Plastic is one of the biggest culprits of ecological damage. It’s infesting our oceans and ruining marine ecosystems. However, this damage is caused by “throw-away culture” which propagates the habit of disposing of packaging instead of recycling or composting them. As a result, single-use plastics have circulated in our environment and be left to exist for 400 years.
Since plastic is light-weight and durable, it is the most-used packaging for almost everything in the market. It provides hygienic containers for food and increases its shelf life. They can also be easily mass-produced through technologies and processes such as plastic injection molding. Companies, big or small, benefit from the ease of use brought by plastic.
Because of the criticism and attention, single-use plastic has garnered in the past few years, initiatives have been taken to reduce this problem. Thus, the idea of “circular economy” has been pitched to be applied in our modern, environmentally-suffering world.
The circular economy promotes that everything should be recycled and regenerated to avoid waste from reaching landfills—and the ocean. This has been an effort huge, international brands are currently working on.
As of May 2018, two drastic—but entirely plausible—goals have been set by the Plastic Division of ACC. The goal is that by 2040, 100% of plastic will be re-used and recycled, and by 2030, all plastic packaging should be recyclable.
The key to propel these changes is innovation. There is no doubt that these goals will need a ton of research and resource for machinery and technology to accommodate the said change. However, it is positive that large companies will be capable of doing this.
Aside from relying on high-budget, mass-producing companies, there have been some innovative minds that came up with more sustainable packaging.
Bioplastics use renewable resources such as polymers, cellulose, and starch to create biodegradable plastic. PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoate) is present in bioplastics. This comes from bacteria and is “polyesters produced by fermenting raw vegetable materials with a series of bacterial strains.” Bioplastics are now used in the food, medical, and fashion industries to reduce plastic waste. It reduces carbon footprint and does not derive plastic from chemical and non-renewable raw materials.
Used in laundry pods and detergent, this film dissolves in water as micro-organisms consume them. After this, it becomes water and carbon dioxide. This is an amazing innovation as it does not contaminate the water or remain in the environment. It is created from ethylene-based polymers, and the whole thing does not have a smell, texture, or taste.
Or carry reusable containers
When heading for the supermarket, bring a tote bag to contain your groceries and ditch the plastic bag. You can also head to the local market or a zero-waste store and bring your jar or container to pack oil, milk, and other items that you have bought. Ditching the packaging altogether is cheaper and safer for the environment because you won’t be adding waste to landfills.
Consciousness in consumerism is an integral part of saving the environment. By knowing your options out there, you can make a wiser choice when buying the products that you need in everyday life.