The Myth of Plastic Recycling: Are We Turning Into Plastic Dolls?
Updated: May 18
It's no secret that plastic has become ubiquitous in our daily lives.
From packaging to electronics, plastic is absolutely everywhere.
Sure, plastics have undoubtedly made our lives more convenient, but the convenience comes at a significant cost to our environment and health. Plastics can take hundreds of years to break down, which means that ❗ much of the plastic we've ever produced still exists in some form today❗
But what about recycling plastics, you may ask? ♻
Well, the harsh truth is that most of the plastic we produce ends up straight to landfill (see e.g. this piece of research, or this one). That is a lot of plastic incinerated, landfilled or mismanaged which can leach harmful chemicals into the soil and water, break into microplastics, release GHGs when incinerated, end up in oceans (either killing or being eaten by the fishes we then consume) and so on.
And that’s not it! 😵
While most plastics aren’t recycled and end up poisoning the environment in one way or another, producing these plastics also has a very negative impact on the environment. Plastics are made from raw materials (e.g. oil 🛢) in an energy hungry manufacturing process (and producing energy is not free, if the energy comes from renewables, this is clean energy that could have been used for other societal tasks, if not, this is even more GHGs emissions).
Manufacturing plastics pollutes (a lot) ❗
Once used, plastics pollute (a looot) ❗❗
What can we do about it?
Reduce our plastics consumption 📉
And this can be easier than you think!
For e.g., if you are lucky enough to live in cities like London, Paris etc, with high quality water on the tap🚰 (we underappreciate how *amazing* water on the tap is, and tend to discard it because of how it tastes etc), well… next time you go groceries shopping, ask yourself: “Is that really worth buying this water bottle today? Is that really worth buying this water wrapped in plastics that will pollute for 100s years and take 10 min to drink, while I have good quality water on the tap for a fraction of the cost?”
Well… Probably not.
A similar reasoning can be followed in many other contexts.
We are what we consume, and we consume what we harvest from our environment.
So, if we eat and live in plastics, will we become plastic dolls?
What's on your plastics menu today?