The Ethical Copywriter

Rachel Baker

The Harmful Effects of Plastics

Since the emergence of plastics in the early 1900s the popularity of plastics has grown exponentially. With this boom in the production and distribution of plastics, several countries have implemented regulations on plastics substances to restrict the negative side effects of the material. Plastics originated as a cost effective and attractive solution to packaging various products around the world. Since their inception the popularity of plastics has rocketed year after year with more and more companies embracing the ease of selecting plastics to showcase their products.

Plastic is a durable, inexpensive, malleable and waterproof material which makes it so appealing to work with. However in 1950 only 2 million metric tons of plastic were produced whereas in 2015 the global production of plastics topped 322 million. Despite the advantages of plastics, plastics also have significant disadvantages. Products like food, beverage and tobacco packaging are usually single use and non-recyclable.

The European Commission reports that currently up to 80% of global marine litter is plastics. In response to the irrefutable evidence European Parliament has implemented a new EU-wide ban on the 10 single-use plastic items regularly found on European soil. This includes abandoned fishing gear which makes up 70% of marine litter. 

The European Commission states that substituting single-use plastic products with inventive and valuable alternatives is an economic opportunity. They go on to estimate that in replacing single use plastics the EU could create 30,000 local jobs, which in turn would boost the EU’s bio-economy and generate groundbreaking businesses and re-use schemes.

Unfortunately our society has developed a dependence on plastics as a convenient and inexpensive solution to creating and packaging materials. The global impact of harmful plastics is tremendous. A report in 2017 recorded that only 9% of plastics generated were recycled, 12% were incinerated and 79% of plastics ended up littering the natural environment or sitting stagnant in landfills. The report estimates that if waste management strategies do not change, roughly 12,000 metric tons of plastic will be introduced into the natural environment by 2050. The impact of plastic waste on modern society is drastic. As 2050 approaches serious changes have to be made to ensure that the natural environment is stable and cleaned of harmful waste.

It is up to us as business leaders to spark these conversations around plastics and aim to eliminate their use within our businesses and externally within our supply chain. The best way to combat plastics is to stay informed and support legislation and support non-plastic initiatives. Together we can lead the change and embrace more sustainable business practices to ensure a stable and secure future for everyone.

Nohelia Rambal recommends...

Net Zero: Getting Started is more important than getting it right

Hiring with purpose

Five things I wish I’d known when starting a purpose-led business

The Harmful Effects of Plastics

Since the emergence of plastics in the early 1900s the popularity of plastics has grown exponentially. With this boom in the production and distribution of plastics, several countries have implemented regulations on plastics substances to restrict the negative side effects of the material. Plastics originated as a cost effective and attractive solution to packaging various products around the world. Since their inception the popularity of plastics has rocketed year after year with more and more companies embracing the ease of selecting plastics to showcase their products.

Plastic is a durable, inexpensive, malleable and waterproof material which makes it so appealing to work with. However in 1950 only 2 million metric tons of plastic were produced whereas in 2015 the global production of plastics topped 322 million. Despite the advantages of plastics, plastics also have significant disadvantages. Products like food, beverage and tobacco packaging are usually single use and non-recyclable.

The European Commission reports that currently up to 80% of global marine litter is plastics. In response to the irrefutable evidence European Parliament has implemented a new EU-wide ban on the 10 single-use plastic items regularly found on European soil. This includes abandoned fishing gear which makes up 70% of marine litter. 

The European Commission states that substituting single-use plastic products with inventive and valuable alternatives is an economic opportunity. They go on to estimate that in replacing single use plastics the EU could create 30,000 local jobs, which in turn would boost the EU’s bio-economy and generate groundbreaking businesses and re-use schemes.

author

Rachel Baker
The Ethical Copywriter
View website