The Ultimate Solution

In the ideal world, the ultimate solution to end the problem of plastic pollution would be a worldwide ban on plastics altogether, therefore completely eliminating the chance of any plastic entering the ocean or inland waterways. This is, of course, not realistic. Plastic is utilised because of its convenience and practicality of use, and in reality, the harm caused by plastics would not be nearly so severe if all recyclable material was recycled, and otherwise, everything was disposed of properly. Like I said before, this is just not realistic. In fact, the inherent durability of plastic is what makes it an even bigger issue to the environment, a lot of it takes centuries to break down, and some never does.

turtle-plastic-bag.png

While there are efforts to make current plastics more ‘environmentally friendly’, a lot more can be done.

Think beyond plastic bags and water bottles, what about the plastic cups, plates bowls and plastic disposable cutlery (…not to mention straws!)? Why are they necessary? What’s their real impact? Well, did you know roughly 10 million plastic straws used a day in Australia? 500 million straws a day in the US? One million plastic cups are discarded around the world every single minute? That’s probably at least two million by the time you read this post.

There is no reason why any of those things can’t be made of biodegradable, eco friendly material. Some countries around the world have already figured this out, and France is one of them. France has set in place a ban on single use plastic bags coming into place this year, and is imposing a ban on all disposable cutlery, plates and cups by 2020. The rest of the world needs to follow suit, but of course it’s not always that easy. There is a lot of money and big industries tied up with plastic and plastic products and biodegradable options are generally more expensive. Although, if all plastics were banned, companies would essentially be forced to come up with alternative materials from which to craft products. An expensive process, no doubt, but eventually companies would have to experiment with ways to make durable, eco friendly materials and products with a minimal environmental impact as cheap as possible to maximize their profits, ultimately lowering the price of biodegradable or eco-friendly products.

Another solution would be to impose a plastic tax, not just on plastic bags, but on all disposable plastics. If the tax was heavy enough, if would have the same effect as the ban in that for risk of losing business altogether due to reduced profit, companies would search for more eco friendly materials to base their products off to reduce the tax. Taxing plastic bags around the world has shown an enormous reduction in plastic bag usage, but its not enough. The tax really needs to be higher, and cover more plastic products. The problem with introducing a tax is that no one likes a new tax. No one wants to support the idea of paying more, even if it is for the benefit of the environment. The potential of a plastic tax extends further than just reducing the amount of plastic consumed: imagine what could be done with the revenue. The revenue from the tax (in the ideal world) could be used to fund numerous environmental projects, help clean up some of the existing plastic in the ocean and even subsidise environmentally friendly products.

As a society we have become so accustomed to our patterns of consumption that no one really thinks about the true impact of their actions. After all, that bottle of water you brought yesterday, and that take away coffee you had this morning… they have no impact right? They have no wider global effect right? That’s the attitude that needs to be changed to create real change in the world. It starts here, with campaigns like this. Small changes which lead to bigger changes, precedents which one day the world will follow.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “The Ultimate Solution

  1. Fantastic thoughts on what can be done and realistic steps toward lower the impact of this problems. It is such a complex problem due to the convenience and durability of plastic and plastic products and how they have become so normalised in our everyday practices. This has challenged me to think about small changes I can make, like not using straws and investing in a reusable coffee cup. Thanks for the challenging and thought provoking post

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comment, we can all help by making those small changes and benefit the earth! It can be as much as reuse a water bottle instead of buying new, using one less straw or none at all. Your idea of a reusable coffee cup is fantastic, I have a Thermos one myself, and I have to say they’re fantastic!

      Like

  2. Thank you for this great and informative post! We completely agree. Just becoming more aware and making small changes to our everyday activities can dramatically change our Earth!!! Plastic utensils and as plastic bags are indeed convenient but they are disastrous for our environment and wildlife. We completely agree that there is no excuse to why manufacturers can’t make bio-degradable and eco-friendly options. We agree that existing taxes on plastic bags and other plastic items should be higher. A lot of good can be done with all that revenue, funding on safe bio-degradable options would be invaluable. Thank you again for this great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. While a lot of people are conscious of their excessive plastic use, it still isn’t enough. Like you said, it is an expensive process for biodegradable materials to be commonplace and readily available for people to use. Even if all cafes were required to use actual biodegradable cups, imagine the impact!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s