Over recent years attention has been drawn to the environmental issue surrounding plastic waste. In particular, the amount we are producing and how this is unsustainable. Plastic waste is the enormous amount of plastic which we produce and then ‘waste’, by this we mean the plastic isn’t recycled or reused. Instead it ends up in landfill sites, littered amongst the environment or the ocean, which can have disastrous effects.
How big is the problem?
Plastic waste has only recently become a massive issue. Half of all plastics ever manufactured has been made in the last 15 years. In other words, in 1950 only 2.3 tons of plastic were being produced, yet by 2015 this increased to 448 million tons! What’s even more worrying is that only 9% of this has been recycled. This plastic will be on our planet for hundreds of years to come – 400 to be precise – which means the first ever plastic to be created is still around now. It’s because of this durability it became popular, along with being cheap to produce. Global economies have greatly benefited since its inception to a point now where plastic is everywhere and in almost everything.
What can brands do to improve?
Packaging accounts for 40% of the total plastic usage (which is single use plastic) and therefore one of the main contributors to plastic waste. This area has the biggest potential for improvement, as many of these plastics can be made so that they are recyclable. If not recyclable, they can be made with less actual plastic within this packaging. By this we mean companies can create packaging with a mixture of biodegradable materials and plastic, so that when it’s thrown away into landfill a smaller percentage of the total packaging will remain whilst the rest can decompose. ViDrate sachets currently contain just 0.4g of plastic per 100g of packaging. To help you understand this further, to use as much plastic waste as what is contained in a 1 x 500ml single use plastic bottle, you would need to get through 75 ViDrate sachets. So as long as you are using a reusable bottle and our ViDrate sachets, you are already helping make a big difference! Unfortunately, the current infrastructure to helping fix this plastic waste issue is still very limited as much packaging ends up in landfill when it could be recycled.
Another way to reduce the amount of plastic in packaging is by simply reducing the quantity of plastic used. For example, instead of individually wrapping coconuts (to slightly increase the product life span) which is not necessary, companies have started to sell them without the wrappers. This has reduced single use plastic creation and waste, as well as encouraged other similar companies to also go plastic free. Consumers still continued to buy the products and were pleased that the necessary plastic was removed.
This was just one example of how to reduce plastic, there needs to be thousands of other companies (and customers supporting them) starting or taking on similar initiatives in the coming future. Otherwise it is predicted that by 2050 there will be more plastic waste in the sea than fish, ton for ton.
It’s also not just how we dispose of this plastic which is the problem; it’s also the amount that is being created. When creating plastic greenhouse gasses are emitted. These gasses such as methane and carbon dioxide act as a barrier which keeps the sun’s rays trapped close to earth, keeping it warmer than it should be.
What can we do to help reduce the waste?
There are many ways in which we can reduce how much plastic we consume. Firstly, supermarkets and stores have already stopped giving out free plastic bags, instead charging consumers or some supermarkets ban them altogether, which has made a big difference to the health of the environment but keep remembering to bring your own shopping bag whenever you go into town. You never know when those spurs of the moment purchase decisions might hit! When shopping it’s easy to just pick your favourite brands of food. However, food packaging can contribute quite a bit to plastic waste. Instead of choosing food in plastic containers try boxed foods instead, or better yet foods with no packaging at all. Carboard biodegrades quicker and easier than plastics. Foods such as apples (which you can buy without plastic packaging) are even better to buy than boxed foods. If you want to take this one step further, you can shop in bulk. Try and find stores which have stations of food, so that you can bring your own jars and fill up them up there. Jars are reusable and can be recycled easily, so this way you are generating almost zero plastic waste!
If you love to drink coffee on the go, instead of buying a plastic or plastic-coated take-away cup, bring your own cup. Coffee shops do not mind if you ask for the drink in your own thermos, it saves them money. Bringing your own cup allows you to not accept straws as well, and if you’re in a restaurant just say no to them. By switching to these more environmentally conscious ways of living, you are reducing the demand for plastic, therefore less of it will be created. You are also reducing the increasing amount of plastic that ends up in landfill; and so reducing the amount of toxic chemicals being released, and the amount of wildlife which plastic has effected so much.
ViDrate & Plastic Waste
A vast majority of consumers are now aware of this impact that everyone is making to the environment. Therefore, we as people are trying to consciously choose environmentally friendly products. Many companies also now realise their role in contributing to this global crisis, so are creating new ways to reduce their plastic waste and increase sustainable ways of production. Relatively new companies, such as ViDrate, are more likely to be environment conscious and therefore create eco-friendly products. Our sachets include only 0.4g of plastic per 100g of packaging, and all of our exterior packaging which house these sachets contain 0% plastic. Our sachets have to include a thin layer of plastic to guarantee that the product inside remains completely fresh. However, our development team are looking to go one step further and launch a PLASTIC FREE sachet, which would be the first of its kind. Watch this space!
ViDrate sell reusable bottles, so that our customers can purchase less single use plastic bottles. Along with shopping with your own bag now, rather than using single use plastic bags, reusable bottles are also seen as a great ‘easy win’ in helping to reduce your plastic waste. In 2018 approximately every person consumed 45 litres of bottled water in the year. Imagine all that plastic being produced, used once, then thrown away. If you used one bottle for a whole year, you would not only save money, but also make a massive positive impact on the environment.