Shouldn’t we do everything we can to eliminate single use plastics? Single use plastics are simply plastics we use once, like our plastic cups for iced drinks, or straws. As it turns out plastic straws are one of the biggest culprits of single use plastics. Did you know that Americans go through 170-390 million plastic straws a day? We thought that was crazy! So here at Jack Mormon Coffee we set out to find more environmentally friendly alternatives to our single use plastics. So far the simplest single use plastic for us to replace was, the straw. We learned a lot while looking for the perfect solution to our problem. Paper straws seemed like the most eco friendly solution, however they have a tendency to get too soggy when sitting in liquid for too long. So we thought maybe we should look at biodegradable plastic straws.
As it turns out the term ‘biodegradable’ doesn’t mean it is the best option for our environment. When an item is labeled ‘biodegradable’, it means the item will degrade (break down) through naturally occurring microorganisms like bacteria or fungi. However, this does not mean that the item will not leave behind toxic residue, and there is no set timeline in which the item must break down in order for it to be labeled “biodegradable”. This means a “biodegradable” plastic can leave behind toxins and stick around for a long time before it breaks down.
Though much more research we learned that, other than ‘reusable’ plastics, ‘compostable’ plastics are the next best thing. When a plastic is ‘compostable’ it means, the plastic is" capable of undergoing biological decomposition in a compost site as part of an available program, such that the plastic is not visually distinguishable and breaks down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass, at a rate consistent with known compostable materials (e.g. cellulose), and leaves no toxic residue." according to the American Society for Testing & Material. The ‘compostable’ plastic must also break down with in 180 days in a commercial facility.
In conclusion we learned a ‘biodegradable’ plastic may break down using natural methods, yet it may also leave behind toxic residue. When a plastic is ‘compostable’, it will completely breakdown without any toxic residue, the compost could even support plant growth. Here at the Jack Mormon Coffee Co. we found a wonderful ‘commercially compostable’ plastic straw for all of our customers to use, helping us all cut back on our single use plastics. Even though our straws are compostable, the best way to cut back on waste is to either not use a straw at all or to get yourself a reusable straw, or a reusable coffee cup. Remember if you bring in your own coffee cup you will receive $0.25 off your drink order.