From Plastic Waste to "Ocean Plastic": How Can We Respond?

From Plastic Waste to "Ocean Plastic": How Can We Respond?

Just came back from the supermarket with a bunch of daily necessities, and while I was tidying up, Kelly brought up some fresh sashimi.

"You're so environmentally conscious! You even picked up the eco-friendly refills for dish soap and body wash," Kelly said while helping me tidy up.

"Do you know that if we don't change the way we use plastics, by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish?" I said to Kelly, who widened her eyes in shock. "As the Earth's environment becomes further polluted by ocean plastics, our chances of enjoying delicious sashimi become even slimmer."

"But aren't the packaging for these eco-friendly refills made of plastic too? Aren't they the same?" Kelly started to investigate the issue, now that the topic was related to her favorite food.

"Most original plastic bottles can be recycled, but many people don't know to remove the pump head first and properly sort them, resulting in the pump head being treated as garbage and disposed of in landfills. Every year, 552 million of these plastic bottles are discarded in the US, which means that even at the highest recycling rate, 552 million pump heads are still being thrown away," I said. "Moreover, each time a new bottle is used, there is a lot of residual solution left inside the bottle, which is wasteful and pollutes the ocean."

"I always pour water into the bottle and try to use up every last drop. But often, I accidentally add too much water and have to discard the entire bottle," Kelly said smartly.

"Do you empty the liquid from the bottle before putting it in the recycling bin? If you forget to do so, it will increase the weight of the bottle, which may be screened out on the conveyor belt at the recycling plant and ultimately end up in the landfill," I reminded Kelly.

"It's not easy to recycle properly. From now on, I'll buy eco-friendly refills for cleaning products," Kelly said as she picked up a piece of sashimi and ate it.

"In addition to cleaning products, many cosmetic brands now offer eco-friendly refills for makeup products, which also reduces plastic use," I said as Kelly quickly finished the box of sashimi. Scroll down to continue...

The Body Shop, which has always been based on environmental activism, launched its Refill Station in 2019 and added it to 400 stores worldwide in 2022, allowing customers to use their reusable aluminum bottles and refill them repeatedly, achieving zero waste. The Body Shop believes that...「We want to empower more and more of you to reuse packaging rather than throw it away, so we’re making the most sustainable choice easy, convenient and accessible. By embracing the circular economy, we’re helping yu eliminate waste before it hits the bathroom shelf.  And together, each of our small acts can make a big difference. Switch to refill and collectively we could save over 25 tons of plastic per year.  That’s the equivalent weight of 21 MINI coopers. And refilling isn’t just good for the planet – it’s good for your wallet too, because you get more bang for your buck every time you fill up.」

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"I read an article online the other day that said putting food on black plastic trays can make it look brighter and more attractive. Indeed, this sashimi looks fresh and delicious, and it melts in your mouth," Kelly said with a satisfied expression.

"So you ate it all and didn't leave me a single piece," my stomach growled. "Black plastic is difficult to identify and sort by optical sensors in waste sorting, so black plastic products cannot be automatically sorted by machines. Currently, only 9% of black plastic can be recycled, and the remaining 91% ends up in landfills."

In daily life, many people unconsciously use a lot of plastic products. For example, the sashimi Kelly bought at the supermarket included a black plastic tray, cling wrap, plastic leaves and flowers for decoration, white foam sheets for supporting the sashimi, a bag for the Japanese mustard and soy sauce, and a transparent bag for disposable chopsticks. Kelly finished the sashimi in a few minutes, but these discarded plastic packages will take hundreds of years to decompose. In 1997, Captain Moore discovered the world's largest garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean between California and Hawaii. According to estimates in 2018, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is filled with ocean plastics, covers an area close to 1,600,000 square kilometers, which is 1,446 times the size of Hong Kong.

"I didn't realize that color affects plastic recycling efficiency. I'll reduce my takeout orders in the future. Let's lead by example and go to a sushi restaurant to enjoy ourselves," foodie Kelly said as she pulled me out the door.

If we pay attention in our daily lives, we can effectively reduce waste. Making plastic reduction a part of our lifestyle and working together with  COLOOP can help make the earth a more beautiful place for everyone. Let's all do our part to reduce plastic waste and protect our planet!

 I want to discover more:

- Proper methods for cleaning and discarding cosmetics
>> Discarding Unnecessary Cosmetic Products Through the Practice of Minimalism

- Even if it can’t be used on the skin, it can still be put to good use on objects.
>>What should I do with expired cosmetics at home?

- Explore which brands take responsibility for recycling their own beauty product containers.
>> Protect the Earth with Small Acts: Beauty Product Containers Can Also Be Recycled!

- Maximize the benefits of fragmented time and quickly understand the choices of eco-refill packaging on the market.
>> The Evolution of Cosmetic Eco-Refill Packaging

- In addition to recycling, creating unique handmade items for daily use can also serve as a reminder of our own uniqueness!
>>Homemade Candles, Planters, and Lip Balm: Creative Uses for Your Empty Makeup

- With so many different types of materials used in cosmetics packaging, how can we properly sort and recycle them?
>>Embrace Sustainable Beauty: Love the Earth and Enhance Your Beauty


Last update: 2022/07/01
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