Pioneer Materials vs Disposable Plastics

Plastic and human society seem to have become inseparable. Despite being invented less than a century ago, plastic has become so wide-spread that if an item is not made of it, it is often coated or wrapped in it. There’s no doubt that it has revolutionised huge swathes of our capabilities, with incredible advances made in medicine, safe drinking water, food preservation, safety equipment and mass production. 

But this fossil fuel borne product has been found to have an equally huge cost: Plastic, especially those deemed “single use”, is now one of the greatest threats to our ecosystems on the planet. Plastic waste has infested even the most remote of locations, from untouched beaches to the utmost depths of the sea, and though some products (like plastic bags or food wrappers) have a use-span of minutes or less, they will persist in our environments for hundreds of years[1].

With 300 million tons of plastic being produced every year, and 50% being of “single use” quality, our oceans and landscapes are being overwhelmed with plastic waste and litter. Even when it does break down, it ends up as microplastics, an impossible to retrieve microscopic substance that chokes phytoplankton, the predominant source of oxygen on our planet[2]

How can we combat the great white waste? The truth is that plastics, especially single use plastics, are no longer necessary. While returning to older and longer lasting materials can help in some ways, new plastic alternatives are being developed all the time, and many exist already that are not only sustainable materials during production, but actively positive to our environment when disposed of. In the future, products that need more durable or industrial grade plastics could turn to nanocellulose[3], while the consumer world would find just as much convenience without the harm from hemp[4] or seaweed[5] plastics. To truly turn the tide, however, we need to raise our voices and demand better regulations from our governments, and long termist thinking from our manufacturers.

Cited Sources:


Search terms for your own research: cooperative commitments, private equity regulation, sustainable business structures

 Circular Production, Climate Legislation

 Single Use Clothing, Synthetic Textiles

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