Science and Tech


What Can We Do To Avoid Plastic?

Plastic bags can take up to 20 years to decompose. So we asked the experts: What can we do to avoid plastic?
Posted at 5:02 PM, Nov 17, 2020

Sustainable living is hard enough. Now add the pressures of a global pandemic and all bets are off. So we tracked down some experts and asked: What can we do to avoid plastic? 

"Forty percent of the plastic that we produce is for packaging. It's a huge, huge percentage," Jocelyn Quarrell, the CEO and Owner of Go Box, told Newsy. 

"So when we go to supermarkets... try to buy things in bulk, maybe bring your own containers, bring your own bags," Alexander Furey, the founder of Zero Waste Mindset, said.

"Rather than continuing to use more energy, produce more greenhouse gas emissions to take these materials through a recycling process, let's just capture it in its current usable state and cycle it back into the system," Quarrell said. "And that's what Go Box is trying to plug it into. Go Box is based in Portland. And we are a tech-enabled zero waste system that provides reusable containers and cups as a service. So these containers are on demand, they're in-house at these food vendors. They're sort of ready and waiting for folks, so people don't have to remember to bring something with them before they order takeout."

"We actually need to move away from ownership and buying," Furey said. "We need to start leasing."

"Look up Loop," Quarrell said. "They're a company that's working with large consumer packaged-good firms like Unilever, Procter & Gamble to offer their products in reusable vessels, so you can get, like, Head & Shoulders in a reusable bottle for your bathroom. And when you're done with it, you just ship it back to them. But I mean, just to be real, it's very difficult in this moment to avoid plastic. So don't put too much pressure on yourself."   

View more videos from our series "Simple Steps to Sustainability," where experts from around the world give us their tips and tricks on how to live more sustainably.