So… you’re sick and tired of finding plastic cups, wrappers, and tidbits when you’re cleaning up your favorite beach or park? Same. That’s why I made this TikTok where I cleaned up my local beach, and then wrote to the companies who’s product packaging I found.
In case you haven’t seen it yet, check it out here 👇👇👇
Several of you asked for the script that I wrote out in the “Contact Us” section of these company’s websites. Well, here you go! Feel free to copy / paste and adjust as you’d like.
I’m writing to you to share what I found on my weekly beach cleanup today, a plastic wrapper from one of your products (see photo attached). I’m sure you’ve heard the alarming statistics of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and how many metric tons of plastic enter our oceans each year, and I’m here to ask that you be part of the solution and no longer part of the problem.
Creating sustainable packaging is a win-win-win scenario! As I’m sure you know, the new Generation Z is 70% more likely to buy from a brand who’s committed to social impact than one who is not. By creating sustainable packaging, you win this potential customer, leave little to no trace on our environment (like my beaches), and overall do the right thing as a responsible corporation.
How about investing your annual R+D dollars into creating reusable or compostable packaging? Your company could be the one who creates the first groundbreaking food-safe and marine degradable plastic alternative, and set the industry standard, doesn’t that excite you!? I would DEFINITELY support that type of business as a customer.
Overall, I am asking, what are you as a company doing to be part of the solution towards a sustainable future? I really appreciate your consideration on this issue and hope to hear back from you.
And here’s how they responded:
Here are my thoughts:
Straws are not the *only* problem.
While plastic straws are extremely (actually nearly impossible) to recycle, and therefore should be eliminated, they are not the problem. How can we look at a plastic cup, lid, and straw, and only think that the straw is the problem? It’s the whole caboodle! So while Starbucks’ response solely addressed the fact that I found a straw on the beach, the solution need to holistically address the 4+ BILLION CUPS that Starbucks produces ANNUALLY. Each year, companies invest serious dollars into research and development to come up with new products and better understand their potential customers. Why not invest that money into compostable, marine degradable packaging? The science is out there, these companies just need to back it.
They know their packaging isn’t recyclable, but use it anyway
Check out Frito Lay’s response..
“For recycling purposes, it is a mixed plastics #7 which is not accepted by most recycling centers.”
How can it be for recycling purposes if it’s not recyclable? What frustrates me the most, is that these companies well-knowingly continue to offer their goods in single-use disposable packaging, just as much as they know about the Plastic Pollution Crisis. Check out the table below to see what a Plastics #7 even is:
To wrap it up, there is power and responsibility on both ends. We as customers control the “demand” side of “supply and demand.” If we choose not to purchase these products as a form of protesting until these companies innovate sustainable alternatives, their sales will be affected and they then will take responsibility and make change. Unfortunately, the only way a company will change is when it starts to hit their wallet. Instead of being the industry leader and investing the necessary funds to create the desired compostable, marine-degradable packaging, they will follow what every other company does because it’s the “industry standard.”
By now, I hope we can all agree that recycling is not the solution. With terrifying statistics like only 9% of the plastic in the US ever gets recycled, we need to stop creating single-use packaging out of a material that’s made to last for 450+ years.
if you want to learn more about recycling, and how the fossil fuel / petrochemical industries knew from the beginning that it wasn’t a viable solution, I highly recommend that you read this NPR article.
What products did you find while cleaning up your beach / neighborhood? Did you reach out to the companies? What was their response? Let me know at @re.laurenferree!
FIND MORE ENVIRONMENTAL TIPS & TRICKS BY LAUREN AT WWW.RELAUREN.COM, @RE.LAURENFERREE ON INSTAGRAM, AND RELAUREN ON TICK TOCK!
|Lauren Ferree (ReLauren) is an environmentalist and video producer from Los Angeles. Being born + raised in California, Lauren has always had an affinity to the beach and ocean, and protecting these playgrounds was her entry into the environmental space as she plugged into the Surfrider Foundation. She then received a post-grad certificate at UCLA in Sustainability, which switched her activism into high gear. She has dedicated her social media channels to educating others on plastic pollution and the climate crisis, while sharing inspiring sustainable steps we as individuals can do to raise our voices, demand action, and be the change we wish to see in the world. Lauren also loves cooking delicious plant-based meals, hanging in her mom’s oasis of a garden, snagging a rad thrifted find, and good ole conversations with friends (typically shared over a warm cup of coffee).|