Most people go the supermarket and use a plastic bag without thinking. Many use plastic water bottles once and throw them out at the end of the day. But where does all that plastic actually go? Think smarter about your environmental packaging Unfortunately the answer is that plastic lingers in the environment long after we throw it away. Here’s how your packaging choices impact the environment.
How Plastic Harms The Environment
Plastic is everywhere around us. Electronic devices, shopping bags, containers, and children’s toys are filled with plastic. Unfortunately, that plastic often remains behind once those goods are consumed. Plastic is not “biodegradable”, which means it cannot be naturally reduced to its chemical components, which are also toxic. The most visible reminder of that fact is landfills, given that 90% of plastic is not recycled. Unfortunately, plastic also persists in the ocean and in aquatic life. A dead whale found in a canal in southern Thailand had 17 pounds of plastic in its body, including 80 plastic bags. That story is unfortunately very common, and it’s no surprise why so many animals accidentally consume plastic. There’s even a swirling mass of trash in the Pacific Ocean known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which holds almost 80,000 tons of plastic. Plastic pollution is a serious problem but fortunately, several groups are leading the charge to clean up our environment.
The Ban The Bottle Campaign
Ban the Bottle is a nonprofit that campaigns to eliminate plastic water bottle waste. Every year, Americans consume 50 billion plastic water bottles, the major of which are not recycled. Ban the Bottle encourages consumers to stop using plastic water bottles in favor of reusable containers or in-home filtration systems. The group has also tried to dispel the myth that bottled water is cleaner than tap water and highlights the environmental harm when plastic is not properly recycled. Ban the Bottle also encourages supporters and activists to hold their own “Ban the Bottle” events. These events highlight the negative environmental impact of plastic and encourage attendees to limit their plastic bottle consumption.
Another nonprofit that is committed to reducing plastic waste is BagItNYC, which campaigns against plastic single-use shopping bags. The group supports legislation to tax the consumption of single-use plastic bags or outride ban their use. BagItNYC has also found innovative ways to highlight plastic pollution in New York City. The BagItNYC Mapping Project encourages supporters to take pictures of plastic pollution in their communities and post the image on Instagram. The geo-location feature on Instagram allows the group to build a map of plastic pollution in New York’s boroughs and highlight whether local city politicians support a plastic bag tax.
The Benefits Of Metal Packaging
The environmental damage caused by plastic clear, whether it’s in the Pacific Ocean or your own neighborhood. Taxes can limit consumption, but what can we use instead of plastic? Metal packaging offers a solution that’s durable and far less damaging to the environment. Metal closures and packaging are far easier to recycle than plastic, reducing the amount of waste that ends up in the environment as well as reducing emerging consumption. Some metals such as aluminum can be 100% recycled, saving more than 90% of the energy needed to create new aluminum. Metal packaging is the answer to plastic pollution and can make our neighborhoods, and our environment, green for generations to come.
Plastic consumption has serious repercussions for our environment, even as we consume more and more each year. Unless we reduce our consumption, most of that plastic will continue to end up in landfills and the ocean. Greater use of metal can reduce both waste and energy consumption, helping ensure a cleaner environment for everyone.