Plastic pollution is everywhere. Starting as toxic fossil fuels, then ending up from beaches in Southeast Asia to the remote Antarctic, corporate throwaway culture is harming communities, animals like turtles and seabirds and possibly human health.
In response to this global environmental crisis, a growing movement—the Reuse Revolution—is already finding real and innovative solutions focused on reusing sustainable materials instead of throwaway plastics. Communities, progressive businesses, and local governments are stepping up with solutions centered around reduction and reuse. There are zero-waste cities, water refill stations at more airports and other public places, and even discounts at some retailers for bringing your own bags and at coffee shops for bringing your own reusable mug. There are markets full of plastic-free produce and grains that have been around for decades, and new zero-waste shops popping up around the world.
The Reuse Revolution is underway. And you are a part of it, even if you may not have realized it yet. When you shop at places where you know you can get what you need without plastic. When you take your reusable bottle with you when you travel. When you bring your own bag and shop at the farmers market. When you intentionally replace throwaway plastic with reusable solutions. And, most of all, when you ask companies to do the same.
Demand that massive consumer goods companies reject unnecessary throwaway plastics and commit to making reusable or refillable packaging.
All these actions, gathered up and multiplied, are providing the counter power to the corporate controlled system built on throwaway packaging.
Thanks to pressure from millions of people like you, companies are finally admitting they helped create this crisis. Some of them are even making commitments they say will help solve it. But so far, corporations are mostly pushing false “solutions”—switching to other throwaway materials like paper or bioplastic, relying more heavily on the already broken recycling system, even investing in harmful chemical recycling and incineration—to justify their addiction to single-use packaging. These alternatives will only continue to harm the environment.
Industry’s narrative around individual responsibility and false solutions is coming to an end. The only way forward for them is to join the Reuse Revolution. And those that don’t will become increasingly irrelevant in a world where people aren’t willing to sacrifice a liveable planet for the illusion of ‘convenience’. So what do the right kinds of solutions look like? We put together this list of criteria to help guide companies like Nestlé to move in the right direction.
The only way we’re truly going to solve this crisis is by demanding that corporations reduce their plastic footprints, move away from the throwaway business model, and start investing in refill and reuse as the way toward a sustainable future.
Graham Forbes is the Global Project Lead for the Plastic-Free-Future Campaign at Greenpeace USA
Ask world leaders to support a strong global plastic treaty that addresses the whole life cycle of plastic.
Most plastic packaging is unnecessary because when I was young there was none of it. Some will save spoilage but most is unnecessary. We need to be able to send it back easily with a simple statement 'unnecessary and unwanted' and we need freepost addresses to send it to so that these polluting companies pay the postage. When it hurts them in the pocket they will start to take notice. At the moment they are selling us plastic for their convenience and reduction of costs - if we all start sending it back it will increase their costs. This will be effective. Can you help by providing the freepost addresses of the biggest polluters to help everyone do this.
Very good article. Even reusing plastic bags and containers is not a good solution. To make people forget completely, cotton bags must replace the plastic bags that the vendors use for filling up the spices, flour , fruits and vegetables. People can reuse the plastic bottles ( water ) to make bird feeder ( grain and water ). Elementary schools can start this project.
Hello out there, may I ask you about your ideas regarding a project I started in The Gambia, West Africa. I founded the NGO Heart4Gambia. It'll support farmers specially in non touristic areas of this smallest country of Africa to preserve their fruits they cannot ear nor sell. I help them • to use self constructed solar-dehydrator and sold ovens using bamboo and clay instead of hardwood and metal, • to collect empty jars, bottles and PP container from hotels and restaurants to clean and store them until next season will come, • to create a new value adding chain within the country to make use of their fruits much longer they are used to, • to benefit from trial and error followed by trial and succeed, • to become creative with many other waste items which can be used down-, re- and up cycled. Please send any kind of comments. I will be able to learn from all of them. Kind regards Peter Brunner
As an Indian culture there was no use and throw culture and our forefathers used to reuse and utilize things as much as possible, it's not new to us. Still people in India are following their culture. Eventually the whole world have to do the right things.
This is intresting phenomeno for great survive lance