On one day in 2008, more than a half-million volunteers in 100 countries collected 11.4 million items of trash along the world’s waterways. What were the top two items collected? They were cigarettes/filters at 28% and plastic bags at 12% of the total.
What about the types of single-use foodservice products that are used in your restaurants and that my company, Solo Cup Company, makes? Unfortunately, food wrappers/containers, caps/lids, straws/stirrers and cups/plates/cutlery all made the top 10, comprising collectively 24% of the items recovered.
What is Solo doing about it and how can each of us help? This year, Solo became a sponsor of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. The Ocean Conversancy’s mission includes promoting healthy ocean ecosystems through research, education and science-based advocacy. The organization’s annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) engages volunteers to remove trash and debris from the world’s beaches and waterways, and identifies the sources of debris. This year’s ICC takes place September 25, and Ocean Conservancy volunteers have organized cleanups at oceans, rivers, lakes and streams all around the world. (Click here to find out if there’s a cleanup near you.) I’m proud to say that Solo employees will be volunteering at clean-up sites across the country. We’re cleaning up beaches, rivers and other waterways near our corporate headquarters and facilities in Winnetka, Ill., Springfield, Ill., Conyers, Ga., Federalsburg, Md., Owings Mills, Md., and Ada, Okla.
Reducing the impact of foodservice products on the natural environment is one big way we can work together to create value for our customers and improve the communities where we live and work. Please join Solo Cup Company in getting informed, inspired and engaged to reduce trash in our oceans and waterways and reduce the threats to wildlife, human health and coastal economies.
Kim Frankovich is VP of sustainability at Solo Cup Company, and is responsible for addressing sustainability in Solos operations, products and partnerships.