There are over 8 million tons of plastic debris in our oceans today, threatening the safety of marine life and humans alike by polluting our beaches, waterways, and even our food. Every year, 300 million tons of plastic are produced by manufacturers worldwide, and top brands are now beginning to make changes to fight plastic pollution before it can start. Here’s how brands are doing their part to fight plastic pollution.
Using Less Plastic in Their Packaging
Large brand conglomerates like Unilever and Nestle have been trying to reduce the amount of plastic they produce by reducing their plastic product packaging. This has required imaginative solutions such as using smaller containers, refillable bottles, and different materials in products across their product lines.
Making these small changes has allowed brands to cut their plastic packaging use by anywhere from 35-75%, removing hundreds of thousands of tons of plastic from the environment before it can ever make its way into our oceans.
Creating a New Wave of Plastic-Free Products
Some of the biggest offenders of plastic pollution in our oceans and landfills are the small things we’re used to using every day, like plastic straws, cutlery, or disposable coffee cups. Brands have begun to eliminate these single-use plastics by offering sustainable, reusable alternatives such as bamboo straws and reusable coffee tumblers.
National coffee brands like Starbucks are also pledging to serve their drinks in more reusable cups that they provide or the customers bring in themselves, with discounts for customers who decide to do the latter.
Half of the 300 million tons of plastic produced each year come from single-use plastic. By providing sustainable alternatives, millions of tons of plastic waste in the ocean can be eliminated.
Sponsoring Cleanup Efforts
While halting the production of new plastic in its tracks is crucial to the environment, there are still millions of tons of plastic floating in our oceans and clogging our landfills. No one knows how much plastic is currently flowing through our oceans, but in 2015 experts estimated it to be around 150 million metric tons.
Plastic takes hundreds if not thousands of years to degrade, so the only way to eliminate it from our oceans is to roll up our sleeves and find new ways to remove it. Many brands, such as the sustainable paper products brand RIO, are dedicating portions of their proceeds to ocean cleanup initiatives to reverse the damage that has already been done. RIO leads the way in creative solutions for collecting plastic in waterways before it reaches the ocean and finding ways to recycle collected materials so it never makes its way back. They are funding their efforts by producing sustainable, alternative paper products that also help stop deforestation by using eco-friendly bamboo instead of paper from trees.
When it comes to reducing plastic waste, brands across the globe are starting to take up the mantle to reduce their production of new plastic and help eliminate the plastic that has already made its way into the oceans, necessary steps to ensure the health and well-being of our planet for generations to come.
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