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Goodness Matrix 101: Sustainable Materials

Goodness Matrix 101: Sustainable Materials

Prelude: This is the second in a series of blog posts designed to provide greater insight into specific elements of the Goodness Matrix and why we think they are important. As previously mentioned, the Goodness Matrix is divided into 5 categories, one of which is focused on initiatives geared toward a healthy planet. One of the questions in the “Planet Positive” section is, “Does your company use sustainable materials in products or packaging?”

At Good Bumblebee, we find all efforts to be more sustainable in terms of natural resources and the planet applaudable. Particularly, we believe the efforts to reduce plastic use by our partners, from manufacturing to shipping, will have a big – POSITIVE – impact in the long run.

In some cases, federal regulations actually require plastic as part of packaging. In other cases, the product itself is whole, clean, and organic… but it is wrapped in plastic because that’s the most economical way to get it to the customer at a reasonable price. These impediments do not mean improvements haven’t been or aren’t being made. Many of us are putting our heads together to find workarounds to the really tough plastic conundrums, and in the meantime we do the best we can.

We have a LOT to reverse in terms of plastic damage to the planet and a very small window of time to do it in. Single-use plastics are one of the largest threats to our oceans. I admire the directness of the statement by the Plastic Pollution Coalition: “Plastic is a substance the Earth cannot digest.” They also estimate that by the year 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight. To me, that is disheartening and a very sickening thought.

Thai Grocer Banana Leaf Veggie Wrap - Courtesy Perfect Homes Chiangmai In an effort to slow down this nightmare scenario, some of our partners have opted to offer their products in glass or metal. Some choose plastic-free alternatives to shipping supplies. The search for alternatives to multi-layer flexible plastic packaging like those used for chip bags or dog food bags is ongoing and the outcome of studies on casein (milk protein)-based wrappers may provide help. The photo of vegetables shown (above or to the right depending on your device) illustrates the simple and Earth-friendly approach of a grocer in Thailand using banana leaves instead of plastic for product wrap. Small steps make a difference and Good Bumblebee celebrates each of our partners who is actively seeking to reduce plastic usage!

 

And how can we as individuals contribute? It’s easy! Refuse single-use plastics – even in just a few areas – to make an immediate, tangible impact. Are you attached to using that plastic straw? Are you willing to carry a reusable water bottle, perhaps one made of glass or stainless steel? How about stocking up on reusable grocery and produce bags? Can you swap plastic wrap for something reusable and sustainable like Bees Wrap? These are all pretty easily implemented with little impact on you and a big impact on the Earth.

Taking action can feel so rewarding and so good! A simple way to get started is to purchase reusable eating and drinking utensils and use them instead of the disposable plastic spoons, forks, and cups provided by most restaurants. If you’re not ready to eat lunch with your own brought-from-home bamboo utensils, consider simply carrying and using your own insulated water bottle which eliminates one extra cup, lid, and straw from the ocean or landfill with every meal. You can do it!

Check out the video below narrated by actor Jeff Bridges on the negative effects of plastic, specifically single-use plastics, for a better understanding of why this is one of the tenets of the Good Bumblebee Goodness Matrix.

References
1. Thai grocer banana leaf image courtesy of Perfect Homes Chiangmai
2. "Small steps make a difference" quote courtesy of One Piece At A Time blog

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