For businesses, communities, citizen groups, and the health of our ecosystems, it’s a moral imperative that we reduce our use of single use plastics. They require the extraction of fossil fuels and the processing of petroleum, transportation across thousands of miles, and then they’re in use for 1-5 minutes and last a thousand years or more. They leach chemicals that can end up in our food, and wildlife mistakes plastic bags for potential prey items like jellyfish, and end up ingesting them.
Lobbying groups like the American Chemistry Council, which represents chemical manufacturers, would like us to believe that recycling is the best option. Recycling plastics is, at best, a losing proposition. Plastics are not easy to recycle, as the chemical composition breaks down and is not so easily formulated into products with great flexibility. About 5% of plastic bags get recycled, with many millions ending up polluting our environment, and the main reason is that there is simply not much of a market for the recycled plastic material.
So what’s to be done? This video, taken during our June 2012 webinar (you can download the slides from that link) on reducing single use plastics, gives great strategies for all stakeholders. The panel included Priti Ambani of Ecopreneurist, Suzette Bergeron of Bulletin Bag, and yours truly. Enjoy, and feel free to embed on your own site to spread the word.
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Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. As a serial eco-entrepreneur who has started, grown and sold multiple green businesses, Scott believes that capitalism, true capitalism, can be a powerful force for change, but that our current version of capitalism is severely hampered by perverse subsidies and negative externalities that make unsustainable products less expensive than healthier alternatives. Scott is a vegetarian, an avid cyclist, and an organic gardener. Find Scott on Google Plus