Wholesale Information


There is Now a Ton of Plastic Trash for Every Person on Earth

plastic trash

A new study released data on all the plastics ever made, and the findings are alarming. More than 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced since 1950 and over half the plastic ever produced was made in the past 13 years.

We have heard some pretty staggering facts related to single-use waste, and they’re so overwhelming that we’ve become desensitized in a way. But this one is hard to comprehend: There is now one ton of plastic garbage for every person on Earth. A study by ScienceAdvances released in July gathered global data on the lifecycle of plastic. They studied data on the production, use, and end-of-life management of plastic components for the first global analysis of all mass-produced plastics ever manufactured.

The Facts

The study estimates that of the 8,300 million metric tons of plastics have been produced and about 6,300 million metric tons has reached the end of its useful life and is now considered trash. Shockingly, only 9% of it has been recycled, 12% was incinerated, and 79% polluted landfills or the environment. If the trend continues, about 12,000 million tons of plastic waste will be in landfills or in the environment by 2050.

The study also found that plastic production is rapidly accelerating and single-use plastic packaging is now the largest plastic market. The world has made as much plastic in the past 13 years it did in the previous 50.

What to do?

Immerse yourself in plastic pollution news. Connect with people and organizations advocating for reducing plastic waste like Break Free From Plastic. Take the pledge to reduce single-use plastic at Plastic Pollution Coalition:

REFUSE disposable plastic whenever and wherever possible. Choose items that are not packaged in plastic, and carry your own bags, containers and utensils. Say ‘no straw, please.’

REUSE durable, non-toxic straws, utensils, to-go containers, bottles, bags, and other everyday items. Choose glass, paper, stainless steel, wood, ceramic and bamboo over plastic.

REDUCE your plastic footprint. Cut down on your consumption of goods that contain excessive plastic packaging and parts. If it will leave behind plastic trash, don’t buy it.

RECYCLE what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse. Pay attention to the entire life cycle of items you bring into your life, from source to manufacturing to distribution to disposal.

Get serious about being part of the movement to eliminate single-use plastic. Learn more here.

Image credit: Justin Hofman.

Four Reasons We Love Bulk Bin Shopping

bulk bin shopping

Buying food and personal care products in bulk is catching on as the zero-waste movement is becoming more mainstream. It’s becoming so popular that you can buy almost anything in bulk (just ask Bea Johnson) including dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, spices, olive oil, honey, coffee, wine and nut butter. Why we love bulk bin shopping:

1. Bulk ingredients are less expensive

Why pay for your food and your packaging every time you shop? One benefit of bulk bin shopping is that it reduces all the hidden costs associated with packaging. In addition to the cost of the actual packaging production and materials, packaged food costs more because of package design, marketing, and transportation costs due to packaging weight and bulkier sizes of packaged foods. Then there’s the waste-hauling costs we pay to throw the package in the trash or recycling. Considering the lifecycle of a food package, it’s pretty silly to pay for all these ad-ons when we can just buy our food unpackaged.

2. Bulk ingredients are better for you

Eliminating packaging also means that your food isn’t sitting in small plastic bags, plastic bottles or plastic-lined paper bags for months before you purchase it. The Environmental Working Group says some plastics contain “ingredients or additives we know are harmful, like the plastics chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) and the plastic softeners called phthalates.” Shopping in bulk using your own stainless steel containers, cloth bags or glass jars means less surface area is in contact with plastic at the supplier, in transit, at the grocery store, in your kitchen, and ultimately in your food.

3. Buying in bulk reduces waste

Almost one-third of the trash generated by Americans is attributed to packaging, and all of that plastic waste is on the Earth somewhere and always will be. Our reliance on disposable packaging is overwhelming our planet: By 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight. Remembering reusable bags and containers when going to the market is a high-impact way to positively affect the health of the planet. Look for containers that have etched tare weights to make checkout seamless for you and the market (the container’s weight is easily deducted at checkout).

tare weight bulk bins

4. Buying in bulk gives you more control over quantity

Ever just need a teaspoon of an unusual spice for a recipe but end up buying a whole jar and never use what’s leftover? Ever want to try a new shampoo or coffee but don’t want to buy the entire bottle or bag? The NRDC says “40 percent of food in the United States today goes uneaten.” Bulk bin shopping is a great solution to help reduce food waste, as well as other household products. Buy as little or as much as you need.

Our favorite places to shop in bulk (and get inspiration):

Good Earth Natural Foods in Fairfax

Package-Free Shop in Brooklyn

The Refill Shoppe in Ventura

in.gredients in Austin

The Source Bulk Foods in Australia

Zero-Waste Market coming soon in Vancouver

Bepakt index of package-free markets

Zero-Waste Grocery Shopping Tips from Zero-Waste Home

Bulk Finder App, to find bulk locations while you travel, also from Zero-Waste Home

Where to Shop is a state-by-state guide for bulk shopping, package-free foods and household goods from Litterless

There are many more! Do you have a favorite to add to the list? Let us know at reuse@ukonserve.com.

Image from 3 Chairs.