It's everywhere! In our phones, our creams, our water... And we're so addicted to them that trying to avoid plastic for even a day is a real challenge. For decades now, plastic has been king in our modern lives. But while it's light and practical, it's a real danger to the environment and even our health. What can we do to avoid it, or at least reduce it?
A few figures to demonstrate the scale of the problem: 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year, that's 10 tonnes per second, 40 tonnes by the time you read this sentence! Only 10% is recycled correctly worldwide; the rest ends up underground, in an incinerator, or in the environment. Every year, 8 to 12 tonnes of plastic are dumped into the oceans, so much so that it is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea! And it's not just underwater: we ingest an average of 5g of plastic a week, due to microplastics contained in our food, tap water, bottled water and cosmetics. One last thing: plastic doesn't exist in its natural state, it's a 100% human production process that costs the planet a lot of money because it takes 2kg of oil to make 1kg of plastic. Hello global warming!
So, what can we do?
To combat plastic pollution, the most effective solution would be to stop producing and consuming plastic. But that's not for tomorrow.
We can start by changing the laws governing the use and production of single-use plastics, which are the most problematic. This has already been done in Europe for plastic straws, bags and cutlery, but we're not stopping there! We can also promote eco-design for our consumer products, i.e. rules that govern the way in which our products are designed and manufactured.
As far as industry is concerned, we can continue to rethink our plans to reduce the use of plastics in our packaging, think more carefully about recyclability and end-of-life, and incorporate more and more recycled materials to reduce our footprint. At Klorane, packaging has been upgraded: our shampoo bottles are 100% recycled plastic (excluding the cap), and our shower gels have lost 33% of their original weight. This represents 7 tonnes of plastic production saved, every year. And we're constantly developing solid alternatives that use less water and plastic!
And on our own small scale? We can learn to consume more responsibly and say goodbye to plastic wherever possible. When it comes to shopping, we can take our own bags and jars and focus on bulk and unpackaged products. On a daily basis, we can carry a water bottle and a set of reusable cutleries to satisfy any cravings. At home, we can opt for refillable products, avoid synthetic clothes that release microplastics with each wash, and keep up to date with the sorting instructions for our local authority to make sure that what can be recycled is actually recycled!
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