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Sharing the Responsibility to Reduce Plastic Waste
By admin February 25, 2019

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Here is a challenge: Try not to buy single-use plastic for a day. That may be easy, but now try for three days, now try a week, a whole month. Resisting products packaged in single-use plastics may not always be in control of the consumer. Single-use plastics are commonly used for one-time use, such as water and soda bottles, straws, coffee stirrers, and food packaging. It is difficult not to buy products using single-use plastic because it is everywhere.

According to the World Economic Forum, world plastic production has doubled over the past 50 years. When we purchase single-use plastics, we may not think about where they go afterward, or we may know, but feel helpless. Most single-use plastics pile up in the environment, in mountainous landfills, or blanket the ocean and other water sources, threatening the health of people and wildlife. Plastic is not biodegradable, meaning bacteria or other living organisms cannot decompose it. Plastic debris in the ocean outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36 to 1. Smaller pieces of plastic are often ingested as food by sea animals. Not only is this harmful to the animals and the environment, but people who eat seafood are also ingesting those micro-plastics. The scale of the problem seems insurmountable to defeat.

Consumer education and action to reduce plastic waste pollution is just one piece of a sustainable solution. Groups that organize clean-ups at beaches and other areas where waste can be manually collected is applaudable. More importantly, plastic producers and legislators have an enormous responsibility to change the “business as usual” endless waste cycle. Producers of plastics have minimal interest in seeing their revenue streams shrink. However, there are opportunities for producers to invest in bio-degradable packaging. Lawmakers have already enacted legislation against single-use plastic bags at grocery stores, plastic straws at restaurants, and single-use plastic food containers and packaging that is not recyclable or compostable.

The biggest polluters of plastics include Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Mondelez International, and Mars based on a global audit of plastic pollution. Meanwhile, Iceland Foods, a U.K. retailer with over 900 stores set an ambitious goal to be plastic free by 2023. This company is prioritizing independence from suffocating plastic packaging. Iceland reports replacing plastic egg boxes with pulp trays, paper bands around bananas instead of plastic bags, and sourcing new materials for frozen food that will replace the black plastic trays.

Reducing dependence on single-use plastic is key to reducing the amount of pollution that is plaguing the globe. But, what can we do with the plastic that already exists? Developing innovative solutions and products to recycle plastic for long term use will also be necessary. One example includes Rothy’s, which makes fashionable shoes from recycled plastic. Shoes come to life through a 3D knitting machine that reduces waste. Once the shoes are stitched and ready for packaging, they are put into vegan and bio-degradable boxes. Another example includes plastic bottles used as building bricks of homes, schools, and rooms as well as for other purposes provides additional insights into what is possible when we upcycle the plastic to serve us in new ways and reduce the detrimental threat to the environmental single-use plastic is currently causing.

 

For more information:

Why is plastic harmful?

Solving the plastic pollution crisis requires focus on another ‘R’- responsibility

California proposes phaseout of single-use plastics by 2030

Plastics Removal Update, December 2018

 

 


Thanks for sharing !


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