Our planet is drowning in plastic, and there’s more than one thing to do about it

The Earth is 71% water, you’ve probably heard that before. What you might not know is that, today, 6.9 km3 of our planet is plastic. That’s a scary-as-hell statistic, and it’s also sure-as-hell not what Mother Nature intended. 

It’s the reason over 100 million marine animals die every year from swallowing chip packets and sticking their cute little heads into empty bottles. It’s also why 8 out of 10 human babies, and almost all adults, have traces of plastic additives in their bodies. Yikes!

So, what to do, what to do? There’s an answer, but it’s not simple. It’s multifaceted, and requires the forward-thinking, conscious behaviour of a united human race (companies included!). Let’s break it down (pun intended). 

1. Stop using plastic for the things we can

If you ask most people, “stop using plastic” is the obvious solution. Get rid of the demand for plastic, and there won’t be any reason to make plastic, so the world is saved. Right? Well… not exactly. 

You see, plastic will probably always be a necessary material for certain products. Truthfully, plastic is sometimes the more eco-friendly solution! Take plastic shopper bags, for example. A reusable cotton bag requires so much more energy and carbon dioxide emissions to produce, that it has to be used 7100 times before it would have a lower impact on the environment than a plastic bag. 

Then, of course, there’s the plastic that already exists. There’s a lot of it, 335 million tons to be precise, and it needs to go somewhere. One option is to recycle and upcycle, but that’s really just delaying the process. After all, every plastic eventually ends up in the same smelly place – the landfill. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. We should try to stop plastic production with vehement determination. Slowing down the increase of plastics on Earth will have long term benefits for the planet. Still, we need to do MORE. Enter, biodegradable plastics!

2. Start using biodegradable plastic for the rest

The Industrial Revolution might have created a serious plastic problem, but we’ve also been getting smarter and more innovative as a human race. The proof? A ground-breaking plastic additive that causes plastics to biodegrade more quickly in a landfill disposal environment.

The science is actually quite simple. 

Microorganisms that live in landfills feed off carbon and break it down into tiny bits, but the carbon in plastic exists in chains called polymers. These are too long and hard for microorganisms to break down. So, Biodegradable Future’s organic additives change the DNA of regular plastic to make it more easily broken down when it comes into contact with microbes. 

This means that plastic in landfills is broken down at an accelerated rate. The bonus is that this additive doesn’t weaken the strength of the plastic, it’s cost-effective and easy to implement, and it’s EU and FDA compliant. 

3. Recycle and upcycle like your life depends on it (spoiler alert: it does!)

The importance of recycling has been understood and embraced by people for years. It’s the process of converting waste into materials that can be reused to make a new product. More recent, though, is the popular practice of upcycling. This is when discarded products (like fabric samples) are used to create products of higher value (like slippers). 

Sadly, only 10% of all plastic produced has actually been recycled. Still, even if this was 100%, recycling and upcycling are not a complete solution to plastic waste. They keep plastics out of the landfills for a while, but only for a while. Eventually, the final product ends up in a bin, and that bin is dumped in a landfill, and then what? 

Well, the pile grows bigger, smellier and more toxic, because plastics take up to 1000 years to decompose! Unless, of course, they’re made with Biodegradable Future’s organic additives!

If you’re interested in learning more about our additives, and how they could lower your company’s global footprint, get in touch with Dean Lynch at dean@biodegradablefuture.com