How Can We Make Plastic More Sustainable?
Plastic is one of the most widely used materials in the world due to its versatility, cost-effectiveness, and durability. From water bottles and containers to consumer electronics and industrial materials, plastic is everywhere. We have become so dependent on plastic for our daily lives that it is nearly impossible to imagine a world without it. While plastic is effectively used for sustainable packaging, production materials, and various consumer goods, it is also heavily associated with waste and negative environmental impact due to the abundance of plastic products in landfills and the ocean. As a team that is committed to plastic sustainability, Change Plastic for Good knows that plastic is far more sustainable than most people realize, though it can always be more sustainable. That is why we have provided some information on the current sustainability of plastic and how we can make plastic more sustainable right now and in the future.
How Sustainable is Plastic Right Now?
While there is an undeniable abundance of plastic waste throughout the world, plastic manufacturing has an exceptional environmental profile. Roughly 4% of the world’s oil production is used for plastic manufacturing around the world, far less than other materials like metal. Plastic also requires less energy to produce than other materials and many items can be recycled at the end of their usable life, allowing for a more sustainable production cycle. When discussing plastic sustainability, the issue is not the production of plastic. Instead, we need to look at how plastic products are handled and disposed of.
The primary problems with plastic sustainability revolve around user error, corporate greenwashing, and the abundance of single-use plastics. In terms of human error, it is estimated that less than 10% of applicable plastic products are properly recycled. This is because most people throw their plastic in the garbage or do not properly clean it before disposing of it. When either event occurs, these items end up in landfills and will continue to stay there for centuries before finally breaking down. Greenwashing also makes certain corporations, brands, and products seem more environmentally friendly than they are, diverting attention away from ever-growing landfills and the consequences of human error. In short, plastic itself is highly sustainable, but our practices around the handling, marketing, and disposal of it need a lot of work.
What Can be Done to Improve Plastic Sustainability?
While recycling initiatives and government restrictions can certainly enhance plastic sustainability, they will have a limited effect when it comes to reducing human error. To account for human error, the best solution is to change plastic products by accelerating their decomposition. This can be achieved by adding ingredients like BDP® polymer to plastic during the manufacturing process. BDP® is specifically engineered and designed to accelerate plastic decomposition without altering its strength or durability, allowing cups, furniture, clothing, packaging, and other items to break down within a few years instead of a few centuries. This accelerated decomposition will ensure that plastic products break down instead of piling up, increasing sustainability even if people continue to incorrectly dispose of their products. BDP® plastics will also be collected and sent to anaerobic digesters in Mexico and the U.S. where they will be biologically converted into clean biogas to power homes, increasing sustainability while further reducing environmental impact.
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.