Every day, the world incurs 2 billion metric tons of plastic waste. And for every ton of plastic we produce, we create 3 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. This plastic doesn’t just end up in a landfill or in a dump.
It takes its place in our oceans and on our beaches, where it continues to harm marine life and humans who come into contact with it. It’s estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastics than fish in our waters.
The use of plastics has become so pervasive that they are impossible to avoid—in landfills, rivers, lakes, and oceans across the globe. The time has come for us to change the way we live with plastics altogether if we want to save our planet from further harm.
How does Plastic Consumption Impact the Environment?
Today, more than 50% of plastic is single-use, and only a fraction is recycled. This waste is dumped in natural environments, releasing greenhouse gases such as methane and ethylene when exposed to sunlight.
Plastics that end up in the ocean are the highest emitters of greenhouse gases, with polyethylene being the most common synthetic polymer in the world. This is the main reason why plastic waste is a huge problem, and the question of how we can reduce the amount of waste we generate is an urgent one.
Despite the many benefits of plastic, there are also many downsides to its use. Although plastic can be extremely cheap and versatile, it also has several negative effects on the environment. Its ability to withstand extreme temperatures helps prevent food waste, and it is a key ingredient in packaging.
Hence, considering the benefits and drawbacks of plastic can be an important step in making decisions about its use. While some substitutes can result in negative impacts, it is vital to understand the full impact of plastic in the production process.
How to Reduce Your Own Personal Plastic Consumption
The United Nations estimates that every year, we create 300 million tons of plastic waste. That’s more than all of us put together! If we want to do our part in saving the planet, we must learn to reduce our plastic consumption.
We can start by switching to reusable items like glass bottles and cloth shopping bags. Then, we can choose to recycle or swap out plastic beverage bottles for those that last forever. Learning to reduce your personal plastic consumption can be easier than you think.
Plastic purgers recommend nine habits to cut your plastic use drastically. For example, instead of using plastic bags at the grocery store, buy cloth bags. You can also use glass or metal jars to store nuts, grains, flour, and other foods.
You can also reuse old jars to store household products, such as body creams and dish soap. If you can’t live without plastic, there are plenty of ways to reduce your personal consumption without sacrificing convenience.
Plastic Is Harming Marine Life
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a huge area of ocean plastic waste that is nearly the size of Texas. Marine mammals and birds consume this trash and are exposed to the harmful effects of the materials.
Sea turtles have been found to ingest plastic, choking on it and suffering internal damage. Ultimately, plastic pollution will destroy the ocean for future generations. To reduce the damage that is already being done, more people need to switch to recyclable alternatives.
UNESCO has estimated that over one million seabirds are killed each year by plastic. Nearly 90% of all marine species have consumed some type of plastic, with the numbers expected to be even higher by the year 2050.
Many species of sea birds hunt by diving deep into the ocean and scooping up seawater. When they mistake plastic for food, they will often die of starvation. These birds will eventually starve to death, and their bodies will be filled with plastic.
Plastic Takes Hundreds Of Years To Decompose
We all know that plastic bottles take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills, but did you know that the process is faster than you might think? While the majority of plastic bottles do not break down quickly in landfills, the process can be accelerated by recycling efforts.
Plastic bottles decompose in landfills through photodegradation, which breaks down plastic molecules by absorbing the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. One-use plastic grocery bags take as much as two decades to decompose, whereas plastic water bottles can take up to 450 years to break down.
In addition to causing environmental problems, plastic waste has a significant ecological impact. It can contaminate our oceans, rivers, and parks. The problem is that microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that can harm marine life and humans. These particles ingest and move up the food chain, eventually reaching our stomachs. As a result, the destruction of our environment is unavoidable.
Importance Of Reusable Food / Drink Containers
Reusable food and drink containers are an essential part of reducing the plastic waste that we produce. These containers have several advantages. For starters, they reduce the need to purchase single-use plastic containers and are also less expensive.
These reusable containers are particularly important if you consume large quantities of food and beverages frequently. They also have many other advantages, such as increased consumer satisfaction.
Reusable packaging also enables companies to use advanced technologies. Smart reusable capsules and RFID tags can provide business owners with valuable information about consumers’ preferences.
For instance, the MIWA intelligent supply and retail system can track a supply chain, monitor stock and reorder automatically. In addition, reusable packaging helps companies build better business models that can improve the overall customer experience.
The urgent need to reduce plastic consumption is evident. Plastic pollution is harming marine life, and the problem is only going to get worse. We need to switch to recyclable alternatives and reusable containers to help reduce the damage getting worse.