Common Plastic Sustainability Myths
Plastic is everywhere. From household items and car parts to packaging and clothing, plastic plays a crucial role in our lives. Since plastic is so widespread and relied upon by consumers, it is often subject to heavy criticism and blamed for environmental issues around the world. These criticisms and negative coverage are why plastic sustainability is a polarizing topic with many opinions, facts, problems, and proposed answers. While it is true that plastic is not as sustainable as it could be, it is far more environmentally friendly than many companies would have you believe.
As a team that is constantly looking to make plastic more sustainable, Change Plastic for Good knows that it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction when it comes to plastic sustainability. That’s why we have compiled a list of common plastic sustainability myths to debunk them and provide you with the facts you need to make an informed decision about your plastic products and alternative solutions.
Debunking 3 Widespread Plastic Sustainability Myths
When it comes to plastic sustainability, the following myths are among the most common and detrimental when trying to determine the facts:
1. Plastic Has More Environmental Impact Than Any Other Material
While it’s true that plastic production does create emissions and waste that can impact the environment, this impact is far lower than most people think. When compared to metal, glass, and other materials, plastic manufacturing, usage, and recycling require far less energy while generating less waste. This is because plastic is lighter and more durable than most alternatives, reducing the weight of products and cutting down on the amount of fuel required to transport them.
To put this in perspective, if we were to replace all plastic packaging with a heavier material like glass, it is estimated that energy consumption and emission production would nearly double during manufacturing and transportation. Plastic allows us to optimize convenience without compromising durability while cutting down on emissions, making it the best option available.
2. Manufacturers are The Main Cause of Plastic Pollution
While large manufacturers and corporations are the ones producing all of the plastics that the public take issue with, the truth is that both consumer and manufacturers are to blame. Manufacturers generally take the cheapest and most status quo option and put the potential for better design on the back burner. Design is the first step in reducing plastic waste, creating packaging with less plastic and more recyclable materials. As a consumer, you have a responsibility to support companies that are taking real world steps to make their products less impactful. At the end of the day, consumers are the last defence between plastic and the environment, so keep it out by recycling it or finding ways to reuse it. Corporations are already guilty for rampant greenwashing techniques to deceive consumers into thinking they are more environmentally conscious than they truly are, so it is up to the people to set the example and to vote with their wallets.
Manufacturers and corporations alike should reduce their production wherever possible and invest in new breakthroughs like BDP®, a polymer that can be added during the manufacturing process to allow naturally occurring organisms in landfills, the ocean, soil and our favourite, anaerobic digesters which is the future to consume the plastic within a few years instead of a few centuries.
3. All Plastic Can and Should be Recycled
For decades, many people have been taught and conditioned to believe that all plastic needs to end up in a blue bin or blue bag. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as many types of plastic are not recyclable and can contaminate the other items within a bin or bag. When this happens, the entire bin is often dumped into a landfill, increasing the amount of plastic waste around the world. Many types of plastics can only be downcycled as well, further reducing the effectiveness of recycling.
With improvements and expansions to the recycling process and proper consumer education, plastic recycling could be far more effective than it is. Unfortunately, recycling is just not enough as it stands right now, especially if consumers and companies continue to place unrecyclable items in their bins or bags. Many recyclers refuse to work with large brands to recycle stubborn plastics like bags and films. So it is up to entrepreneurs to create ways to recycle these material in a closed loop system, something Change Plastic for Good is working on.
To learn more about plastic sustainability, BDP®, or greenwashing, get in touch with the team at Change Plastic for Good. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding BDP® or the movement to make plastic completely sustainable.