WHY RECYCLING PLASTIC IS NOT A LONG-TERM SOLUTION
To create sustainable solutions for businesses in the future, companies need to look at the long-term impact of any product. This means evaluating the manufacturing, packaging, shipping and disposal/recycling of each product. The aim is to create a sustainable model that won’t hurt the planet in the process. Plastic packaging has a massive impact on the environment and is proving a hard fix. This issue continues to highlight the need to swap to more environmentally friendly options.
Using plastic with the intention of recycling continues to prove an inadequate long-term solution. As much as solutions are needed for plastic in current circulation, the planet cannot handle further production of plastic products/packaging. This is highlighted in ‘What really happens to your plastic recycling’; which highlights there are no current solutions to deal with the quantity of plastic being produced.
“The problem isn’t that people aren’t recycling enough. The problem is that there is still far too much throwaway plastic being produced”.Greenpeace – What really happens to your plastic recycling
The article also highlights that even the plastic being recycled by UK consumers, is predominantly sent abroad to countries with ineffective recycling.
“Well over half of the household plastic packaging the government claims is recycled is sent abroad, most of it going to countries with very low recycling rates and a serious problem with plastic waste being dumped or burned illegally.”Greenpeace – What really happens to your plastic recycling
Trying to recycle plastic is not only proving ineffective environmentally, it is also having detrimental effects on the population. Side effects are now being reported from countries disposing of the UK’s plastic waste. A recent article in the Guardian found that “children as young as nine say they are ill from work recycling plastic in Turkey”. The UK is a huge part of this problem with statistics showing that “in 2021 the UK exported 122,898 tonnes of plastic waste to the country”.
From the plastic pollution in the oceans, the damaging health reports and the inability to effectively manage the quantity of plastic being produced; it is clear that a plastic alternative is required moving forwards. Especially within single use plastic industries like packaging. Currently there are a number of people and companies working hard to develop and use sustainable solutions. Consumers are also shopping with an environmentally conscious mindset.
This is giving promise of a plastic free packaging future. However big steps are still need. For more detailed information about the need to move away from plastic ‘The Big Plastic Count’ is a great resource; highlighting the immensity of the issue.