From hospitals to homes, supply chains to store shelves, plastic makes our lives better, easier and more innovative. Plastic is literally everywhere — even in places where we really don’t want it to be.
By now, the prevalence of plastic in the world’s oceans is an undisputed issue which has reached crisis proportions.
Putting the Plastic Crisis in Perspective
Plastic is not biodegradable — everyone knows that. Plastic discarded in landfills, littered over our landscapes or dumped in the ocean will never really go away. It can, however, break down into microplastics — microscopic pieces that can easily be consumed by and otherwise infiltrate the bodies of land and sea animals, including humans.
According to environmental news website EcoWatch:
- Earth’s oceans now contain more microplastic than there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
- Over 8 million additional tons of plastic enter the oceans every year — the equivalent of dumping an entire garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
- As much as 90 percent of marine litter is plastic.
- The amount of plastic waste in the oceans could multiply by a factor of 10 over the next 10 years.
A study by Dell found that 80 percent of all plastic debris in the ocean comes from land-based sources (in other words, we can’t blame it on fisheries, fishing boats and cruise ships), and 75 percent is from plain old litter and uncollected waste.
Addressing the Crisis
Many factors contribute to this crisis, from single-use packaging used in grocery supply chains all the way down to Joe citizen tossing an empty plastic water bottle out the car window instead of into a recycling bin. Solving this global problem will require worldwide effort from governments, business organizations, scientists and just plain folks.
No one is saying that the world needs to go cold turkey and eliminate all plastic use. That wouldn’t be practical or even smart; plastic has benefited humanity in many ways, from facilitating space flight to improving the safety and capacity of the world’s food supply.
But we all need to get much smarter about how we use plastic. The world needs to wean itself off of single-use plastic packaging of all kinds, and off forms of plastic that can’t be recycled, such as Stryofoam. We need to start moving toward reuse of plastic and use of more plastic products that can be recycled.
Plastic Crates as Part of the Solution
Plastic crates — reusable plastic containers — can make a difference. By choosing RPCs for your supply chain’s needs, you are helping to reduce the amount of plastic that enters the waste stream each year. Every ton of single-use, non-recyclable plastic packaging that we eliminate from our supply chain is a ton less that could potentially end up in our oceans and harming the environment.
RPCs embody the concept of sustainability in a supply chain. By reusing these plastic crates, you can reduce the amount of plastic waste generated by your supply chain, and enjoy all of the cost savings associated with reduced waste. RPCs are made from recycled plastic, and when one reaches the end of its usable life, the plastic it’s made from can be recycled again to make other things.
Solving the world’s plastic crisis won’t be easy or simple. No single person, government or grocery store will accomplish it alone. But RPCs prove that plastics aren’t just the problem; they can also be an important part of the solution.