Yogurt is an extremely popular food that many people eat because it’s good for their health. But the way most yogurt is sold these days is making the planet sick.
A handful of (fancy!) yogurt brands come in small glass containers, which can theoretically be recycled ad infinitum but, in the economic realities of 2021, this may not be happening where you live because glass is very heavy and, thus, expensive to transport. But, even if it gets recycled, the carbon footprint of its transportation and recycling is very high, so it’s best if you do not buy yogurt in glass containers.
Some yogurt brands sell in small #6 (PS) containers, which cannot be recycled at all and should therefore be avoided at all costs.
And most yogurt comes in #5 (PP) containers. If you must buy these, it’s best to buy the bigger sizes to minimize the amount of plastic waste per serving you generate. #5 plastic can be recycled, but the vast majority of recycling programs in the USA do not collect it, so it gets sent to the landfill where, you know by now, it produces methane and contributes to global warming. Sustainable Roanoke has located at least 2 businesses that recycle this kind of plastic, and we collect it from the community to ship it to them. Anyone can do the same thing! Check out Preserve’s website for details on how to send them your #5 plastic. (A few words of caution: The pandemic caused Preserve to stop accepting plastic for a time. Make sure you check with them before mailing your plastic. Also: Be prepared for this kind of recycling to reach its maximum capacity. Preserve is not a large-scale business and, if lots of people send them their #5 plastic, they will soon be overwhelmed. Remember that plastics were never produced with the idea of recycling them and that recycling is simply a gimmick to get everyone to consume plastic without guilt.)
So, although recycling #5 yogurt containers is a possibility, it’s still complicated and expensive for the person who wants to do the right thing (you), it has a large carbon footprint, and it is unsustainable in the long run.
So, without a doubt, the best, healthiest option for yogurt is making your own. Fortunately, there are many recipes online you can try, and you don’t even have to buy special equipment. Just do a search and pick one that seems easy. If you don’t like it, try a different one. Don’t just give up. It’s for a good cause.