Did you know? According to Reuters, the height of piling up the total amount of plastic sold worldwide in 2018 was higher than the world’s highest architecture - Burj Khalifa in Dubai! Regarding a survey conducted by Science Advances in 2017, about 79% of plastic waste was disposed in landfills, while the remaining 12% and 9% were incinerated or recycled around the globe respectively. Plastic bags account for almost half of all plastic waste!
As the major sources of plastic products, many FMCG brands and supermarkets are looking at their supply chains to mitigate the concern with reduced use of plastic or naked products. Consumers nowadays are more aware of sustainable consumption, understanding that their needs cannot override the environment. How can retailers serve the mass and take responsibility?
Thinking About Recycling from a Manufacturing Perspective
The joy of playing with clay is to remake other creations after completing one. Since the rise of industrialism in the 18th century, plastic has undoubtedly contributed to the economic take-off. When people realized its environmental concern, they looked for ways to reduce and replace it. What if plastics could be used over and over again, like clay, giving new life to a product each time? Does that help alleviating the disposal problem?
The PET bottle (Polyethylene terephthalate) is the industry's magic clay. Polyethylene terephthalate is a type of polyester that can be extruded or molded into plastic bottles and containers for packaging food, beverages, personal care products etc. It is recognized as high quality recyclable plastic. Although it comes from crude oil and natural gas, 40% of its energy is trapped in the PET polymer for reuse during recycling. As PET is strong and lightweight, more products can be made with less packaging, less weight and less transport fuel. These factors explain why PET is a sustainable material.
What Happens to the PET Bottles and Containers That Are Not Recycled And End Up In Landfill?
As PET bottles and containers are less susceptible to biodegradation, they remain inert at landfills, reducing the risk of contaminating groundwater. Since PET bottles and containers are thinner and easy to compress, they take up less space in landfills. With reference to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only 1% of municipal solid waste in the US is generated by PET containers.
Going Plastic-free is The Ultimate Goal
With respect to Greenpeace's guidelines, plastic is difficult to decompose into the natural environment. It breaks down into plastic particles that pollute the land, sea and glaciers through wind, rivers and rainwater. In 2018, the organization found that plastic waste in Hong Kong was washed out of Tolo Harbour by rivers and streams, causing severe pollution to the ocean. Therefore, the ultimate solution to the plastic problem is to use less plastic, such as replacing plastic bags and utensils with the reusable ones. The role of retailers and manufacturers is to minimize the damage from industries which cannot go plastic-free. It is a short to medium term solution.
Using PET As a Raw Material, Breeding Green Fashion
Action Speaks. As a company concerns with the plastic waste problem, Moral adopts recycled PET bottles for every bag it made. Despite the accelerated cost, Moral is still committed to protect the environment, holding the belief to inspire the fashion industry and consumers with responsible consumption. It’s a way-out to preserve our environment.
PET bottles are first compressed into pellets. Hence, they dissolve and spun into yarn, woven into the raw material for Moral’s bags.
For Moral's collections, we use an average of 25 PET bottles per product, with BUDD backpack consuming the most (29 bottles).
Food, clothing, shelter, and transportation are our necessities. Why not choosing more eco-friendly products to make our environment better? During the challenging times, your support is our greatest motivation.
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Featured image: Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash