Embrace a zero waste mindset to stop plastic pollution

Surmountable Environmental Issues
Jun 8, 2022
4 min read
Move from recycling to zero waste to avoid plastic pollution in oceans and ourselves / iStock

Issue 21 • Week of June 5, 2022 / Updated May 15, 2023

June 7th was Beat Plastic Pollution Day.

Did you hear about it? Probably not. Unfortunately, the lack of urgency around this legacy we are leaving for future generations in favor of our convenience says a lot about our society. Plastic itself is a paradox for its very qualities that we appreciate are the very same characteristics that make it so hard to expunge. Almost all of the plastic that has ever been produced still exists and much will last until the year 3000.

Plastic from synthetic clothing contributes 85% of man-made material found on ocean shores. Current global recycling commitments by the top five soft drink and water brands would only reduce oceanic plastic pollution by 7%. Plus, their current bottle collection rate would have to increase by 43% to capture thousands more bottles every second just to meet their 2025 targets. Sometimes plastic does not even get to factories before it causes problems. Nurdle spills before production lead to massive environmental consequences for wildlife and our food chain.

Worse still is that our individual efforts to recycle can be in vain. The recycling logo was intentionally designed to be confusing by the plastic industry, so it appears on many products that are not recyclable.

How can we change our behavior as a society?

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