Washington (GGM) Analysis | September 24, 2019
by Noreen Wise
With the EU voting to ban single use plastics by 2021, a bold and decisive move, highlighting their focus and commitment to climate action and saving lives, let’s get excited about shifting into high gear and doing the same.
The statistics behind single use plastic are alarming:
- 99% of plastic is made from fossil fuels
- 40% of plastic production is for single use plastics
- Global plastic production is the equivalent of “189 500MW coal-fired power stations”
Tiny, impoverished countries around the globe are displaying impressive resourcefulness in replacing single use plastics with a climate crisis alternative. It’s inspiring.
Marriott Bonvoy Hotels has just announced that by December 2020 it will no longer be offering small individual toiletries to guests, reducing single use plastic by “500 million little plastic bottles per year across the company’s 7,000 hotels in 132 countries.” The bottles are so tiny that they can’t be cleaned, and thus can’t be recycled. Smart. Marriott Bonvoy will instead be using large plastic pumps in the showers. Perfect. I recently stayed at a Marriott and found these to be an excellent Plan B.
Every American company has similar decisions to make. Grocery stores for example will most likely have to go cold turkey on their single use bags. Many consumers are just plain oblivious. After a fifteen year warning, shoppers should not be shocked when they arrive at their favorite store one day and the single use plastic bags have disappeared.
Saying “NO” to single use plastic is very easy. It doesn’t require effort or money, just awareness. Not being mindful of the life or death consequences these types of decisions have on others is irresponsible, some might even say willfully irresponsible. The worst aspect of the climate crisis is climate injustice, where those with the largest carbon footprints (Americans), aren’t necessarily the ones who suffer the most destructive climate consequences. For example, Bahamians have a tiny individual carbon footprint, and yet an entire island was destroyed during Hurricane Dorian, and 1,300 people are still missing and presumed dead. This reality should haunt us, and compel us to act… quickly!
Pivoting away from single use plastic is as simple as the diagram below. It’s just a matter of making different everyday choices. We can do this!
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