Plastic has become a serious global problem – not just for the environment, but also for society and business – so much so that an influential group of investors have released a statement calling for a significant reduction in its use.
The call for urgent action
The statement’s 185 signatories – with a combined financial power of over USD 10 trillion in assets – call for companies to cut down on their use of plastic packaging.
The investors stress that society can lose up to USD 350 billion in greenhouse emissions, ocean pollution, and garbage collection. They also emphasise that heavy plastic use poses risks to businesses arising from regulatory legislation, plastic-related litigation and an increase in the costs of raw materials.
In this regard, the investor coalition calls for a new Global Plastics Treaty, which aims to encourage recycling and reuse while reducing production and consumption. They also ask for support for revisions to the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation.
Just how bad is our plastic problem?
Plastic is a very useful, very common material, but its use is not without consequence and the disposal of this material is where all our problems lie.
Plastic waste is non-biodegradable. This means that it does not decay naturally and takes aeons to decompose if left to the mercy of the environment.
Of course, different natural processes can reduce plastic waste to tiny bits, this poses another problem – microplastics. These tiny plastics can get everywhere and are especially harmful to animal life, which may end up accidentally taking plastic into their system.
What’s currently being done to address the plastic issue?
Various organisations have implemented different measures to help reduce global plastic waste to manageable levels. Here are some common solutions that are currently being adopted across different sectors:
- Reduction or ban of single-use plastics. Different countries and businesses have implemented measures to reduce or outright ban the use of single-use plastics such as straws, pet bottles and packaging.
- Recycling. Reusing plastic is the most ideal way to make sure the material does not pollute the environment. However, only 10% of all global plastic waste has been recycled due to a combination of factors, including improper disposal and stringent quality standards that dictate which plastics can be efficiently recycled and which ones end up in the landfill.
- Government policies. Legislative bodies all over the world have their own version of laws governing the reduction of plastic waste production. This includes regulations banning certain plastics, measures encouraging the use of sustainable alternatives and added taxation on plastic products.
Other investors should join the call
It is a no-brainer that the world has to come together and be up in arms to combat global plastic pollution. This problem affects us all, and will require nothing less than sweeping solutions that everyone adheres to.