None of us would consciously consider plastic as part of our food intake. This very unappetizing concept represents a reprehensible part of the diet; nevertheless, the truth is this is happening. Imagine inadvertently consuming a chunk of credit card plastic each year. This equates to ingesting as much as 5 grams of microplastic every single week, that is, each and every one of us!
A Water Based Problem
Water proves the source of the problem, including both tap and bottled supplies. Other consumables studied confirm that the highest volume of plastic presents in shellfish, beer and salt.
Considering this is World Plastic Pollution Week, most of us are aware of the volume of plastic literally flowing into the environment, and know that better disposal and recycling policies are called for. However, research indicates that the scale seems to be more widespread than initially estimated. This is bad news zone.
The report titled “Assessing Plastic Ingestion” calls for governments to play a key role in making manufacturers and consumers more accountable. That work echoes the Loop Alliance, launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2019. This aims to help introduce zero-waste packaging to end plastic pollution. Some of the key drivers include:
- Plastic is a global problem. It’s also a global opportunity
- Five steps that could end the plastic pollution crisis – and save our ocean
- Africa is playing a key role in the world by banning the use of plastic bags
Rescue Measures from the World Economic Forum to End Plastic Pollution
If plastic pollution continues at the current rate, we will end up with more of this oil-based product than fish in the sea by the mid-century. The alarming news is that in excess of 90% of plastic is not recycled, creating a worrying 8 million metric tons of plastic waste finding its way into the oceans every year.
The WEF plays an important role through promoting TerraCycle, a global waste management and recycling company. Stakeholders include logistics giant UPS as well as many leading world retailers and consumer goods companies. These are a few listed and familiar household names:
- Proctor & Gamble
Together with many others, they plan to develop an important zero-waste e-commerce system simply called “Loop”.
Closing the Loop
Loop’s main aim is to promote controlled and responsible consumption, thereby eliminating waste. This it plans to do through the introduction of more efficient methods for consumers to buy, enjoy and – most importantly – recycle any residual waste, whether food or packaging. Loop aims to eliminate single-use packaging, and it will do this by delivering products direct to the consumer using durable and reusable packaging.
Core to the Loop Project
The products Loop alliance partners aim to deliver to consumers’ homes and offices will use durable packaging. Loop aims to refill and reuse the packaging multiple times after collecting, cleaning and refilling it. Over 100 recycles/reuses are on the drawing board. The alliance forum driving the project plans to help Loop’s pioneering partners deliver the Loop model to many cities around the world.
Sombre Message to Digest
“We can’t escape consuming plastics,” said Marco Lambertini, WWF International Director General. “If we don’t want plastic in our bodies, we need to stop the millions of tons of plastic that continue leaking into nature every year.”
It’s time for bold citizens of the world to take the initiative before we choke ourselves and the planet we call home. Along, that is, with its many innocent occupants hanging desperately on what we do next.