Weight Weight… Don’t Tell Me!
California became the first state to place an outright ban on plastic bags last week. This is an awesome step forward in reducing the waste that comes from the single-use items which are an unfortunate part of many people’s daily habits. Kudos Cali!
In light of this, we decided to look at some of the other usual suspects that contribute to our nation’s sky-rocketing municipal solid waste problem. But first, some statistics:
- 32 million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2012, representing 12.7 percent of total MSW (municipal solid waste).
- In 2012, the United States generated almost 14 million tons of plastics as containers and packaging.
- Only 9 percent of the total plastic waste generated in 2012 was recovered for recycling.
While it would be wonderful to think that every recyclable item gets recycled, and every compostable thing gets composted - it’s simply not the case. Look in any public waste receptacle for proof. MSW or ‘municipal solid waste’ is how we measure trash and it’s a numbers game based on weight. A single-use plastic bag comes in at 0.2 ounces.
Here’s how some ordinary beverage containers weigh in:
- 16 oz. Water Bottle: 0.4 ounces
- 20 oz. Iced Coffee ‘Corn Cup’: 0.6 ounces
- "Venti" Hot Coffee Cup, Sleeve, and Lid: "0.9 ounces
Ditching disposable bags is a great start, but bags pail in comparison to single-use cups that can weigh more than 4x as much.
BUT… there’s good news! With cups, just like bags, there is a simple solution: BRING. YOUR. OWN. A single person using a reusable cup on a daily basis can prevent pounds of waste from ending up in landfills in a single year.
So B.Y.O. and be the change!