Large Companies Reducing Small Plastics
Plastic has been a fantastic and insanely versatile invention. It’s what we do with it when we’re finished that sucks. @NatGeo reports that in the 60 years that the material has been around, humans have created 8.3 billion metric tons of plastics, and 79 percent of it is in our landfills, waterways, and oceans. It’ll be another 400 years until that all degrades. The biggest contributor to all of this waste is single-use plastics.
While large companies are some of the biggest single-use plastic creators, some of them are working to diminish their impact. 7-11 Japans sells billions of rice balls each year—all individually wrapped. @Japantimes is reporting that the retail giant will start using biodegradable plastics made from sugar products. It isn’t yet for 100 percent of those rice balls, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Air New Zealand is trying to have a positive impact as well. Although the airline (like most airlines) still pollutes like crazy, they are reducing their single-use plastics. They are switching to more eco-friendly alternatives for things like coffee cup lids and some food plates, as well as eliminating plastic water bottles in some areas. This will reduce the number of single-use plastic items by about 50 million by October. All of that could have ended up in a landfill or the ocean. The water bottle elimination is also said to reduce their carbon footprint by reducing weight on the planes.
It isn’t only up to these large companies to fix the plastic problem. As consumers we can take steps as well: Buy and use a reusable water bottle and coffee cup. Bring reusable utensils to work. Stop buying food wrapped in individual packets. They are convenient but usually unnecessary, and there are often other choices. If you do end up with plastic waste, hold onto it until you find a recycle bin. It’s ok if it lives in your pocket for a short while. Don’t use plastic produce bags if you don’t need to. Most things can just sit in your cart or basket. The most important part of “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle,” is Reduce!