For the past few years, ecologist Ana Sofia Guerra has been studying the eating habits of western gulls in the Channel Islands archipelago. She’s tracked sea gulls from their pristine island home to an In-N-Out in El Segundo, Calif., a caterer in Compton, a row of Vietnamese restaurants in Anaheim, and a bakery nearby. “There was a gull on Santa Barbara Island that vomited an entire corn dog,” she said. She is studying how the birds’ unnatural eating behaviors are affecting the ecosystem.

Aluminum steps up as alternative

Aluminum is emerging as a more sustainable option than plastic. Most of the world’s plastic so far has been discarded as waste, causing environmental and social damage of $2.2 trillion a year, said Frontiers in Marine Science. The Aluminum Association estimates that almost 50% of the U.S. cans made of the lightweight metal are recycled, compared with about 29% for plastic bottles. Companies are responding, with Nestlé, Unilever, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo announcing plans to use more cans and other recyclable packaging.

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