Would you save 🧜♀️ The Little Mermaid from plastic?
For three years, I have never thrown out plastic. Since September 2019, I have not only eliminated plastic from my life but also stopped throwing it out and kept all the plastic in a box in my apartment. Most of the plastic in that box comes from the period before I started the zero-plastic journey.
Why have I never thrown out plastic?
I knew that if I threw out plastic, it would likely end up littering the environment or entering the ocean.
Therefore, I was afraid that a bird or a fish mistakenly digest my plastic trash.
I’m in a dilemma. I can’t keep the plastic in my apartment eternally, and I can’t hurt animals.
Even though plastic is cheap, convenient, and makes our lives much easier, it is a polluting material.
99% of what goes in plastic is fossil fuels, whose extraction, refining, and production release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,
The end of life of this material is not much better: of all the plastic that has ever existed, 91% has never been recycled.
I looked for solutions to do something with all the plastic that I stored and then came to realize that, in reality, there are myths behind plastic recycling:
- recyclable does not mean recycled,
- recyclable often means shipping everything to developing countries and,
- recycled involves mixing a proportion of recyclable plastic with new plastic cells anyway.
Moreover, recycle logos one can see on product packaging are misleading. They do not mean that the product will be recycled but that the producer has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging.
According to the World Economic Forum,
- 32% of plastic packaging ends up littering the environment,
- 40% in landfills somewhere,
- 14% incinerated,
- 14% recycled, BUT IN REALITY, ONLY 2% EFFECTIVELY RECYCLED.
Also, the United Nations reported that 8 million tons of plastic annually enter the ocean.
- As a result, 1 million sea birds, 100,000 sea mammals, marine turtles, and countless fish die,
- 40% of marine mammals and 44% of seabird species digest plastic debris.
Our current socio-economic model is not only linear but is also based on mass consumption facilitated by plastic. In the middle of the current ecological crisis and mass species extinction, are our comfort and convenience more important than pollution and biodiversity loss?
My questions to political and business leaders are the following?
- What can I do with the plastic I have never thrown out since September 2019?
- Why not massively invest in plastic-free solutions and reuse infrastructures?
- Why not replace single-use plastic products with reusable and sustainable alternatives?
- Why not push for more policies to move towards a circular economy?
- Why not incentivize companies to produce, package and distribute differently?
To read more about 15 facts you should know about plastic, click here