The flow of plastics into our environment has reached crisis proportions, and the evidence is most clearly on display in our oceans. It is estimated that up to 12 million metric tons of plastic enter our ocean each year.
Our oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup, and the effects on ocean life are chilling. Discarded plastic fishing lines entangle turtles and seabirds, and plastic pieces of all sizes choke and clog the stomachs of creatures who mistake it for food, from tiny zooplankton to whales. Plastic is now entering every level of the ocean food chain and is even ending up in the seafood on our plates.
Our planet can no longer tolerate a culture of throw-away plastics. Single-use plastics are filling up our landfills, choking our rivers, and contaminating our oceans. For far too long, corporations have put the onus on all of us to deal with their own failed design problem. We have been told that the individual should simply recycle away the billions of tons of plastics corporations produce and that it will make the difference needed to sustain our planet.
We have been told a lie.
Over 90% of plastics are not recycled. Recycling alone is simply never going to solve this problem. The scale of the problem corporations have created must be met with a fundamental shift in how they bring products to people. It is up to all of us to demand better — to tell these corporate giants that we will no longer tolerate the plastics they force upon us. Our world deserves better, and we don’t need their products if they refuse to adapt.
It’s time for us to reject the old corporate story that a throw-away lifestyle makes us happy. Nothing that is used for a few minutes should end up polluting our oceans for a lifetime.
With enough pressure from our supporters and allies around the world, the biggest companies like Coke, Pepsi, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Unilever, Nestlé, and Procter & Gamble will embrace a better model through innovation and redesign. They will reject the old story, and rediscover how to produce and deliver goods in a way that respects our oceans and our planet.
Together, we can do better. We can bring about a simpler life without endless waste. A life where people and the planet flourish.