While conducting interviews and observations, a recurring theme that emerged around small-format plastics was the convenience that they provide to our everyday lives. Because of the ease with which these items are available, it has now become a part of our fast-paced culture to grab those extra ketchup packets to go with the burger that we are eating on-the-go, or to pick up a handful of plastic utensils "just in case".
To supplement the redesign of small format plastic packaging, a circular economy also requires a culture shift that asks people to stop and think about how they can behave in a manner that aligns with the goals of a circular economy.
This culture shift can begin with a question as simple as, "Would you like a straw to go with that?"
The idea is to introduce a training program for servers at restaurants that teaches them to ask questions and offer suggestions that can help create a dynamic where thinking circular is the new norm. Some examples of questions and suggestions that can be provided are:
- "How many ketchup packets would you like?"
- "Would you like a straw with your water?"
- "Please consider putting your used coffee lids in this bucket to help us raise $10,000 for our local charity."
- "You can save $1.50 per order by bringing a reusable container the next time you get coffee from us."
In this fast-paced world, providing customers with an avenue to think about the consequences of their actions on the environment can go a long way to developing a culture that thinks in terms of a circular economy.