Why plastic isn’t the problem
This title might seem a little confusing in the face of the climate crisis, but plastic isn’t the root of the issue. How we dispose of plastic is the problem. Plastic waste is what is damaging to the environment rather than the production of it.
Plastic receives quite a lot of bad press, with attention particularly on straws and other single use, disposable plastics. But, rather than focusing on the increasing demand and the manufacture of these products, perhaps the attention needs to be on how we as a society deal with plastic waste.
‘Throw away’ culture
Plastic tends to have a ‘throw away’ culture attached to it. The notion of disposable items and a ‘use it once then chuck it away’ attitude.
Annie Leonard, co-Executive Director of Greenpeace highlights that there is no such thing as ‘away’ as the waste must go somewhere. Annie has set up a project that aims to expose the cultural issues of overconsumption and calls for a more sustainable solution. Her work actively supports that the root cause of plastic pollution is not the production itself, but rather our collective attitude towards its disposal. Plastic waste is the real issue.
Why replace, when you can recycle
With plastic often being seen as the villain, it’s easy to forget that plastic is very useful and has supported our development not only in industrial terms but everyday life. It is used across many sectors for building and construction, transportation, packaging, electrical and industrial machinery. We simply couldn’t live without it.
Even if plastic was abolished entirely, it would most likely be replaced with something else; glass, aluminium, or cardboard and the demand for those materials would then increase. These materials still produce waste and certainly won’t solve the deeper cultural issues of overconsumption. Our focus instead should be to avoid sending products to landfill and put more investment into waste disposal.
Our sustainable practices
We can’t deny the damaging effects of incorrect and irresponsible plastic disposal, but as plastic manufacturers we do our best to make our processes as sustainable as possible. Producing new materials puts a much larger strain on resources than reusing or recycling which is why 90% of our plastic waste is recycled. We also generate almost 50% of our own energy, reducing the embedded energy in each product. Keeping waste at a minimum is especially important to us, reducing our impact on landfill and supporting a greener future. In some circumstances, depending on condition, we can offer a reclaim system where businesses can bring back their used plastic parts for us to recycle.