Plastic is a ubiquitous part of our lives. In recent times, it has occurred as the life-blood of modern day products. In 1907, invention of Bakelite, world’s first fully synthetic plastic, took the world by surprise and geared the modernization in this ever-growing world. World hasn’t been same ever since. It was the first material to be completely derived from man-made substances and not animal and plants. This reason makes it extremely durable and useful as plastic is not subject to spoilage due to time.
However, the same reason for its popularity also became the reason it is being criticized today. Plastic cannot be decomposed and cannot be broken down. But, it does get broken into small bits and pieces causing it to become a major reason of permanent pollution. Today, plastic debris poses a monstrous threat on our world. About six million tones of plastic debris is thrown into oceans every year and that is like putting one million elephants into oceans each year! This problem has invited worldwide attention to it in recent years but a little has been done to find a solution to increasing plastic waste on face of earth.
Some organizations and companies have tried to take steps to minimize the problem on their behalf and are leading the way to a more sustainable way of living. Plastic packaging has revolutionized the modern products. It is used as primary choice for packaging because it makes the product spoilage free, is very cheap and also makes for an attractive packaging. Finding an alternative for plastic is not easy as other alternatives costs very high. However, this economic affordability of plastic has cost our environment a great deal. But recently many companies have started offering eco-friendly options in packaging. For instance, Frito-Lay by Pepsico has taken various initiatives for the same. They’ve increased the use of rPET, a recyclable polymer for packaging by 4%.
Sustainable packaging benefits both environment and companies. It helps in improving brand image as modern consumer prefers purchasing products from eco-friendly companies. Such companies are also rewarded by being praised online. This provides them with free publicity thus saving the costs. However, only reducing plastic waste isn’t enough, we also need to focus on recycling. It is because we can’t completely boycott the use of plastic. Therefore, it becomes important to focus on recycling each variety of plastic so that lesser plastic lands up in our landfills and leads to a cleaner plastic-free society.
Reusing and recycling plastics not only saves environment but also helps in generating wealth. It is evident from the fact that there has been an increasing cost of raw materials, recycled plastic reduces the need to buy more raw material. Producing plastic from scratch requires a lot of energy and disposal of plastic spoils our water and air resources. Therefore, recycling of plastic becomes a life-savior and it shoots two birds with one arrow. Recycling of Plastic waste makes our environment and economy wealthy. It might be shocking to hear but it can save tree felling and floods. Plastic recycling reduces the need for paper products and thus, reducing cutting of trees. A higher forest cover reduces chances of floods. It even reduces the greenhouse emissions thus it doesn’t increase the overall temperature. Baby-steps like using plastic waste by recycling it can greatly Impact our ecosystem in a very positive way.
Companies like P&G and Hindustan Uniliver Ltd. Have started using recycled plastic in their packaging. Thus, paving the way for other companies to follow the same. It not only benefits the company by being an economical method but is also the moral duty of business houses to help keep the world clean and green. P&G has used more than 34,400 metric tons of PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled Plastic) in its packaging.
It is encouraging to see various Multinational companies to move towards a sustainable style of business. However, there is a long way to go before the situation actually starts improving.More and more companies need to step up to improve the situation. Just like various leaders have quoted over the years, we don’t own this earth. We just rent this place until our next generation takes our place and it is our moral duty to leave them a place worth living.