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Planet or Plastic

Planet or Plastic

It’s difficult to get your head around the story of plastic. The facts and figures are so staggering they almost seem fantastical.

Can it really be true that half the plastic ever made has been produced since 2002? That, on average, we use a trillion plastic bags worldwide each year, for just 15 minutes? That nine million tons of plastic waste go into the oceans every year - the equivalent of a dump-truck load every minute? Or that plastic endures for at least 450 years, but likely forever?1

The answer, unfortunately, is yes— those grim facts are all true. The good news is, solutions exist.

Humankind has been painstakingly slow to recognize that we are actually in the middle of a plastic pandemic. In the last 70-years, we became addicted to disposable packaging — as plastics became the lifeblood of a culture of speed, convenience, and disposability. Plastic-packaging now makes up 40% of plastic production.2

Now, when scientists go looking for this ‘forever material’, in an attempt to quantify its impact on the world, they find it everywhere. It’s in the Arctic and the Antarctic. It’s in the Himalayas and on top of Mount Kilimanjaro. It floats with the clouds and it’s raining down on us.3

Will eliminating plastic fly-bags solve this crisis? Well, no. But it’s an example of the kind of relatively easy action that every eCommerce company can take, and every person can demand. And when you put that together, it adds up to real change.

While climate activists and policymakers do what they can to move the needle, it’s up to innovators and businesses like us to cure our consumption addiction with improved products and services that are less harmful. By empowering people to make better purchasing decisions—without sacrifice—we can make a difference.

Learn more about the types of plastic, thermosetting vs thermoplastics and the effects on our planet. 

This Post appears in our Collaborative uAfrica - Mielie Mailer Sustainability Manual

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Citations

  1. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/plastic-facts/ 
  2. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2018/05/plastics-facts-infographics-ocean-pollution/ 
  3. https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1700782/ 
  4. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/10/every-minute-one-garbage-truck-of-plastic-is-dumped-into-our-oceans/