The use of plastics has been on a steady incline since the 1970s, and the impact that this massive increase in plastic use has had on the environment is unquestionable. As more and more companies pledge to reduce or even eliminate their use of plastics, especially single-use plastics, it is more important than ever to understand exactly why society needs to move away from plastics in favor of environmentally friendly options. Let’s take a closer look at the 4 main reason why moving away from plastics is beneficial.
Plastic debris travels far
Plastic debris doesn’t just end up in landfills. It ends up in rivers, in lakes, in oceans—and all around the world. The recent discovery of plastic debris in the deepest depths of the ocean has uncovered a startling truth: there is nowhere that plastic does not eventually travel, harming the delicate ecosystems and killing wildlife in its wake.
Plastics kill animals
Plastic kills millions of animals each year, both directly and indirectly. Many types of marine life and birds are killed from swallowing plastics, choking on plastic or becoming entangled in plastics; while other animals are indirectly killed due by plastics via the pollution that plastic production causes or by consuming other animals which have eaten plastic. Plastic also damages the environments in which these animals live, killing off their food and destroying their water sources.
Very few plastics are biodegradable or successful compostable
There are very few biodegradable plastic options out there, and what plastic materials do claim to be biodegradable tend to be inefficient when it comes to actually composting into the earth. Most plastics last effectively forever, making them a permanent stain on the environment and a continued threat to animals and plant life that are harmed by plastic debris. In short, plastic will not be going anywhere, so the more plastic debris is added to the environment, the worse off the animals, plants and Earth itself will be.
Plastic creation causes additional pollution
Another reason why it is so essential that society moves away from plastics is the additional pollution caused from plastic production. Factories that produce plastic products emitting carbon dioxide and other toxic gases into the air, causing further harm to the environment and contributing significantly to dangerous climate change. The less demand there is for plastic production, the less these factories will have to operate, and the higher the chances that their level of pollution can be reduced.
From Plastics to Natural, Sustainable Materials
The negative impact that plastic has on the environment cannot be overstated. The time for switching from plastics to natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly materials is today. There are many companies looking to develop more environmentally conscious materials for everyday use—from creating bags to containers to straws and everything in between; these sustainable materials include bamboo, which is currently shaping up to be the only material which can genuinely replace single-use plastics. If you are ready to support companies that want to help reduce the negative impact that plastics have on the world, consider supporting a company that is working towards sustainable materials today.