You’ve heard the numbers: 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean every year. Plastic debris kills an estimated 100,000 marine animals annually. Only nine percent of our annual plastic use is recycled. The vast majority of the rest is accumulating in landfills or gathering in oceans.
We are hurdling closer every day toward an irreversible climate disaster, and according to UN Environment, we’ve become addicted to single-use plastics. Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute and 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used every year.
In January, I wrote a column about the individual responsibility we have to take care of the earth. As a rebuttal, Nic Muranaka wrote that corporate responsibility far outweighs what we can do as individuals.
Local ice cream shop Bow Tie Creamery embodies this ideology. Owners Matt Healey and C.F. Diamond take pride in churning handmade ice cream fresh every day in small batches. The shop doesn’t use plastic, instead serving ice cream in paper cups with wooden spoons.
“Individually, I think everyone has a responsibility to conserve and reduce their waste as much as they can,” Healey said. “But when it comes down to it, corporations use a ton of stuff. We have an extra responsibility to be conscious.”
Bow Tie Creamery buys in bulk to reduce waste and will be introducing reusable stainless steel cups in 2020. They use small metal spoons for people to taste test, further reducing plastic waste.
“If someone uses plastic silverware at home, that’s three utensils a day,” Healey said. “For us, handing out plastic spoons with our ice cream is hundreds of spoons a day. It adds up.”
Not using plastic gives Bow Tie Creamery an added cost, but Healey said it’s worth it for the company to leave a smaller footprint.
The average American consumes 23 pounds of ice cream per year, and most cartons aren’t recycled.
In 2018, Ben & Jerry’s handed out 2.5 million plastic straws and 30 million plastic spoons. For their part, the company recently announced their plan to end the use of plastic straws, spoons and cups.
Bow Tie Creamery doesn’t have to sacrifice taste for ecological benefits. They make their ice cream in-house every day.
“One of the biggest things that will differentiate good ice cream is how it’s made,” Healey said. “People are surprised when they find out we’re making the ice cream ten feet away.”
While millions of plastic utensils are finding their way to our coastlines, a small ice cream shop in Ogden is doing their part to slow the damage. Ben & Jerry’s may have more cultural impact, but Bow Tie Creamery is making Ogden a little more green, one metal spoon at a time.