Fate of All That Is Plastic

Imagine how modern life would be if there was no plastic around us! The World Economic Forum has reported that production of plastic has seen a massive boom during the last 50 years. It exploded to three hundred forty-three million tons in the year 2014 from sixteen and a half million tons in 1964.

Majority of the disposable plastic products lands up in landfills. The sad truth is that it takes about five hundred years for plastic to decompose. Also, the massive amount of plastic thrown into oceans is a great threat to the safety and health of marine life. Millions of tons of plastic materials enter into the water bodies including oceans every year. These include tiny particles and microplastics that can be consumed by marine life and then is reintroduced into humans via us consuming fish.

It is also a known fact that very little plastic wastes get recycled as there are different plastic kinds with distinct chemical compositions. Additionally, recycled plastics may even be contaminated when different types are mixed. Materials like ink and paper can also contaminate recycled plastics. It can be quite a labor-intensive task to separate different kinds of plastic from one another, as well as, for from other recyclable. Hence, it is not such a simple solution. When plastics are recycled, they need to be sorted and shredded. Thereafter, impurities such as paper have to be removed. Thereafter, shreds are melted and transformed into pellets that can be used to make other products.

Natural gas or petroleum is used to make plastic products like a drinking container through a chemical process.  However, materials such as bisphenol A and phthalates, which are added, can have detrimental effects on health. It is estimated that about 4% of the worldwide oil production is used for the required energy in the process of plastic manufacturing. As these polymers incorporate their energy source from fossil fuel, when so much of it is dumped into landfills, the environmental hazard can be immense. Such a fate of the polymers can be a massive wastage of resources, which could be otherwise used for producing fuel, heat, or electricity.

At first glance, a regular plastic container is not threatening but when you add in all the inputs of energy, raw material and then compile that in the difficulties of recycling plastic and impacts of trashed plastic have on our marine friends and our landfills, it becomes apparent that our plastic consumption has to be reduced.

While there is not a hard stop of using plastic in the near future there are communities that are selectively phasing out particular plastic products and innovative ideas coming to market that will curb the production of plastic and it making its way into our landfills and waterways.  Do your part by finding ways of using less plastic in your everyday life and together, we can start to make an impact.

These tips and education come from Fit N’ Seal, a product line that is focused on bringing a practical green solution to market with the goal of reducing plastic consumption.