HOW PLASTIC WENT FROM HERO TO HATED IN 40 YEARS

July 22, 2019

HOW PLASTIC WENT FROM HERO TO HATED IN 40 YEARS

Paper or plastic? That was the question in the 1980’s when plastic shopping bags began replacing paper in large chain grocery stores. Plastic bags were stronger, cheaper, and easier to carry than paper bags. The movement was wildly successful. Plastics became the shopping bag of choice. And, there was a popular belief that plastic was better for the environment than paper. At a time when environmentalists were protesting clear-cutting and deforestation, plastic bags made consumers feel like they could have a positive impact on the environment. Plastic meant saving trees and it was supposed to be recyclable. A win-win! Or so we thought.

Now 40 years later, plastic shopping bags, disposable water bottles, and plastic packaging is overwhelming our ecosystem.  In fact, according to a 2018 United Nations Environment Programme report on single-use plastics, almost 80% of all plastic waste now resides in landfills or is littering the environment. The promise of plastics recycling has turned out to be more fairy tale than anything else.

The plastics we produce are now the plastics we are ingesting

Scientists have found that many plastics break down into tiny pieces called microplastics which find their way into our food chain and water sources. The full effect of microplastics isn’t yet known, but they have been shown to disrupt the endocrine system of animals, cause liver toxicity, and prompt the formation of tumors. The Canadian Broadcast Corporation recently reported on a study that found microplastic particles in 92% of the bottles of water tested, indicating that microplastics have gone full circle and have made their way back into our drinking water.

How do we move towards a solution?

The growing burden of plastic waste is a big problem with big ramifications, and the world is stepping up.

As of June, over 60 nations have begun to tackle the single-use plastic issue via taxes or outright bans. Some, like Canada and India, have pledged to ban single-use plastics within a few years.

The European Union has pinpointed the top ten plastic items found on European beaches and voted to ban them by 2021, as well as voting on measures to increase recycling to 90% by 2025.  Many companies, determined to show environmental leadership, have eliminated plastic straws, Styrofoam and single-use plastics from their products and moved towards compostable materials.

National Geographic maintains a web page that tracks action taken against plastics pollution and updates it when significant measures are announced. Many cities, nations, and organizations are already listed, and more will be added as others join the fight. 

What can you do?

Consumers can have powerful influence over what retailers offer for sale in their stores; tell your local retailers that you want them to offer compostable bags, products with minimal packaging, and products that come in compostable packaging. Compostable packaging is made of organic materials that completely break down into organic elements over a short period of time; they leave NO toxins or residue behind, and add nutrients to the soil under composting conditions. Compostable packaging is gaining in popularity as more companies are stepping up and embrace their responsibility to the environment.

You can too; work to

  • Replace single-use water bottles with a reusable bottle
  • Use your own reusable organic shopping bags instead of store plastic
  • Use beeswax wraps instead of plastic wraps or lunch bags
  • Pack your own cutlery and avoid using throwaway plastic cutlery
  • Eat more fresh foods, less frozen foods prepackaged in plastic
  • Find your local zero-waste store – bring in your containers and fill them with great products
  • Pack your lunches in reusable containers; avoid fast foods that are heavily packaged
  • Read labels, and choose products wisely
  • Look for products with reusable or compostable packaging

What is DeepMarine doing to help?

DeepMarine is committed to protecting our environment. Our premium, Canadian-made collagen is now available in 100% compostable, single-dose sachets. DeepMarine has chosen packaging film that is compostable – even in a backyard composting environment.

We know that you want to make responsible purchasing choices that don’t harm the environment. DeepMarine is proud to be the ONLY collagen company to offer collagen in 100% compostable single-dose sachets.

At DeepMarine we are proud to be part of the solution.


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