Since plastic was first invented in 1907, over 8.3 billion tons has been produced, of which 79% has either wound up in a landfill or the natural environment.

About a third of this plastic are single-use products such as straws, cutlery, and shopping bags. Plastic bags now kill over 1000,000 marine animals a year and the Great Pacific garbage patch has grown past 1.6 million square kilometers.

Unfortunately, plastic production on Earth is showing no signs of slowing. According to The Guardian, plastic production is set to skyrocket over the next 10 to 15 years, with over 360 million tons produced in 2018 alone.

One way we can work to decrease the amount of plastic produced is to change how and where we shop. Greenpeace has taken the lead by ranking 20 of America's top supermarket chains in terms of how they're fighting the plastic crisis.


Unfortunately the news hasn't been positive. Across the board, "U.S. supermarkets are failing to adequately address the plastic pollution crisis they are contributing to," Greenpeace said in a statement.

"Grocery retailers across the country sell obscene amounts of products in throwaway plastics every single day, yet none of them are acting with the urgency needed to address the pollution crisis they're causing," Greenpeace Plastics Campaigner David Pinsky said in a statement.

"Not only do these companies have the resources to reimagine their stores with refill and reuse systems, they can use their buying power to pressure consumer goods companies like Nestlé, Coca-Cola, and Unilever to act as well," Pinsky continued. "The question is whether retailers will take responsibility for this mess, and act."

The supermarkets were ranked on a scale of 1 to 100, and the top performer, Aldi, received just a 34.6. Aldi achieved a top score by instituting several initiatives that most others do not: a specific plastic reduction target, a more comprehensive plastic reduction plan, greater transparency, and commitments to implement reuse and refill systems.

Here are the top and bottom 5 supermarkets according to Greenpeace.

Top 5:

1. Aldi

2. Kroger

3. Albertsons

4. Trader Joe's

5. Sprouts

Bottom 5:

16. Giant Eagle

17. WinCo Foods

18: Meijer

19. Wakefern

20. H.E.B.

Greenpeace doesn't just want to prompt supermarkets into taking action, it believes that's our job as well.

After learning about your local store's record, it asks you to take the scorecard to your supermarket to show the store's ranking to the store manager. Greenpeace also asks you tell the manager that "customers want to see less single-use plastics and more refill and reuse options."

Greenpeace also suggests you take photos of ridiculous single-use plastic packaging and post it on social media at #BreakFreeFromPlastic.


Even if our local supermarket isn't doing all it can to reduce its plastic footprint, we can all improve by shopping with reusable bags, purchasing loose fruit and vegetables, and shopping at farmers' markets when possible.

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Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

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For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

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Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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