The worldwide plastic bottle problem
When I go shopping I bring my own bags and use them week after week until they completely fall apart. Like that you save on plastic shopping bags. In the supermarkets, small plastic bags are available for fruit and vegetables and they are good because they are lightweight and clear so the counter person can identify what is inside.
Until recently, I would use these bags and reuse them at home. Now, both of the major supermarket chains in our area, Aldi and Lidl, introduced new bags that are biodegradable and I think this is a big step forward.
We seldom buy anything drinkable in plastic bottles as we love wine and the few juices that are bought each year normally come in cartons, the same as the coconut milk we buy. I am aware that along with plastic bags, plastic bottles form one of the biggest challenges our world has to face.
Plastic does not disintegrate
All that plastic does not decompose rapidly and forms a real-life hazard to birds and sea animals. Scientists have put out a warning that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
The fact that there is so much plastic really makes one wonder what direction this all will take. An article on the online web page of National Geographic reported that a plastic bag similar to the ones in the grocery stores was found at the deepest part of the ocean, the Mariana Trench. This is at a depth of 11 km, which means plastic is literally everywhere.
This needs to stop and the data is very worrying, to say the least. Fish feed on the microplastic, which seems to be everywhere, and then we eat this fish. I suppose you get the picture. Plastic in our food is really harmful to our health.
Plastic bottles in numbers
Did you know that in America people consume around 167 bottles of water per year? That is a lot of bottles but that is not the only important fact you need to know about plastics, here is more data on plastic bottles.
When you take into consideration that a bottle takes 700 years to decompose, one can understand that an urgent solution is needed. When you buy a bottle of water, 90% of the price you pay is for the bottle, not the water. In case the water your community provides is not very good, how about protesting so your house water becomes more palatable than bottled water? I think we have a right to good potable water.
Just imagine the positive impact if we would not buy bottled water anymore. It would surely help.
More sources for plastic bottles
Coca Cola is a brand known worldwide. What most people try to ignore is it is extremely bad for your health.
Here you can see a cute YouTube video explaining why drinking Coca Cola is bad for you.
On January 29, 1893, Coca Cola, a company in Atlanta, Georgia, USA launched its first product. In 1985 as competition grew with Pepsi, the company changed its formula and the drink was called New Coke. This was the first time that any change to the original recipe occurred. People did not like it and that is why after only 79 days, the company went back to its original recipe.
What is in Coca Cola
Now, this is funny data. 90% of this drink is water. Then comes Phosphoric acid, caramel food coloring (E150d) and the natural flavorings (which include coca leaf extract.) Wikipedia describes what this phosphoric acid is. The coca leaf extract used in Coca Cola does not contain cocaine but it did up till 1903.
Its origin seems to have been a Spanish drink by the name Kola Coca, which was presented at a contest in Philadelphia in 1885. The rights to this drink were bought by Coca Cola in 1953. Here you can read why a village in Spain, claims to be the inventor.
Coca Cola and its impact on the environment
To drink Coca Cola is up to you. It is not good for your health but some people remain addicted to the taste. We should look at the Coca Cola company from a different angle to understand the impact it has on the environment. Sadly that impact is big. I had no idea it was that bad. Here come some data you might not be aware of.
In old times this drink was served in glass bottles of different sizes. The glass was recyclable and people would get money for the empty glass bottle. Plastic PET bottles made its big entree in 1993, plastic is a lot lighter so a delivery truck could transport more of the beverage.
Even if the company is reluctant to reveal data, some things have become known. The following information, reported in 2018, made me think. Approximately one-fifth of all PET bottles produced in the world are Coca Cola bottles. That means some 180 thousand-million.
There are too many plastic bottles in landfills or floating in the ocean. Coca Cola shares a big part of the blame. I have never been a fan of this drink. I might consume one or 2 a year. As I said at the beginning of this post, I like a glass of wine instead.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Thanks to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 31 companies have revealed important data. Big companies like Nestle, Unilever, and Danone have voluntarily reported the amount of plastic their companies produce.
- Nestle 1.7 tonnes of plastic
- Unilever 610 thousand tonnes
- Danone 750 thousand tonnes
It is not easy to convince big companies to come and report the scope of their plastic contamination. 150 companies have joined the foundation. Companies like Burberry, L.Oreal, Walmart, Marks & Spencer, Pepsi Co, and H&M. Some of these companies were heavily criticized for reporting this data because it could negatively impact the product’s finances. But it is very important that companies reveal their contamination rate. Then steps can be taken to reduce and/or find different ways of packaging their product.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation says we have to come away from a linear economy. That means we take-make-waste. It is necessary to change how we make decisions. When a product is in the designing phase, that is the moment for the impact of the product on the environment to be determined. More care and thought has to be put into this.
To give the material a second or third use is preferable, instead of just throwing it away. This new system is called a circular economy and will help the planet to recover from the abuse it has suffered in the past. Our environment would be cleaner, fauna and flora can recuperate, and people would be able to live a healthier life.
To recycle and make new things like Tiny Houses is fantastic. Read this book by author Ryan Mitchell. It is packed with helpful tips on how to use recycled materials and build a home that is ecofriendly. If you are not born with 2 left hands this is your book, give it a try.
Our actions determine the world we live in. It will affect our health and our happiness. I hope you see this post as food for thought.
I have made a page with Recommendations for you, please have a look.
Source: The website La Voz del Despertar which means The wakeup voice.
Photo Source: Pixabay
In the following post, you can read how microscopic particles of plastic can get into your body. Living plastic-free can do wonders for your health. We really should be conscious of what all this plastic means for our health, life and the planet.