There has been a growing awareness in recent years about the negative effects that plastic is having on the planet and the environment. Some countries have taken measures to try and reduce their dependency on plastic by banning single use items such as plastic bags and straws, and there has been a drive to create alternatives to these, such as straws made of bamboo or metal. Despite these measures, plastic is still ubiquitous in our world and it is estimated that by 2030, plastic production in the U.S. will eclipse the climate impact of coal-fired power plants, and that by 2050 the industry’s emissions could eat up 15% of the global carbon budget. This is without mentioning the negative effects un-recycled plastic has on our oceans, animals and natural habitats.
Why is plastic so bad for the planet?
There are two ways in which plastic harms the planet – firstly in its production, and secondly with how it is disposed of. A lot of people don’t know that the basically all plastics – between 98-99%, are manufactured from fossil fuels such as gas, oil and coal. Plastic is also one of the main products of fracking, as fossil fuels removed from the shale are turned into resin pellets that are used to manufacture plastics. Plastic is not only environmentally taxing to produce, but once it has been produced it is very hard to break down, as most plastics last forever. Plastic is often not disposed of properly and instead gets dumped into landfills, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. Plastic debris is found everywhere, including forests, lakes, oceans, even in our city drains. Plastic trash is found in the guts of over 90% of world’s sea birds, in the stomachs of over half the world’s turtles, and it is estimated that by 2050, the mass of plastic in the oceans will exceed the mass of all the fish that live there. The estimated 270,000 tons of plastic in the oceans threatens the existence of over 700 marine species. It’s not just wildlife that are affected – tiny plastic particles have been found by scientists in our food supply, in items such as salt, beer, seafood and even in human stool. These microplastics break off from larger plastic items, or come from products such as car tyres or cosmetics. They even wash off from synthetic clothes. The negative effects on humans from consuming these plastic particles are as yet unknown.
What we can do about it?
As humans it is our responsibility to try and reduce our dependence on plastic. This means trying to avoid single use plastics, use reusable items such as cloth shopping bags and reusable water bottles instead of plastic ones, and trying to buy products from brands that are actively avoiding the use of plastic as much as possible. We should also always try and use recyclable plastics if we have to use plastic, and always make sure to correctly recycle them.
When building our brand one of our aims was to was avoid the use of plastic as much as possible. This led us to decide to use recyclable glass for our bottles, rather than the ubiquitous plastic that you see from so many other brands. We also use aluminium lids rather than plastic, and there is no plastic use in the other elements of our packaging. Overall, it is up to us as humans to reduce our dependency on plastics and instead seek more environmentally friendly products as an alternative.