For many Vietnamese people, it is a ritual as circadian as the sunrise: On the way to work, they pull over their motorbikes to grab an iced coffee from a street vendor, complete with a plastic cup, plastic lid, plastic straw, and plastic case to hang from the bikes as they drive. The coffee, with four separate pieces of plastic for a single drink, exemplifies how this packaging has became such a common and wasteful scourge on Vietnam’s environment. But some citizens have become alarmed by the trend and begun fighting back against the pollution. More Vietnamese than ever are looking for alternatives to plastic, from metal bottles to cloth tote bags, just as many communities around the world are starting to believe they have relied for too long on cheap and versatile -- but ecologically disastrous -- plastic. Rwanda was remarkably efficient at banning plastic bags, while Durham, North...
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