Addicted to (single use) plastic

Hotels and accommodation providers can easily be viewed as waste generators.  Everything is wrapped in plastic – often for safety and hygiene purposes – but there is plenty of unnecessary single use plastic that can be taken out of the waste stream.

But we are addicted to single use and single serve items – now rebranded as ‘portion control’ so we aren’t reminded of their short impactful lifespan. They are (seemingly) cheap at only a few cents per mini packet, convenient and have the appearance of being safer or more sanitary than their unwrapped alternatives.  But are they?

On a financial front, by weight single serve jam cost around double that of a regular 500g jar of jam. Single serve butter is almost triple the price of a 500g packet of the same.

On convenience, they take up a lot of storage space, they get half used or not used at all and end up in the bin. And they are very unsightly. Plus one mini jam isn’t quite enough for a slice of toast, but two is too much.

On safety and hygiene – if they are self serve items, you’ll have lots of sticky fingers in the bowl when anyone picks one up, spreading germs from one tiny packet to the next.

And as for the environment – we all know they are a nightmare. Two pieces of plastic per serve – too small to recycle so they end up in the waste stream and will exist in the environment for hundreds (possibly thousands) of years.

When purchasing items that are single serve or single use or portion control, you might want to think about the cost, convenience and long term impact again.