Hey, Plastic! Maybe We Can Be Friends Again?

Hey, Plastic! Maybe We Can Be Friends Again?

In a pre-COVID world, we were religious about bringing reusable grocery bags to the store and eschewed plastic straws.

We filled our pantry from bulk bins to avoid packaging waste and carried a reusable water bottle everywhere we went. We rid our house of paper towels and single-use wipes in favor of chic cloth napkins and Swedish dishcloths—all in the name of sustainability.Just a few short weeks later, these behaviors are not only unrealistic but seem borderline dangerous. Recent recommendations advise against using reusable grocery bags. Don’t even bother with a refillable mug at the Starbucks drive-thru; paper is the only option for your cup of joe.We’re using more paper towels and disposable wipes than ever before. And how often did you deep clean that reusable water bottle anyways? Yeah, about as often as we used to sanitize our iPhone. In the near term, we may use more plastic and generate more waste than ever.And that’s OK.We need our food to be protected during transit and stay fresh in our pantry or refrigerator until we’re ready to eat it. More than ever, we need to keep healthcare workers and first responders safe with personal protective equipment. We would never advocate for environmentalism at the expense of humanity.With all that’s going on in the world, can we afford to think about sustainability at all?We think yes, and the markets agree.Funds that deal with sustainability are outperforming other stocks and appear to be better withstanding the novel coronavirus disruptions, which tells us that sustainable brands and industries aren’t going anywhere.

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While we each personally may be generating more waste in the short term, we don’t think you should stop examining the environmental footprint of your brand.In the near term, we may use more plastic and generate more waste than ever.There have never been more or better options for sustainable packaging and companies like Footprint bring unprecedented innovation to the space every day.Life as we knew it may not be the same when we reach the other side (see also: “Is the handshake a relic of the past?”).But there will be an ‘other side.’Sustainability goals may shift as we move forward, but they should not be abandoned.We at Interact are heartened to think of how we can continue to move the needle, in spite of—or inspired by—this crisis. What beacons of light are guiding you forward during these trying times?

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