Today’s Solutions: December 01, 2021

According to Statista, more than half a trillion plastic bottles will be produced this year, the vast majority of which will escape the recycling loop and end up in landfills, polluting the environment.

In an effort to do its part, supermarket chain New Seasons Market has decided to remove single-use plastic water bottles from its shelves. Instead, the grocery store will encourage reuse by providing customers with water in reusable bottles.

New Seasons Market, whose stores are primarily found in Oregon, and New Leaf Community Markets, its California-based subsidiary, will kick off the initiative on Earth Day, April 22. “We’ve been thinking about packaging in general for a long time,” says sustainability manager Athena Petty, who began devising a strategy to eliminate bottled water from store shelves two years ago.

“Just removing plastic takes away the opportunity to drive the real message, which is, we shouldn’t be thinking about using things once, period,” Petty says. “What we need to do as a culture is change behavior to one that really supports reuse and preventing waste before it becomes an issue in the first place.”

After conducting an analysis about which packaging to eliminate, the stores decided to keep on selling larger plastic jugs of still and sparkling water, while removing smaller single-use bottles that can be easily substituted with tap water. If a customer still prefers a small bottle of water, the supermarket offers a reusable option from Pathwater. There are also in-store refill stations.

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