Why is it a problem
It has been under debate. Single use plastic and the fact that it ends up in the oceans and nature. To me very evident as I live by the coast. We usually have voluntary activities to clean the beaches from plastics and other waste. As much as five normal size bathtubs of waste flushes up on the shores of Bohuslän due to the currents. According to the Swedish environmental organization “Håll Sverige Rent” (Translates Keep Sweden Clean) 70% of all waste in the ocean is made of plastics. The most dangerous type is the plastic part grind down by natures forces into micro plastics. So small you cannot see it. It creates problems for fish and birds to digest their food and to reproduce.
So where do all this “shit” come from? Is it the locals and tourists that drop of their garbage after their fishing trip or pick nick at the shore? This is part of the problem and this behavior is unacceptable. But most of the waste floating to the shores and bays of Bohuslän comes from Europe with the currents. The plastics parts, packaging and other, has somewhere in the world been thrown away by a human. It is an indisputable fact that no animal drops plastic parts in the nature!
It is us humans and hand to your heart. Have you ever dropped a package, cigarette-end or a bottle to the ground and not picked it up? Have you ever put your waste in, or rather beside, an over filled dustbin? This is then taken by the wind or the rain water out into the waterways and finally into the sea. Around 50% of this sinks to the bottom and the more close to the shore the more damage it does. Sea freight and fishing is also a huge source of plastic waste to the oceans, boxes blowing overboard, nets and ropes lost, and finally amazingly waste dumped from the very boats that has the sea as their source of income. It takes up to 100 years for a plastic part to be broken down by nature.
So trying to reduce this by banning single use plastics like bags and mugs is a good start but not enough. For many this sounds more like political symbolic but I guess we need to start somewhere. We need to realize that plastic is a fantastic material that solves many problems for man and even nature. As with all tools we need to use it correctly. To quote Bob the Builder: “don’t use the saw as a hammer”! I like to draw the attention to another, in my view, big contributor to the problem. Over packaging!
I guess you all have cursed and had your blood pressure raising when you try get to the product you actually bought. But you stand there. Blood running from your fingers. Sweat pouring down from your forehead. You try using a scissor but it was destroyed the last time you tried to penetrate a package. Yes, you know the type preferred by the electronics industry. The hard stiff plastic. When you finally get to the product. Hopefully without any damage. You realize there is more package material to get rid of than the actual product.
If you are lucky you live in an area that has a good recycling collection system where you can get rid of it. However in many areas this will end up on in a landfill. Landfill sites close to the ocean.
Call to action
As a consumer you buy the product and not the packaging material. But this is part of your consumer experience and you can actually do something about it. Check out the company website or read on the package to find a e-mail adress to give your feedback. In worse case they send you a band aid but in best case they change to a more environmental friendly package.
Finally I need to share the above picture with you. What do you think? My best guess the brewery tried to make it Covid-19 safe. Then they decided to make a crash display making most of the lids fall of! Even worse that on the shelf there was a six pack variant. In shrink wrapped plastic! We cannot rely on the politicians to solve this. We need to take sound consumer decisions and raise our voice to the producers.
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