What plastic has allowed is the ability to make things so cheaply that people feel it’s acceptable to dispose of them after a single use. And, as population grows and commodities become cheaper, waste increases. Plastic is being unfairly blamed for an economic, cultural, and population growth problem.
Let’s look at how long it takes for trash to decompose
Whoa, what a surprise, glass takes the longest to decompose and a plastic bottle takes 0.045% of the time to decompose as a glass bottle. Yes, I know, but glass is “pretty” garbage. We all love to find old glass on the beach. Sea glass is cool! Sea plastic is bad…. Never mind both come from landfills and trash dumps.
Oh, what’s that? A leather bag would take 50 years to decompose, while a plastic bag would only take 10–20 years? How can that be?
The problem isn’t how quickly it decomposes, it’s how many are discarded after a single use.
Should countries mandate that all plates, cups, and utensils marketed as disposable be made reusable?
It is not plastic that is the problem, it is “DISPOSABLE” Plastic.
The plastics economy is worth 120 billion dollars globally. They have big lobby groups.
40–60% of all plastic produced is for packaging. Coffee cups and bags - right the way though to the box that holds your baking soda.
95% of all this packaging is DISPOSABLE - aka a single use item - this all either goes into landfill, into the ocean or is burnt.
Plastic transformed the world
Plastic transformed the world completely. Airplanes are now made up of over 80% plastic. We have it in almost all parts of our everyday lives. Most of us think plastic is the problem, but with plastic came increased shelf life, lower food prices and cheaper products.
The result: we have more wealth than the last king of France. Plastic made everything cheap.
DISPOSABLE plastic however only has one single use. It has no collection (40 years ago plastic recycling was created with coding, yet only 14% has ever been collected and recycled). The collection is the issue, and as a result 35% of plastic produced heads to the ocean every year. i That is equivalent to a garbage truck ever minute dropping rubbish into the ocean. The cost is 40 billion dollars. This is more than than pulled profits collectively from the entire plastic packaging industry.
Plastic production is increasing fast. Everyday more plastic enters our lives in unique ways. This has an effects on the ocean, environment and financially it is costing us a lot of money.
Society has been aware of the disposable waste problem for a long time, this has not stopped the production increasing and zero collection systems being designed to scale a solution.
Here is to New Zealand and Australia following France's lead and finally doing something about the massive disposable problem.