Why Isn’t Plastic Sustainable?
Plastics are a lightweight, durable, and mouldable product of human innovation. Unfortunately, this innovation has come at a steep price. Plastic products and packaging often end up in landfills and the ocean, negatively impacting our ecosystem. Of the billions of tonnes of plastic produced so far, roughly 80% has ended up in landfills due to a lack of political infrastructure and human error. At Change Plastic for Good, we know there are many reasons why plastic isn’t sustainable as it is right now. That’s why we have started a movement to change plastic and make it sustainable through the addition of BDP®. We also strive to educate viewers about various elements of plastic sustainability. That is why we have compiled a list of 3 reasons why plastic is not currently sustainable and why this needs to change.
3 Reasons Why Plastic is Not Sustainable
Plastic is not currently sustainable due to the following reasons:
1. Sourced from Fossil Fuels
Plastic is manufactured from synthetic materials derived from fossil fuels. The process used to make plastic increases the demand for petroleum-based products and further increases our dependence on these non-renewable resources. Packaging made from petroleum-based materials does not degrade naturally, remaining intact for hundreds of years while taking up massive amounts of space in landfills. By 2050, is it estimated that roughly 12 billion tonnes of plastic waste will be sitting in landfills, floating in the ocean, or otherwise polluting the environment. For context, this number stood at around 4.9 billion tonnes in 2015.
2. Plastic Products Contain Harmful Chemicals
Plastic products can include the use of plasticizers (chemical softening agents), benzene, styrene, and Bisphenol A (BPA), all of which are toxic to human health and wildlife. While environmental regulations around the world have reduced the number of toxic components used in the manufacturing process, the fact remains that the chemicals currently used can pose a significant hazard for both the environment and the consumers who use the products.
3. Recycling is Expensive and too Prone to User Error
Recycling is a great process and solution for plastic sustainability in theory. The unfortunate reality is that recycling is simply too expensive and too prone to user error to make a significant difference. Everyone occasionally throws a plastic container in the garbage even if they don’t mean to. This plastic then ends up in a landfill due to a momentary lapse in judgement. Now, multiply this single lapse in judgement by the population of North America, Europe, and Asia, and you’ll start to see why this is a problem. In addition to human error, recycling is often more expensive than people think. The energy required to transport and recycle certain plastics often exceeds the cost to make these products in the first place. This leads to millions of food packaging containers and other plastic goods being sent to landfills each year even if they were placed in a recycling bin.
To learn more about the movement or the science behind BDP, 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 about plastic sustainability or partnering with us.