Why make the swap from conventional plastic products to more sustainable plastic-free alternatives?
Plastic has become one of the most commonly used materials in recent decades, with an array of applications in most industries worldwide. The production and consumption of plastic products has seen more than a twenty-fold increase since the 1960s, with 311 million tons of plastic products produced in 2014, compared to just 15 million tons produced in 1964.
One of the major issues related to this surge in plastic production is that the ability to dispose of plastic waste has not increased in nearly the same manner or to the same extent. The result of this imbalance is that fragments of plastic, in a variety of shapes and sizes, spreads uncontrolled throughout nature. To make matters worse the majority of plastics are not biodegradable and will therefore, if not collected and disposed, remain in nature for millennia to come. Different accounts of the problems related to plastic pollution exist, with issues of animals facing starvation, entanglement, and suffocation are often highlighted by the media.
Disposable plastic items are so common that it’s easy not to notice them, but they are everywhere — ubiquitous plastic bottles of water or soda; the plastic bags offered to us at stores; the microfibres in our clothes; the plastic cups, bottles, and utensils at nearly every social event; to the more hidden micro and nano plastics in soaps and cleaning products.
Plastic never goes away
Plastic is a durable material made to last forever, yet 33 percent of it is used once and then discarded. Plastic cannot biodegrade; it breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.
Plastic piles up in the environment
Only about 8 percent of plastic gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfills or becomes 'litter', and a small portion is incinerated.
Plastic poisons our food chain
Even plankton, the tiniest creatures in our oceans, mistakenly eat microplastics and absorb their toxins. The substance displaces nutritive algae that creatures up the food chain require.
Plastic affects human health
Chemicals leached by plastics are in the blood and tissue of nearly all of us. Exposure to them is linked to cancers, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption, and other ailments.
Plastic threatens wildlife
Entanglement, ingestion, and habitat disruption all result from marine plastic litter and plastic pollution. In our oceans alone, plastic debris outweighs zooplankton by a ratio of 36 to 1.
Plastic costs billions to abate
Everything suffers: tourism, recreation, business, the health of humans, animals, fish and birds – because of plastic pollution. The financial damage continuously being inflicted is inestimable.
Plastic attracts other pollutants
Additives in plastics, like flame retardants, BPAs, and PVCs, can leach their own toxins. These oily poisons repel water and stick to petroleum-based objects like plastic debris.