Why do We Continue to use Plastic?

Here we tell you why ecological products are more expensive than the industrialized ones and the consequences of the use of plastic.

Plastic bottles in a garbage can

The consumer society created by man and the commercial development that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution, have left a great mark on ecosystems. Photo: Unsplash

LatiAmerican Post | Brandon Martínez Salazar

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Leer en español: ¿Por qué seguimos usando el plástico?

Undeniably, planet earth is the only place in space that with certainty meets all the conditions of life for human beings and the other species that inhabit it. However, the consumist society created by man and the commercial development that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution, have left a great mark on ecosystems and, although for a long time there has been talk of the consequences of plastic in all kinds of products, the world has not wanted to understand what fauna and flora are experiencing today because of this.

On the other hand, talking about completely eradicating plastic in the market and its use in everyday life sounds too complex because the change does not occur precisely for an environmental reason but rather for economic reasons, which in the end seems to be more important for companies.

In 2019, the United Nations Organization (UN), revealed a chilling report on the worldwide figures about the damage caused by the use of plastic and sentenced it as follows: “Either we divorce from plastic or we forget of the planet ”.

Also read: Technology at the service of the environment: 8 great advances

This situation is really worrying because the UN data show that each year about 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans . In addition, it warned that the US, Japan and the European Union are the largest producers of this material per capita and unfortunately only 9% of the plastic that is produced is recycled .

But that's not all, the UN also verified that of the five million plastic bags that are used per year and of the more than one million bottles that are bought in a minute, 70% go to the environment. However, the internatioanl organizartion assured that 90% of bottled water and 83% of tap water contain plastic particles .

If this situation continues, by 2050 there will be around 12,000 tons of this solid waste in nature, affecting marine and terrestrial species.

Why hasn't the change from industrial to ecological been made?

Obviously, society needs to understand the damage we are causing by producing and also irresponsibly discarding products made of plastic . But as we mentioned at the beginning, this trend has more of an economic interest than an environmental one on the part of large industries. It does not mean that brands do not think about the environment, but unfortunately ecological is more expensive than conventional . So if the change is made, the products that we normally consume would increase in price and there would be an imbalance in the market and its acquisition.

Why is ecological more expensive?

  • Quality: environmentally friendly products tend tohave better quality and therefore last longer in the medium term. This makes them more expensive.
  • Manufacturing: almost all organic products are currently made by hand and on a small scale, therefore, there is no mass production and the costs are high.
  • The raw material: they become more expensive because they are natural or biodegradable, and they also have little production.
  • Time: producing ecological material takes longer than producing plastic, in addition the scarce technology and the use of artisan techniques slow down its production.
  • Labor: in the majority of ecological productions, the rights of the employees are respected, while in the big brands, labor exploitation and outsourcing is very common, which increases the production of unfriendly products.

What to do about it?

As long as serious policies are not implemented in industrialized countries that force big brands to forcefully replace plastic with biodegradable material, it will be difficult for us to move forward and mitigate the damage to ecosystems. However , it is also the responsibility of humans to face this situation, giving an appropriate use to products made of plastics with recycling strategies and, thus, preventing them from ending up in forests, rivers or oceans.

Raising awareness from the individual and the collective is essential to reduce the worrying figures of the UN. It is also essential that from this point on, everyone can support businesses or brands that develop biodegradable products in their initiatives because, although they are a little more expensive, the well-being for the planet ends up being greater.

In this sense, the logic is to turn the protection of the environment into a philosophy that in practice will serve to conserve the only place we have to live.

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