By Sharon Vega
In the last few years, Ben & Jerry’s has released many dairy-free ice cream flavors. And they continue making more, just recently adding another flavor to their line of dairy-free ice cream. Given that the dairy industry is harmful to the environment, this was a progressive move in the right direction. Now, they will be doing even more for the environment and setting an example for other companies by removing all single-use plastics from their Scoop Shops.
Ben & Jerry’s has more than 600 stores worldwide. They will phase out single-use plastics from their stores one step at a time. In August 2018, they made plastic straws available by request only with many of the shops having plastic alternatives, but the first step of the new plan is to no longer offer plastic straws or spoons beginning early this year. On April 9, 2019, Scoop Shops will complete the transition to wooden spoons and paper straws will only be available by request. The ultimate goal is to find an alternative to clear plastic cups, plastic-lined cups, and plastic lids by the end of 2020.
“Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shops currently hand out 2.5 million plastic straws a year, and 30 million plastic spoons. If all the plastic spoons used by Ben & Jerry’s in the US were placed end to end, they’d stretch from Burlington, Vermont to Jacksonville, Florida,” explained Ben & Jerry’s Global Sustainability Manager, Jenna Evans. She said, “We’re not going to recycle our way out of this problem. We, and the rest of the world, need to get out of single-use plastic.”
Ben & Jerry’s is a very well-known brand and their analysis of their own contribution to plastic pollution and plan to make a change is just the example the world needs right now. As Paul Burns, executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group said, “Across the globe, discarded plastics are choking our environment and threatening wildlife. The only solution is to stop using them.”
For more information on plastic pollution and why the elimination of single-use plastic is such an important and necessary change, check out 5 Realities About Plastic Pollution That Won’t Go Away Until We Do Something and These 5 Marine Animals Are Dying Because of Our Plastic Trash… Here’s How We Can Help.