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Sustainability can mean so many things, re-using, avoiding, recycling.
When it comes to plastic, which aspects are most important?
- Plastic recycling is often an illusion
- Why there is so much plastic in our food chain
- The first step is awareness
Plastic - the material that was once a blessing has become a curse.
When I look at my home, plastic is omnipresent.
I have eliminated plastic shopping bags, containers, dishes and packaging a long time ago.
But still. Plastic is everywhere, and the waste of it now starts to haunt us.
Plastic recycling is an illusion. Even very developed countries recycle only about 16% of their plastic waste.
Most shocking for me to learn was that even a rich country like Germany, with functioning disposal systems, recycles only just under 16% of their plastic waste (study by Fraunhofer Institute 2018). And what cannot be recycled or disposed of is exported mainly to Asia.
The situation is even worse in emerging economies. According to the United Nations (UN), about 2 billion people do not have access to proper waste disposal. The waste ends up on the streets, in rivers, lakes or seas or is incinerated openly.
The first step is Awareness.
The plastic ends up in our food chain.
Depressing pictures and news in the media keep on flooding in. Tons of garbage in the Pacific Ocean and dead animals with nothing but plastic in their stomachs.
The plastic waste becomes invisible Microplastics.
Microplastics are everywhere! Greenpeace analysed seawater samples in the Antarctic in 2018, seven of eight samples were positive for microplastics. The plastic particles even penetrate to the deepest depths of our oceans. And they are found on the highest mountains of the Himalayas.
The first step is to be aware of the problem.
Once we saw it, we could not ignore it. My husband and I now work actively on the solution. We do it privately, but also every day in our company. Our ambition is that everybody will sit on a sofa that is made without plastic.