epichlorohydrin, a nasty pesticide that is harmful to our immune systems. As well as that, many cheaper tea bags are bleached.
The solution: Get yourself a tea ball or tea strainer and switch over to loose-leaf tea.
Current problem: Coffee capsules
Why it is wrong: How could we write an article about sustainable eating and drinking and not mention the problem that we are working flat-out to solve? Disposable single-use plastic-metal hybrid coffee capsules are an environmental nightmare. The capability and technology to recycle all of these capsules properly do not yet exist, so even if they were separated, they’d still not be seen as a resource
The solution: Ola Coffee is one option, as our compostable pods are great for the environment and all of our packagings can be composted too. We’ve vetted the entire supply chain to make sure everything is sustainable. As an alternative, you can find refillable coffee capsules online to prevent even more waste.
Which of these tips are you ready to follow? Let us know!