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Your coffee cup needs a climate rating, too

By illuminem briefings 🌎

Sep 12 2023 · 1 min read

Illuminem Voices
Sustainable Lifestyle · Wellbeing · illuminemX

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Washington Post or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: Valued at $1 trillion, the global packaging industry produces vast waste
• Public understanding of the environmental impacts of materials like aluminum, glass, and plastic remains skewed, as seen in the recent U.S. debate on iced coffee packaging choices, emphasizing the ambiguity around sustainability

🔭 The context: While plastic pouches are lauded for their efficient production, they face criticism for low recyclability
• Contrarily, glass, often deemed eco-friendly, carries a significant carbon footprint from its creation and transit

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: Selecting appropriate packaging can minimize environmental harm, however, public perception doesn't always align with facts
• The eco-friendliness of biodegradable plastics, for example, is debated when accounting for factors like production energy and recyclability

⏭️ What's next: States should play a more significant role in offering clear guidance to the public
• Necessary actions are: standardizing waste supply chains, conducting impartial studies, and emphasizing on reducing waste through strategies like reusable cups

💬 One quote: “The confusion is understandable, because both the packaging industry and its critics have long traded on dubious claims and questionable judgments that have as much to do with vibes and marketing as solid science.” (David Fickling, Bloomberg opinion columnist) 

📈 One stat: Less than 1% of flexible packaging gets recycled, compared to more than 40% of rigid packaging, according to a 2019 book on the subject

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