Many times, when people are confronted with the scope and magnitude of our climate emergency, they can feel disheartened and overwhelmed. We get it; trying to process all of the damage done to our planet can be difficult at best. The fight to slow down and (eventually) reverse climate change is an enormous task, so how will one person make a difference?
We’ll admit to getting stuck in this kind of thinking every once and a while, and that’s ok! Climate change is sad to see, so your feelings are totally normal. At the same time, however, there’s still plenty to be done, and every little bit helps. True, a single person can’t cut into the pollution numbers or greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere, but by making some simple life choices, you can become a part of the solution instead of the problem.
At Manifest Commerce, this is the vision that drives all of our efforts because, with each new person and business that commits to combating climate change, we are one step closer to making tangible change. So, take some time to feel the emotions you need to feel, and then buckle up because we have lots of work ahead of us!
Climate change is a multi-faceted issue, but plastic pollution is one of the most consistent problems our planet faces. Plastic products can be found quite literally everywhere today, and that’s not a good thing! While no type of plastic is great for the environment, there is one that causes arguably the most significant damage of them all; single-use plastics.
This article will examine the dangers of single-use plastics and how we can start to cut them out of our lives. It won’t be easy, and it may take longer than we’re hoping for, but if you join us on our quest to end single-use plastic, we just might make the difference our planet needs.
In the grand scheme of things, our world’s plastic problem is relatively new. Our use of plastic arose in the mid-1900s to substitute the use of other, finite resources. When it was discovered, it was an incredible leap forward in science, as humanity no longer had to rely on entirely natural resources to create the things they wanted. It wasn’t until around 1970 that we began to see the problem of plastic waste.
Plastic production boomed in the United States through the 1900s, as plastic alternatives to everything began popping up. At the time, it appeared to be the perfect solution to a problem humanity had struggled with for a while, but in our excitement at the new technology, we forgot to ask the important questions; questions like:
“How long does it take for plastic to decompose?”
“What kind of waste will plastic become?”
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and now we see the consequences.
Is Plastic Really That Bad?
Many of you might be thinking to yourself, “ok, sure, plastic isn’t great for the environment, but what does it actually harm?” We understand that it can be hard to picture, but if you follow the lifetime of plastic, you’ll quickly see the problem it creates.
After a plastic product is used, it is either recycled or thrown away. Recycling plastic is excellent, but as of right now, only about 8% of all plastic is recycled, meaning the other 91% goes into the trash. The problem with this is that plastic simply doesn’t break down over time. Instead, it just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces until they become something called microplastics.
When microplastics enter the environment (which they do, often), they are then eaten by animals and humans alike; exposing all of us to the toxic chemicals in the plastic, as well as all the dangers that come with swallowing tiny shards of plastic.
So, when you ask if plastic is really that bad, just remember that every plastic bag, bottle, and straw will eventually break down into microplastics that will, in turn, go directly back to the environment, wreaking havoc on the life in it.
The worst of all these culprits are the single-use plastics, plastics designed to be used only once before being discarded. Some examples include:
- Plastic Straws
- Plastic Packaging
- Plastic Wrappers
- Plastic Bottles
These items are common, everyday items in most of our lives, and all of them are designed with convenience, rather than sustainability, in mind. To examine single-use plastics one step further, if we focused on plastic packaging alone, we would still be working with over 40 percent of all plastic made.
To give you a reference for how much plastic that is, it’s estimated that plastic production since the 1950s has produced over 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic, meaning that there are 3.3 billion metric tons of plastic packaging in the world right now. Combine that with the knowledge that plastic never decomposes, and you can truly see the scope of the damage plastic can cause. If that doesn’t shock or concern you, we don’t know what will!
How To Help
At Manifest Commerce, we recognize the issue of single-use plastics; it’s why we do what we do! Our mission is to help make the world of eCommerce green, and the best place to start is with packaging. In a partnership with Manifest Commerce, you can expect fully sustainable plastic alternatives for all your shipping materials, as well as carbon neutral shipping and even green warehousing!
We’re working to make the entire supply chain eco-friendly, from top to bottom, and you can help! Spread the word about plastic usage, and try to make some minor changes for yourself as well!
Try to replace plastics in your life with alternatives, like using a stainless steel straw instead of a plastic one. Recycle plastic more consciously, and pick up plastic debris when you see it on the ground! Every small action can make a big difference, and with your help, we can tackle this plastic problem.