Scrap the Cap, Tout the Spout!

By Nancy Mogielnicki, Guest Contributor

After hearing Capt. Charles Moore (author of Plastic Ocean) talk about the Pacific Garbage Patch and the fact that bottle caps are the most numerous recognizable items
in the gyre, I examined my buying habits and realized

A.)  that I didn’t discriminate between dairy/juice products with plastic caps and those with “old fashioned” pull open spouts and

B.)  avoiding plastic caps is easy!  Luckily,  most of the large grocers in the Portland area sell cap-free dairy products, including New Seasons, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods 365 brand. 
Plastic caps of all kinds litter the oceans and shores worldwide and are ingested by sea birds and marine species, often with fatal consequences.

Admittedly, this is a tiny gesture among all of the retail choices that besiege us each day, but it is not insignificant.  Most of us drink or use some kind of dairy products regularly and our behavior can make a difference.

What can you do?

  1. Read more about “plastics in the ocean.”  The statistics are overwhelming but campaigns such as BYOC, eliminating plastic straws and plastic bags, and attempts to clean up existing waste are heartening.
  2. Examine your buying habits.  Are you avoiding bottled water, teas and juices but buying milk cartons with plastic caps?
  3. Compliment the retailers who sell cap-free products and alert those who don’t (Organic Valley and Darigold are among them) that their caps are unnecessary as well as wasteful and polluting.
  4. Join the movement to require all plastic caps to be tethered to bottles for recycling.