More than 400 million tons of plastic are produced worldwide every year, a figure making heads spin. On the occasion of its brand-new campaign Break The Plastic Wave, Surfrider Europe, in cooperation with Rethink Plastic alliance, is warning us against plastic fake outs often displayed as solutions to fight against this modern times plague and is highlighting true solutions to plastic solution.
#1 Relying on recycling to eliminate all our plastic waste
Here is the most widespread fake out: recycling is THE solution. Don’t be mistaken, recycling is a good idea. It would be counter-productive to say otherwise. However, it will not save our planet from all the plastic wastes thrown away every day. The main reason: it is today impossible to recycle all plastic products. Why? First, there are too many kinds of plastics, mixed with all kinds of other materials, recycling them is then too complex. Secondly, recycling certain types of plastics is unfortunately not profitable… That is why lots of manufacturers like virgin plastic better as it is less costly. In addition, recycling doesn’t allow a full material recovery, is not always harmless, and is certainly not infinite. Finally, and foremost, because plastic quantities have become too big… Sent across the world by Western countries, most of their waste is piling up in Asia.
The true solution? Limit plastic production and consumption above all. Indeed, “recycling everything” is not the solution to plastic pollution. However, act at the source by limiting plastic consumption is to be paired up with Manufacturer plastic production reduction. And that can really change things. Ocean’s Zero is there to help you.
#2 Falling into the trap of bioplastics
Marketing campaigns from certain manufacturers want us to believe that bioplastics would deteriorate more easily and have a low impact on the environment. False! First, it is good to know that bioplastics cover 2 types of plastics: bio-based plastics and biodegradable plastics. Bio-based plastics do not mean without fossil fuels and organic materials used partly for their production are mostly dependent on intensive agriculture, particularly harmful for the environment. Then, biodegradable plastics, are neither deteriorated in the environment nor in the ocean, but only in very specific conditions, and of course, not in a snap. Meanwhile, they have enough time to impact marine life.
Surfrider Europe shines a light on these misleading practices and encourages not to be fooled by marketing. Rather than replacing single-use plastic with another, as a consumer, we reduce at the source and favor reusable or bulk. We also ask for strong measures from our decision-makers to limit misleading messages and single-use plastics, including bio-based and biodegradable plastics.
#3 Hoping that we can clean all the plastic from the ocean
Would it be possible to make it all disappear? We wish, but with 8 million tons of plastics dumped every year in the ocean, most of all in the deep ends, it is unrealistic to believe we will be able one day to clean it all. Also, even if lots of projects come to life with the ambition of cleaning aquatic environments, this complex environment makes it impossible, without considering massive pollution due to microplastics even more difficult to solve.
The true solution is to act at the source of the problem! To prevent worldwide seas from carrying more plastics than fish by 2050, Surfrider Europe calls out to limit plastic consumption and production, at all levels. Once again, it’s by acting at the source that true change is going to happen.
This article originally appeared on surfrider.eu