The problem with plastic

The problem with plastic

Plastic is both lightweight and extremely durable, making it the perfect material for all sorts of products and packaging. How this material benefits society is exactly how it is an inherent threat to the environment. Its durability means that it takes an incredibly long time to degrade and seeing that we have been producing plastic since the beginning of the twentieth century our planet is now drowning in the stuff.

But plastic itself is not the underlying problem. Our exploitation of this material is the real issue. We manufacture something that is near indestructible but often employ it to be used just once. Once! On top of that, separation and sorting have become minefields. This is because there are so many types of plastic which is often mixed with or physically attached to other types of material. Think of strawberry punnets with plastic film lids or yogurt pots with card labels glued and wrapped around them.

Communities around the world are bogged down by this omnipresent material yet there seems little incentive for change. The scariest bit is that, in most cases, the cost of collection and recycling of this at times nightmarish material is not put on those who produce the stuff. That cost goes to, wait for it, YOU. You the consumer (via taxes), you the business owner (via waste charges).

Consider what might happen if producers instead footed most of that bill for collection, sorting and recycling. Or let’s shoot for the stars and dream up the scenario where they paid for the whole headache. Do you know what would happen? Well they’d probably look at their bottom line and think, this is getting expensive! They might actually find a way to overcome the cost by redesigning their packaging so that it can either be composted or easily and cheaply dealt with by local authorities.

Green Salon Collective has compiled a number of solutions to help your salon minimise its plastic waste and we also offer some services to help you with responsible disposal. Read our articles:

This article was written for Green Salon Collective by MeetthefiveRs

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References and further reading

MeetthefiveRs’ article, Plastic is not the enemy and paper is not necessarily the solution

Floyd Glass & Window’s YouTube video, How glass is made

The Guardian article, War on plastic waste faces setback as cost of recycled material soars

The BBC article, Plastic or paper: Which bag is greener?

Stanford University’s article, Frequently Asked Questions: Benefits of Recycling

Glass Packaging Institute’s article, Glass Recycling Facts

Waste 4 Change’s article, 7 Types of plastic that you need to know

Pebble Magazine’s article, Plastic Free Shopping: 102 Of The UK's Best Zero Waste Stores

RE-COMB website

Singular Mars website

First Mile website

Recycle Now website

Bleach London website

OWAY website

Cover photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

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