About

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Thanks for caring about garbage and the environment!

At SOMA Taprooms and Farmer's Markets we've always used PLA plastic, which is made from corn. It's "compostable in industrial facilities", but Portland's industrial composting facility shut down in 2014. In 2017, plastic recyclers in China, Portland's main recipient of plastic recyclables, stopped accepting plastic. So SOMA was forced to make a difficult decision regarding waste.

A couple of other factors that led to our decision: 1) we're not allowed to wash re-usable glasses at our taprooms without a full commercial kitchen, which we didn't put in when building the stores and it wouldn't have been practical for us to, anyway. 2) only a small percentage of recyclable plastic IS recycled - most of it ends up in a landfill (93% is the most common estimation). 

We decided to continue to use PLA plastic for our cups, lids, and straws, and to put them into landfills. Feels crazy to even say that, but based on the current circumstances this seems like our best bet. PLA isn't recyclable, and gums up machines if they go into recycling bins. But it does break down MUCH more quickly than petroleum-based plastics. We considered using one of the two currently recyclable plastics  (PET and HDPE) and then recycling them, but with most plastics going into landfills, it seemed best to try and minimize our real-world impact that try to lead consumers to an ideal but essentially impractical solution.

Industrial Composting: What It Is and How It Works

COMMERCIAL COMPOSTING, “GREEN-WASHING” AND ECO LABELS

After China snub, solutions emerge to recycle plastics