Ever since plastic gained popularity in the 1960s, it has become such an inevitable part of our daily lives that 8.3 billion metric tons of it has been created to date. Today, that very cheap and convenient piece of plastic has caused insurmountable damage to the environment and now finds itself invisibly present in the air we breathe and the water we drink. Ahead, we take a deeper look at plastic’s impact and how we’ve been hoodwinked into thinking that it can be recycled.
Plastic didn’t always have a bad reputation. In its earliest applications, plastic has even saved elephants from having their ivory taken away by replacing veneers on piano keys. During World War II, acrylic plexiglass took over windshields on aircrafts as a safer and lighter alternative to glass. Today, the same plastic plexiglass is being used as sneeze guards to protect us from catching the coronavirus. But what began as a novel solution for packaging and hygiene has now turned into an ecological menace. Whether it's from takeout food to online shopping, nearly 2 million plastic bags are used every minute across the globe and much of it is meant to be discarded within minutes after usage. In the time it takes you to brew your morning coffee, about 5 million single-use plastic bottles will be disposed of globally. Unfortunately, of the enormous amount of plastic that has been discarded, only 9% has been recycled — the remaining 91% is accumulating in landfills or sloughing off in the natural environment (read: the ocean) as litter. The plastic that has accumulated in the ocean is estimated to kill millions of marine animals every year and nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by it already. Which begs to question why only so little of it is being recycled?
A joint investigation conducted by NPR and PBS Frontline recently found that the plastic industry has spent millions convincing the public that plastic could be recycled despite knowing that it would be too expensive to realistically execute — all while making billions of dollars selling the world new plastic. In truth, used plastic can be turned into new things, but the process of picking it up, sorting it out and melting it down is expensive. Not to mention, plastic also degrades with each turnover, which means that it can't be reused more than once or twice. Whereas, new plastic is comparatively cheaper to create, as it’s made from oil and gas, and it’s almost always of better quality to just start fresh. The report claims that all of these problems have existed for decades, no matter what new recycling technology or expensive machinery has been developed, but the public has known little about these difficulties as they have been intentionally misinformed.
As a sustainable brand, ZAVI understands the responsibility that comes with plastic use in shipment practices. In an attempt to tackle plastic pollution, we ship our garments in 100% biodegradable bags that are plastic free and break down naturally over time. We are inspired to make small changes with a big impact and hope that you can join us in our fight against plastics by doing the same. Planet or plastic — make your choice.
Read more about how you can make an impact;
Published by: Vibhuti Vazirani/ 2020-09-20